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?

  1. Nathan Jones said on 10th April 2007, 9:21

    imola ’89 was my 1st race, my cuz in law’s 1st race was ricard ’89 – both had massive accidents!
    i remember seeing an add on tv bout imola ’89 and asked parents to tape it as i was 6 at the time
    didnt know other races were on as i saw no ads etc then saw canada ’89 in tv guide so tape n watch etc then adelaide that yr then from ’90 onwards i watched every race and have been hooked ever since! i have done countless of hrs research n getting old clips of races etc n triver tributes etc and have a fair bit of knowledge of it all! miss the 80’s style cars for thier looks and the racing in the season reviews (i have all including the ’70’s collection dvd’s) was supreme!

  2. The first race I remember watching was France 1993. There was a thunderstorm at my house, so I stopped playing outside (I was seven at the time) and watched the programme that happened to be on TV at the time. Since Dad had been following F1 for decades, the room was filled with the sound of Murray Walker’s near-unintelligible commentary. The two Williams drivers looked interesting, with Damon Hill’s smooth style and easily-spotted helmet particularly interesting.

    While it took me a while to get into the rhythm of the F1 season (I somehow managed to miss every race after France 1993 until San Marino 1994), from that race on I have been excited about F1 in general and Damon Hill in particular.

  3. I can’t remember when i started watching F1 but my earliest memory is of the 1994 san marino GP, don’t remember much of the race just that my cousins were visiting.
    after that the 1995 season was the first full one i watched.

  4. Gavin said on 15th June 2007, 21:48

    For me, It was highlights on TV back in 1988, I think the ’88 Monaco GP was my first race I remember watching, Piquets onboard Laps in the wet are amazing in the Lotus. From then on I watched 30-45mins highlights for the rest of the season. 1989 Was the first full season I watched from start to finish, all races, also bought my first Autocourse for 1989 aswell. On sale ;) ofcourse. 1990-1994 Huge Fan, then Senna Died and Shuey won his first championship, and my interest in the sport died down. Didnt really watch in 1995, started getting back into it in 1996, started buying F1 Racing magazines in ’96 also. 1997 watched every race again, same for 1998 and 1999, 2000 watched most of season. 2001-2004 didnt really watch for obvious reasons (shumi domination) :(. 2005 and 2006 glad to see alonso win championship, now in 2007 a new era, the Domination of young Lewis Hamilton. Cheers Gav. Senna Fan!

  5. jose said on 21st June 2007, 15:20

    The first thing i remember about f1, was lauda accident in 1975. I was a kid then, but it certenly capture my imagination. Then in 1981, i bought the gp international magazine, where lauda was trying the mclaren at donington to see how it felt. We were a bunch of 13 year old kids at school, reading anything we could about f1, in a country that only cared about footbal.We wanted a f1 driver from spain, but it seemed so far away. If only we had known, just 7 miles from our school,a woman had given birth to a boy called fernando alonso. Amazing. Then i went to portugal in 1984, for the season finale when lauda won the title. In 1985 i saw ayrton first win at the same track, and then a few more, but that is another story…

  6. Dan M said on 21st June 2007, 15:59

    I started to watch in about ’98/’99 in the midst of the Shumi/Haki battles…. I then lost the station that boradcasts the races until just last year, just in time o catch the last great races between Alonso and Shu. In the time in between I tried to follow the sport as best I could but its not that same when you can’t see the race!

    Still haven’t been able to find the WRC…. I miss watching the Mitsu/Subaru battles with Tommi Mäkinen and Colin McRae…. Different topic I guess.

  7. lucy said on 22nd July 2007, 17:12

    1997,the race was spa,yes THAT ironically from that i became a mclaren fan,even though i think it was david who started the pile up wernt it?my brother got me into it.he’s a die hard ferrari fan who can keep (dont like his attitude)kimi.

  8. vanwall fan said on 24th July 2007, 20:41

    It was either 1965 or 1966 that I attended my first F1 race at Brands, for more than 40 years I have followed this sport.
    Sadly the plans laid out by Mosley for the future of the sport are regressive and demoralizing for the fans.
    Perhaps it should not be totally unlimited in specification, but as close to that concept as is possible is the way to go. As for the suggestion to limit engines to 10k rpm and aiming for a “greener” car, well that is just plain daft.
    F1 should be the ultimate expression of technology with no holds barred, this current plan to turn them into nothing more than elaborate go karts is the tolling of the death knell for the sport. Mosley is an idiot and should be hoofed as soon as possible.
    If a truly unlimited series were to be inaugurated, the fans would flock to it in droves, it would kick the crap out of Bernie’s little nest egg.
    We want power, speed, noise and cutting edge design, not that which has been suggested. The promoter that catches on to this will make out like a bandit.

  9. Rachel said on 28th July 2007, 19:35

    The first I watched on TV was Monaco 1997 and Michael Schumacher won, which I maybe why I started supporting him. I am now a huge Schumacher fan and really miss him not racing. The best race I went to was Monaco 2000. I love going to races, especially when Schumacher would win!!

  10. Eric M. said on 10th August 2007, 7:37

    The first full race I watched was the Japanese Grand Prix in 1996, at a relatives house. As a Canadian I was really hoping that somehow Villenueve would take the championship, but it wasn’t to be. He was my F1 hero at first, and his decline over the years was painful to watch.
    We finally got cable in ’99 and I started watching the races live, which for me means waking up brutally early to watch the European races. But I did and I usually have been ever since, with the exception of the 2001/2002 period when Schumacher’s uber-dominance made for some dull racing.

  11. david p. said on 10th September 2007, 2:43

    saw my first f1 race at the nurburgring in 1963=jim clark on pole
    incredible to watch these guys get airborn at the flugplatz in practice.
    surtees in the ferrari first, clark second in the lotus 25 don’t remember who took third-could have been ginther in a brm. anyway it was my first f1 race and my second time to see clark.(nurburgring 1000k in a lotus 23-awesome)

  12. dougie brown said on 10th September 2007, 11:19

    i feel old now,started following f1 in the early 60’s after i sat in the latest BRM that Graham Hill drove, BRM (Bourne Lincs),& my dad used to take me to silverstone to watch them race,cannot remember when it was first televised but have been watching ever since & have not missed one race since(with the aid of video & now sky +)

  13. Schumacher Fan said on 3rd October 2007, 11:16

    The first race i remember wtaching was the 1997 spanish grand prix, from which i became a schumacher fan because of his amazing start from 7th on the grid to 3rd at the first corner. id heard of f1 before that and i knew about a few of the drivers eg hill shcumacher alesi, but after the spanish gp in 1997 to 2004 i missed only a few races. didn watch 2005 or 06 but iv seen every race this year and looking forward to seeing hamilton become world champion on sunday.

  14. Ah. Susuka 1996 When i was only 5. Decided i liked the Blue and white cars the best, and, out of those 2 cars, i liked the guy with the pink and yellow helmets design the best.

    Of course he crashed out later in the race.

    For the next 9 years, i was a Villenurve supporter.

    But i only remember the start of Susuka, and then Villeneurve sat in the gravel with 3 wheels. The first race i properly remember was Australia 97.

  15. I had watched alot of highlights but I thin the first race I watched fully was the surprisingly good (for spain) 2000 Spanish Grand Prix. I was 6 at the time. Me and my Brother were Hakkinen fans…now I’m a Raikkonen fan

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