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Formula One


I don’t remember the details of it, or if it was even the truth, but I seem to recall watching the Indianapolis 500 with my dad every year, late at night. The speed and adrenaline rush of watching cars travel in excess of 200 miles per hour was motivation enough, but I have to admit that it was also a side benefit to stay up well beyond my bedtime to watch the race. I cheered on Mario Andretti, primarily because he was from Nazareth, PA, a town close to where I grew up. I hadn’t thought about any of these facts or memories from my childhood until my own child (even as a 21-year-old) brought them back to the forefront of my mind.


Formula One racing is the same but different. I’m still learning all the intricacies of it. There are two-man teams, various tracks located around the globe, different tire types employed throughout a race, intense and complicated strategy by a racer’s team, and fancy terms like DRS enabled. I had no idea that my son was interested in this sport until it came up in a casual conversation. Coupled with the fact that my employer is a sponsor of the McLaren team, I was instantly onboard with Landon Norris and Oscar Piastri. It’s funny how a new connection with another human being, family or otherwise, can happen so easily while drumming up childhood memories to boot.


There is an overwhelming amount of data and numbers and facts to digest over the course of a race weekend. All the technical details are simultaneously fascinating and confusing, but maybe that’s just part of my newness to this entire experience. It’s the psychological aspects of this sport that interest me even more than the physical ones.


Each track is different. Every race is unique. And in a sense, each team and driver needs to adapt from week to week, calling on their strengths to give themselves the best chance of scoring valuable points for their team. It requires more than just driving in an oval or modified loop, turning one direction over and over again. There are fast straightaways, gentle curves, and abrupt hairpin turns in both directions. I’ve heard a commentator’s remark on several occasions indicating that a driver wasn’t concerned about the person in front of or behind them, because their race wasn’t with them. Like I said, there’s an incredible amount of strategy that goes into each race, and I can’t even wrap my head around it all yet, but I’m looking forward to learning more as time goes on.


What interests me most, though, is that idea of racing, not against another driver or team, but rather against the track. There’s a line that a driver takes during each lap. And while most might be similar, there are definitely unique differences, even if they’re subtle, from one driver to the next. It sounds a lot like our journey through life. There are twists and turns along the way, and we need to find the best way to navigate it, but not as a means to pass someone up ahead of us. Rather, we immerse ourselves in that moment, pining for that experience where we don’t think about what we’re doing. We simply feel our way through it, finding our own line around the track, the one that fits us the best. It’s part logic but even more like art. And ironically, it’s not a race, even if we sometimes feel like it is. So, find your way through every turn and along every straightaway. The results will follow naturally. That’s one formula that Formula One has helped me appreciate alongside a rush of adrenaline that has nothing to do with speed.

 

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