Debate: When did you start watching F1?

We all had start somewhere – so how did you first start following Formula 1?

The first race I saw – on television, not live – was the 1989 British Grand Prix. Nigel Mansell, then in a Ferrari, lost buckets of time with a puncture and then went on one of his classic charges trying to catch Alain Prost’s McLaren.

But what really fired me up about F1 was the next race I saw. I missed the German Grand Prix but saw the Hungarian race – an epic round won by Mansell from 12th on the grid. It culminated in Mansell’s magnificent pass on Ayrton Senna as they rounded a lapped Stefan Johansson.

Not surprisingly, I became a devoted Mansell fan.

So why, and when, did you first get excited about Grand Prix racing?

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37 comments on Debate: When did you start watching F1?

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  1. My first full F1 race I watched was the epic race of Brazil 2003. I was a Hakkinen fan before I fully started watching F1, so I became a Raikkonen fan.

  2. i’m of the younger generation of f1 watcher. naturally, i’ve been captivated by michael schumacher since 1999.

  3. Back in early 1996 I got a fairly old (even for the time) F1 game for my PC. SO I decided to watch the real thing to see what it was like – I think the first race I watched was one of the early European season ones. Been hooked ever since.

  4. Journeyer said on 9th April 2007, 13:22

    I first watched Barcelona 1996, then Monaco 1997. (Hmmm. Maybe that’s why I became such a Schumi fan.) When we got cable in 2001, I started watching fulltime. :)

  5. ASF said on 9th April 2007, 13:51

    I started watching regularly in 1984. Watching the great Alain Prost challenge Niki Lauda, and if life was fair, he would have been champion that year.
    Most of all I remember the 1986 season, when Mansel, Prost and Piquet fought for the championship, with Senna showing his greatness in the Lotus.
    Ahh, happy days.

  6. RoliX said on 9th April 2007, 14:19

    I first watched the entire 1994 season, that’s what I don’t became a Schumi fan :)

  7. I, along with ASF, started watching F1 in 1984. Everyone at school wanted to be Nigel Mansell.
    The first Grand Prix I watched at the circuit was the 1988 British Grand Prix. Senna winning, and Mansell second. The sound of the Honda turbos stayed with me. The support races included Damon Hill , Eddie Irvine and Mika Hakkinen.

  8. .oO(Blimey, they’re all still wet behind the ears…) ;)

    I’m glad you said “following”, Keith, because it wasn’t possible to watch the races on TV when I started following them in 1962 – I did it secondhand by reading the reports in Autocar and Autosport magazines. Occasionally, we were treated to old newsreel film of earlier races and the one that confirmed my growing passion for F1 was a brief clip of the highlights of Monaco, 1961 – when Moss outpaced and outfoxed the all-conquering Ferrari sharknoses.

    Although I did go to one South African GP in the late sixties, reports from journalists and intermittent highlights of races on TV were all I had until 1976 when I moved back to England. That was sheer luxury, every race live and in colour! So I guess you could say that I followed F1 from 1962 but watched it from 1977 onwards.

    I was a fan of Mickey the Shoe for precisely one race – his first, at Spa. When he sold out to Flavio Briatore immediately afterwards, I turned against him and subsequent events proved me correct. The least he could have done was demonstrate some gratitude to Eddie Jordan by driving for him for the remainder of the season – plenty of time to go for the big money thereafter.

  9. M Smith said on 9th April 2007, 16:41

    The first full race that I watched was the 1997 Brazilian Grand Prix, I was hooked from then on, But I did catch snippets of races in ’95 and ’96.

  10. Max said on 9th April 2007, 17:11

    I started 1982, that was the season when first ever Finnish driver won the drivers championship. Champion of 1982 was called Keke Rosberg, Nico’s father.

  11. 1994 on and off. Then in 1995 I started to get hooked. The Hill vs. Schumacher battles were all my friends and I would talk about at school. Then 1996 cemented my addiction with Hill’s ‘cruise’ to the title, Villeneuve snapping at the heals of the mega-stars and Schumacher putting in some of his finest drives in the woeful Ferrari.

  12. Number 38 said on 9th April 2007, 18:30

    Well…….I’ve got a problem. All but Clive could be my children, some grand-children! And even he would only be my kid brother! Start in F1? …… Road & Track, Car & Driver 1956…..Tony Brooks, Mike Hawthorn, Vanwall, Cooper, B.R.M.
    do these names mean anything to anyone? 1960s Graham Hill, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Ferraris on wire wheels, cars WITHOUT wings……hands anyone? 1970s Jackie Stewart, Tyrrell, private entrants?
    How come so much silence?
    Bad news…….ALL you folks have missed “the good old days”.
    More bad news, I still ‘race’.
    Number 38

    • Stuart Chapman said on 17th June 2009, 19:25

      I always dread this question. 1955 the British GP at Aintree. Moss won in the Mercedes W196 followed home by Fangio. I was just ten yrear old at the time. Since then, I have been a avid F1 fan. In those days the only F1 coverage wason Pathe news at the cinema, and occassionaly on BBC ITV was not around in those days.Over all the years, I have been to so many live GP’s I have job to remember them all. My all time favourite driver is Jim Clark (RIP)

  13. Chris Jansson said on 9th April 2007, 18:37

    I’d say I started watching around 98 or 99 as I remember Hakkinen and Schumacher going at eachother for some while there, but as I’m not that old it’s hard to say.. The first and only race I’ve been to was Hockenheim in 2003, not the happiest race as a Schumi fan when he caught the puncture. But in the age of the internet it’s not hard to find full race downloads to watch the goodies you missed out on.

  14. I suppose I’ve been “following” F1 since August 1967 when I was carried to the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport at 2 months old. I had already been to several regional races and would spend most of my life with some involvement or another in racing.

  15. I admit I wasn’t able to watch full races until very recently, but always tried to pay attention since Jacques Villenueve and Juan Montoya made the transition from CART.

    This will show my age somewhat; I was made aware of Formula 1 by the arcade video game ‘Pole Position’ in the early 80’s. At the time, I didn’t know that Fuji Speedway and Suzuka were (poorly, but great for the time) modelled after real tracks.

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