6.55 am, Friday March 12, 2010. BBC red button. The start of the 2010 F1 season!
To say I am excited is a slight understatement. I've been missing the roar of engines, the sight of a well-toned man in a fire suit, Eddie Jordan saying the stupidest things on live TV.
I remember the first GP I ever watched. Australia 1996. Stupid o'clock in the morning. It was the weekend of my then boyfriend (now husband)'s birthday. Me, him, and five others were staying at his parents' hotel in Blackpool. They all piled into my room "because it was the biggest and had a good TV". I tried to sleep while these noisy cars kept going in circles. In the end I watched the race and they all fell asleep! I was hooked, and have been ever since.
I loved how tense I felt at the start, praying no one would crash but still hoping someone would so we could watch drivers legging it back to the pits for the spare car; I was always amazed at the speed of pit stops, and had my heart in my mouth if they were working hard to overtake a car on track or if they made a mistake, or worse, if something went wrong; and I loved David Coulthard! Oh, and I cried when Damon Hill won his championship and I could hear Murray Walker crying too ;)
I went through some F1 wilderness years when I had my kids and didn't have time to watch a whole GP (and when ITV were ruining coverage with advert breaks). 2009 was my first full season when I managed to watch almost all GPs. And what a year! Back on the BBC, extra super duper coverage on the red button, iPlayer, website...and the lovely Jake Humphrey and DC! And I joined Twitter :) I actually joined because Brawn GP told me to. I had subscribed to their newsletter and they kept saying they were on Twitter so I thought, OK I'll join so I can read their tweets! I really enjoyed interacting with other F1 fans around the world, discussing news, strategies, live tweeting during practice, qualifying, and races. The 2010 season will be fantastic!
I recently tweeted about the drivers and teams I would be following this season. Someone finally asked " So everyone but Michael Schumacher?!" That's not strictly true. Me and my husband always supported BAR-Honda (because we had a Honda!), which then became Brawn. So, I am supporting Mercedes GP...but I'd rather MS retired again and let the lovely Nick Heidfeld drive :)
I'll be following McLaren because I like and rate Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. I like the ethos of Force India so will be following them. I support Mark Webber because he is great (and because I supported him and Red Bull when DC drove for them!), and I like Jaime Alguersuari at Toro Rosso because he is crazy! I'm supporting Rubens at Williams because of his Brawn background. I'll follow Lotus because they are a local team (they get mentioned on Look East a lot!) and Virgin because they are based in the North and I am a born and bred Northerner :) And I reckon Sauber could get points with speedy Kamui Kobayashi on board.
So if Renault, Ferrari, or HRT do well I will be unhappy!