Racing Into A New Sport
By Paul Morrone, CFP ®, CPA, MSA
I’ve always been a sports fan, and as much as I like cars, never really gravitated towards racing; which many would assume is a natural fit for a car guy that likes sports. Not so much in my case as NASCAR, IndyCar, GT and Endurance racing never really got me excited. And then there was that fateful day in Italy when Jill and I got stuck at a bar, in the pouring rain, in Lake Como, during the Monaco Grand Prix back in 2016. The legendary Formula 1 race was taking place only a few hundred miles from where we were, and the pixilated Italian broadcast of the race on a tube-style TV was all we had to watch while we waited for the next boat. We were accompanied by only a handful of locals at the bar who were all following the race very intently. After a couple of drinks, an espresso and some food, the next boat came and left without us, while we remained glued to the TV. Because the broadcast was only in Italian, I was only able to decipher about every third word, but it didn’t matter. We got sucked in and weren’t leaving until it was over.
Maybe I never got into racing because it is something I can’t entirely relate to. Talk about a sport with barriers to entry so exceedingly high that only a handful of people each year ever get to participate it. If the money it costs to acquire an F1 car wasn’t enough, you then need a team of engineers to keep it running, a track to drive it on, and the skills to keep the car on the road. Oh yea, and an invite from a team backed by a company like Ferrari asking you to drive for them. I think it’s safe to say that F1 will always be a spectator sport for me. Either way, there is something about F1 races that intrigues me. Similar to watching a professional golfer hit an utterly amazing shot, it’s equally as impressive to see a driver whip around a track at mind warping speed. Even more interesting, at least I think, is the strategy and execution during the race. It really is much more than just going fast around a track. Everything is analyzed from the weather and temperature that dictates the type of tire and resulting anticipated tire wear, to the timing and frequency of pit stops that can ultimately be the difference between a space on the podium and being stuck merely in the middle of the field.
Either way, fast forward a year or so and for some reason I’m hooked. I don’t know why. I find myself DVRing the races that occur overseas at weird hours and watching them in the morning when I wake up, following the latest news online, and struggling to pick a favorite team or driver to pledge my allegiance to. I’ve never ‘gotten into’ a sport so late in life. I’ve always been a Giants fan, Knicks fan, and Yankees fan as long as I’ve been alive. There was never really a choice to make, and I find it all kind of weird to think about who I should be routing for while watching a race. Do I choose Ferrari or Mercedes, how about McLaren or Red Bull? Only time will tell, but for now I’m going to enjoy it for what it is.