I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am in Nascar country, but I am not a fan of Nascar. I don’t follow Nascar season, and I do not know who is Nascar reigning champion. I have not attended a Nascar race in my life. I don’t hate Nascar or other series of motorsports. I actually like Formula One, Le Mans series, World Rally Championship, Indy Series, and a few other series. I consider myself a lifelong fan of formula one. I have seen champions from Alain Prost to Lewis Hamilton, and they have amazed me with ability to control their cars at crazy speed.
I grew up in the Ivory Coast where formula one never occurs there. There used to be a chapter of the World Rally Championship in the Ivory Coast. My introduction to motorsport was through the World Rally Championship. In WRC, regular street cars were modified to have more horsepower and more top speed. These cars were designed to be pushed to the limit. I saw Swedish drivers like Bjorn Waldegard win in Ivory Coast in a Toyota Celica. The roar of the customized engine was intoxicating, but I enjoyed hearing very much. Every year there was a rally in the Ivory Coast. I saw it live and I enjoyed it every time.
In 1987, I saw on television my first formula one race. Alain Prost was the winner, and I was hooked on formula one. The following year I saw more races, but the 1989 season is a season that I remember for all its drama and controversies. Alain Prost and his teammate Ayrton Senna had the most efficient cars, but their personal animosity towards each other got the best of them. Alain Prost won 1989 Championship, but he left team McLaren to Scuderia Ferrari at the end of the season. The following season Ayrton Senna won the championship, and won it again in 1991. In 1992, Nigel Mansell won the championship, and then moved to the US to compete in the Indy Racing League. In 1993, Alain Prost ran away with the title and then subsequently retired. 1994 was a tragic season. On May 1st, 3x champion Ayrton Senna died in Imola after a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix. I was not a fan of Senna, but I was nonetheless sad of his passing. Michael Schumacher in a Benetton won the title in a controversial way. He punted his nearest rival Damon Hill. The following year Michael Schumacher won the title outright, and transferred at the end of the season to Scuderia Ferrari. His first season there was a barren season. Damon Hill won the championship, and defeated his teammate Jacques Villeneuve. In 1997, Michael Shumacher tried to punt Jacques Villeneuve, but he failed to win the championship. In 1998 and 1999 Mika Hakkinen was ruled the series, and Michael Schumacher broke his leg in 1999. The 2000 season was the beginning of the Michael Schumacher domination. He had a stranglehold of the title from 2000 to 2004. Scuderia Ferrari had the most efficient machinery. During his dominant years, formula one was a snooze fest. Along that time in 2003 I went to Indianapolis to see the Indy 500. I saw George H.W. Bush, Muhammad Ali, and Brian McKnight during the celebrity parade. Gil de Ferran won the race. The Indy 500 was loud fast and amazing. I hope to see another Indy 500 in person. In 2005, Fernando Alonso put an end to Michael Schumacher’s domination in a Renault. However, his nearest rival was Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando prevailed because his machinery was more reliable than Kimi’s. Fernando Alonso retained his title in 2006, and transferred to McLaren in 2007. Michael Schumacher retired at the end of the 2006 season. Kimi Raikkonen transferred to Ferrari in 2007. He replaced Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, he won his first Grand Prix with Ferrari in style. Then he had a seesaw battle with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. In the end Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton ended up destroying each other, and Kimi Raikkonen won the championship. In 2008, Lewis Hamilton won the title in dramatic fashion. The 2009 season was a topsy turvy season, and Jenson Button won the championship. The 2010 season was the beginning of the Vettel domination. Like Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel is a German racer. He comes from a similar background to Michael Schumacher. He won the title four year in a row. Lewis Hamilton put an end to Vettel’s domination, but he had to battle another German (Nico Rosberg). Nico Rosberg is the son of a former champion (Keke Rosberg). Unlike Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg is a German of Finnish descent. He did not come from working class families like Schumacher and Vettel. However, like his two compatriots he has this determination to their craft. Rosberg finished runner-up twice to Lewis Hamilton, but he defeated Lewis in 2016. The 2017 season saw a battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, but Lewis Hamilton won the battle.
The new season begins in a few weeks, the story is not yet in progress. I am excited about the drama that will unfold. There will be a winner and a loser. The story will be another story among many. This is life of the season. It will be another symphony of speed and sound.