Friday, April 12, 2013


How's ma teeth?
This is a pretty thought provoking article written by Matt Coch from Pitpass. I just didn't know how to sum it up really as Matt really did a good job. And that is not just because I'm a fan of Lewis but I just think he is right, not on all points but generally. Like he said, F1 fans are mostly hate 'em or love 'em types, very little are in between. I happen to be those from in-between. Yeah sure I support Lewis and hate to see him not winning but what is right is right and what is wrong will always be wrong, no matter how you twist it.

At the end of the day though, what's the point of being extreme and emotional when it causes you to be so angry that you missed the point. You didn't enjoy the racing which is the point of watching and following F1. So to those out there who are extreme, chill out, relax, stay calm and enjoy F1.

Formula One fans fall into one of two categories; the fickle, who support whoever is winning, and the diehards, who will defend their beloved team or driver to the hilt. The second group are as passionate and one-eyed as supporters of any other team or athlete in any other sport. There is a bond that runs more than skin deep and they adorn themselves with the apparel of their heroes.

Nowhere is this more evident than Lewis Hamilton. He has the sort of support most can only dream of; an army of dedicated, passionate and vocal supporters. One need only read the message boards of any Formula One website, or the comments section below any critical article for it to become apparent.

Lewis Hamilton is good for the sport. He divides opinion, sparks controversy and is absolutely unique in the F1 paddock. That makes him interesting, newsworthy and sparks conversation and debate. Lewis Hamilton gets Formula One spoken about more than it otherwise might.

Lewis has a different approach to most drivers. Sebastian Vettel likes the quiet life of Switzerland where he can drive his Volkswagen people mover to the shops. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, if Twitter is to be believed, spend their time inflicting pain on themselves cycling. These are very European pursuits in, what is still, a very European sport.

You the man Mike!
Hamilton prefers a more 'American' approach, for want of a better description. His lifestyle appears more akin to a Hollywood celebrity and the 2008 world champion happily shares more of this than many of his peers. It gives us all an insight into his character and what makes him happy, for a happy Lewis is a fast Lewis.

To his millions of Twitter followers this is appealing; a refreshing insight in to Formula One and a driver many can relate to in a sport which often appears corporate and sterile. To others it provides a seemingly endless opportunity to deride and belittle one of the world's fastest men because he has a different approach to life and racing.

It reminds me a little of Greg Lemond. Lemond was an American cyclist during the 1980s, who won the Tour De France twice. He was the first real non-European to reach the pinnacle of professional cycling, which is still a very European sport (though an increasing number of Australians and Americans fill its ranks).

The etiquette in cycling is complicated and superstition is as much a part of the sport as the cycling itself. Riders won't shave on the morning of a big race as they believe it takes away energy as the stubble re-grows.

Lemond had none of that. He'd happily eat Mexican food, stay up late and break many of the rules that ran deep through the cycling world. His wife often travelled with him at a time when women were not welcome in cycling. Lemond was a trailblazer, and he had a hard time because of it.
Sock it to 'em Lewis!

And that seems to be the position in which Lewis now finds himself. His approach to his work is different; it is not good or bad, just different. But to the Formula One fraternity it is an assault on the establishment, a way of doing things that is outside the accepted 'norm', and for that he upsets and confuses people.

Greg Lemond's penchant for Mexican food was frowned upon, but ultimately he won the toughest cycling race in the world, twice. He revolutionised the sport and began to break the European barriers cycling was hidden behind. Together with the likes of Phil Anderson they helped lay the foundation for the generations of non-European cyclists to come.

Perhaps in time that is how we can view Lewis. He does not subscribe to the way the media wants or expects him to behave, and while many view this as a weakness maybe it's a strength. Lewis is breaking down boundaries, introducing new fans to the sport who can relate to him more than the cookie-cutter drivers we've grown accustomed to in recent decades.

Perhaps rather than ridiculing and critiquing Hamilton for his lifestyle we should take off the blinkers and look at the positives. We might just learn something his loyal fans seem to already know.

Mat Coch

The original article can be found HERE.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Lewis Hamilton fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.

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