Re-Azerbaijan Grand Prix

All I can say is SAME!

I got hooked and when I had finished the Netflix show this season was only one race in.

I downloaded the app, picked a fantasy team and started setting my alarm (the woman that doesn’t set an alarm for work) so I could get up at 5:30 and 4:30 am to see the races in their entirety.

Mother’s Day morning it was me, my husband and my 9 and 8 year old watching the race.

My husband is fascinated because I have never been obsessed with a sport until now…and I don’t think this is going to wear off.

Even if it does, I’m going to love it until it does!


Yolánda Thompson


Must thank you for turning us on to “Drive to Survive”, we blew through the 3 seasons and couldn’t wait watch Azerbaijan (as well as the pre-show). May be the most exciting sporting event so far this year. Looking forward to France

Jason Whittington


My experience with Drive To Survive seems to mirror yours, and no doubt thousands of others Bob, it is such a well-made series, now I care about a sport that I previously, ignorantly dismissed.  I am fascinated by the team dynamics, the producers managed to frame the drama so well; we love Guenther, hated Toto and Christian and are devastated to see Daniel struggling in the middle of the pack.  Was saddened last night to hear that Singapore has been cancelled, we were hoping to make that our first international trip post-COVID.  Bring on Melbourne GP 2022

Stu Harvey


Delighted for you that you have found Formula 1 so interesting.  I have been a huge fan for 60 years and am thrilled that Mothers Polish has sponsored ad-free TV coverage for the past several years.

I think that you are extremely unfair in your comments about Christian Horner versus Toto Wolff.  In such a competitive sport, every team manager will do his/her best to look for an edge.  Toto has had to do that less than Christian over the past five years due to the dominance of the Mercedes chassis/engine combination over all the competition.

By the way, I assume that you know that Christian has been married to Geri Halliwell – Ginger Spice – for the past six years.

Mark Jackson


Because of you, Bob, I binged F1 too, in a matter of days. Never a fan of auto racing, this series had me hooked on the personalities and ins and outs of the sport. Maybe one day I’ll even try and attend a Formula 1 race in person.

P.S. I like Ricciardo too although he is a bit of a smug S.O.B…

Joanne Garroway


Glad you enjoyed today’s Formula One Race Bob.  We look forward to these races and I’m a Lewis Hamilton fan.  He has beaten all the records. Most championships, poles, etc. Not only he is soft spoken and humble, when he wins, he always thanks his team and the people who work in the factory behind the scenes.  He never pats himself on the back and is a very good sport! He is great example of what a champion should be and a wonderful role model for all people of all races and creeds.

Iona S. Elliott


Bob…  Couldn’t agree more.  Watched all 30 episodes over the past 10 days (on your recommendation), and couldn’t wait for this weekend. Watched yesterday’s qualifying sessions and all of today’s race.

I am fully invested!

I just wonder if season 4 will be less interesting now that I’ll know the ending in advance.

Joe Wallace


You are a new ambassador for the sport, but a great one. That was a superb race coverage you did. You pick things up very fast.

I have been watching F1 since I was a kid. There are periods where it gets a bit lacklustre, a team dominates and decimates the opposition, but a season or two later and it’s all on fire again. A fabulous spectacle. Definitely worth attending a race and getting a special pass to visit the pits when you can. Or even better, permission to be on the track as the teams get the cars ready pre-race. It definitely feels like something big is about to happen.


Pete Meehan


Gday Bob Long time listener first time caller. I’m an Australian living and working in the USA. I’ve worked in the music business which was where I connected to your email.

I grew up with Formula 1 it was a religious experience in our house to sit down and watch the race every Sunday. My brother went into motoring journalism. Such was the passion for motor racing in our house. My great grandfather set land speed records and was a racing car driver so maybe it’s in the dna.

I really loved hearing your passion for this new sport you’ve found. I wondered if the Netflix show would turn F1 around. It’s certainly seems to be working. Enjoy!

Tim Ottley.

I became a fan after Drive To Survive as well.  We got F1TV paid the year subscription. Well worth it! You can bounce between multiple camera angles, real time, hop in the cockpit of any racer at any time, rewind after a crash and watch from different drivers perspectives. Incredible. No sports offer that type of experience that I know of. 100% recommend. Also tons of recaps and cool little specials all on demand. Worth the shot if you are into F1.



Totally turned me on to this sport.Thank you (again!)

Loren Parkins

Austin gonna be a wild time!

Jeffrey Klein


Delighted you have discovered F-1. Notice also how all the drivers speak English. And well for the most part.

Yes Hamilton is the real deal.


Jan Butden


Bob, if you’re ever in Texas in the fall, I’ll take you to the F1 races in Austin.
LOTS of fun.
And, yes – I agree – I, too, am enjoying the F1 season and agree 100% with all your points….including how the Netflix series humanized the sport and broadened the base.
Hope you’re well,
Alex Lopez Negrete


You NEVER cease to amaze me!!!

If I loved you then I LOVE you even more now!! I have been a formula One junkie for over 40 years, when my home town (South Africa) wonder boy Jody Schecter won the 1979 F1 championship with, of all teams, Ferrari!

I am so impressed with how quickly you have gotten the nuances of the sport down & look forward to hopefully reading more as the year goes on.

Fun fact, I play F1 fantasy (have for many years) along with over 11000 other fans. I came 3rd in the world last race & now sit at 12th place overall in the world out of 11,000 rabid fans. Go me!

Thanks as always for making my day & stay safe!!

Marc Morris


I’ve been hooked on this show for a while now, though I’m not binging episodes like you, but I have watched some racing and love that European Football and F1 don’t have commercials!!   I’m fed up with TV timeouts.

But auto racing isn’t that interesting to me, but try the Tour de France!! These guys are crazy fit and battle each other like no auto race ever could. Sadly the sport is filled with doping, but that doesn’t dimish the physical toll these guys endure. I still don’t care who wins- it’s nice outside and I’ll play golf, go fishing of take a walk.

Live summer!!!



Thank you SO MUCH for this, I set my DVR to record the race because I was out and about and had to watch the RE-broadcast.  Except I somehow screwed or and recorded a college baseball game instead, aargh!!
Anyways I didnt read your blog before now knowing that it was about the race, and thank god for your recap!!

Young Hutchinson


First off…spot on about how good this show is.

Am I alone in being oddly fascinated with the sleek modular compounds constructed by each of the teams? What an awesome traveling circus. Kinda Grateful Dead-ish.

Best from a long time fan,

Gary Snoonian


Big fan- thanks for the great work.  I’m an American living in Europe for almost 20 years.  F1 is one of the few European sports I follow.  Planet F1 – is a great site – especially the comments section!


Best regards-


Tyler Wallace


“…a new sport” — so great to imagine learning about this the way you have through Drive to Survive. Today’s race was one of the better ones in a while. A track that has good passing. And then the race starts with the shocker of Ferrari on pole. Perez’s drive throughout the race was impressive. Both Aston Martins were good today…Stroll’s driving skills just don’t fit the story of him being the owner’s son…he’s actually pretty good, with bad luck today. And then that finish, the crash, the restart, Hamilton’s mistake. He damned near never makes mistakes, let alone results-affecting ones like today.

F1 is a complex web. You’re doing quite alright. Good race report.

Tom Grueskin


Been a huge F1 fan for years for all the reasons you mention in your blog plus they are incredible athletes.  I have enjoyed reading about your journey into this sport and the appreciation you have developed fo the storylines and the excitement.  Welcome to the club my friend.  Once it gets in your blood……

Pura vida

Garry Wallace


It’s about time Bob:) Been avid fan since I was 13 and my uncle gave my a Grand Prix coffee table book.
Beware, it’s addicting (a good thing:)
Jimmy Wachtel


Can you imagine the interviews Netflix is getting from Toto Wolff and Christian Horner right now!?!?!  And there is apparently lots of Bottas drama going on behind the scenes….rumors that George Russell has already signed and 2 yr contract to replace Bottas next year.

Must see TV in 2022!!

Glad to see you writing about F1 again…I’ll take all of it I can get.

Rudy Falco
Longtime Lefsetz reader.


The last 10 laps of that race where crazy. Especially to have two cars exit the race due to the same rear tire failing. I ended up rewinding it multiple times to watch Verstappen’s exit. What a drag. Then to see Hamilton exit on the runout of the first turn. Especially for a guy who makes so few mistakes.

What even crazier is that I already knew all the twists and turns of the track, based on playing the F1 Mobile game. Which made it much more fun to watch how they run it IRL compared to the street level of the game. It’s pretty close to when they run the camera from right above the cockpit.

It’s an exciting sport to watch.

For an exciting sport to play, I’m now addicted to Pickleball. Check that sport out

Jody Whitesides


Netflix also has “Rush”. Yes it’s Hollywood, but the best F1 movie in years.

Tom Cartwright


My son follows you and he forwarded your piece on the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. So good to read an intelligent perspective on the sport from a new fan. I’ve been an F1 fan since the 70’s  and nothing has brought more fans to the sport than “Drive to Survive”.  It’s too bad we’re  never going to hear the normally aspirated engines again. Good God they were fire breathing flame spitting monsters. You’ll never hear anything quite like it.

Well,  welcome aboard as a fan and next year should be even better with the rules change.

Oh and the nincompoop, that was Helmut Marko, lost an eye racing – look him up.  But I agree with the mask comment!

Best regards,

Jeff MacGregor
Montclair, NJ


.. then for sure you know the movie “Rush”, if not you will like it.


Thanks as always for your great newsletters, Angela from Israel

Angela Ballas


My VCR shutoff right before the restart-DANG!

I survived the Mercedes juggernaught for the last few years and learned to care about 3rd through 6th, so this year is great!  Didn’t know the podium until I read this.  I agree on Daniel Riccardo.

Bill Siddons


I’m with you on Formula One. If you like Drive to Survive on Netflix, I recommend the (Brad Pitt narrated) “Hitting the Apex” that covers the 2015 MotoGP season.

One minor quibble: Gasly is French. While he may currently reside in Monaco (along with a slew of other drivers including Verstappen and Riccardo) he was born in Rouen and came up through the French karting circuit.

Also, great point about the commercials. Makes it feel almost like “pure” sport minus the $100 million spent on the cars each year…

Justin Blanchard


Welcome to F1!  It’s a total blast as you can see.  This year is exciting because Red Bull may be competitive enough to really give Mercedes a run for their money.  Next year the cars are supposed to change to make things a bit more even amongst all the teams (I also think they’re gonna put a cap on money spent).  In the past, it’s usually been one or two teams at the top and the rest following in a train, because the top teams have had so much more money to spend.  At any rate, it’s really something special to watch and become a fan of.


Paul Rappaport


About 15 years ago I really started paying attention to football (soccer), specifically the English Premier League.  I’d grown up playing the sport, but due to its lack of popularity in the States there weren’t many opportunities to watch matches on US television.  Once I started watching regularly and understood how the European system works–promotion/relegation and ownership owning a CLUB, not a franchise, I was done with American sports.  The team takes the field for games, but the club includes the staff, and more importantly, the supporters of the club.  There is no greedy owner moving a team from Oakland to LA to Oakland to LA to Las Vegas.  But I digress…

I met a guy years ago watching a game and he invited me to the Austin Grand Prix.  Going to F1 races is what he and his wife do for fun.  They’ve done Austin several times, Montreal, Mexico City, Monaco.  They’re looking toward Abu Dhabi next.  Anyway, once I went to that race I was hooked.  Verstappen is my guy.  The teams, the strategy–it’s fantastic!  NASCAR and Indycar racing have nothing on F1.   I wish Americans would wake up and recognize what the truly big sports are across the world and learn to enjoy them, but it takes one convert and a time and I’m glad you’re hooked!

Todd Shelton


Love that you’ve fallen in love with F1. Now I hope you’re looking at getting to a race! You don’t know F1 until you see it, hear it and feel it in person. Get to Texas this year or Montreal or Miami next year. I’ve been to Montreal a few times for it and the city is just energized that whole week. I’ve also made it to Monaco for the race and if you can ever get there for it, do it. Took the kids to Monaco a few years back and walked the circuit with them, now they love watching the race right where they were.

Dave Schmidt


Delighted you’re enjoying your F1 experience. I’ve been a fan and following for years and what blows me away now is the production value we get as viewers…there’s cameras everywhere and you see everything and become part of it. The colour, noise, glamour, technical genius etc
When I started watching F1  in the 80’s we could only dream of seeing the action from the cockpit and here we are 40 years experiencing it all!

I had a good friend who raced F1 in the 70’s…boy was that different. It was very “rock ‘n roll” back then but drivers got killed. Now safety and car construction is incredible which has bled into everyday car design so we’re all benefitting.

David Ravden


Bob…..I learned early in life that “fair” is where you take your pigs in the summer.

Gary Merker


Feel exactly like you! Pumped after the Netflix doc series!

Laura Mejia Cruz


Good to hear you’re getting revved up about Formula 1. I’ve been a fan for a long time. The thing is – you just never know what’s going to happen and that’s what keeps it interesting.

Barry McCabe


I’m in.  I’m watching the Netflix series.  Sometimes, I fall asleep but I keep going.  It’s something I knew NOTHING about. 

Lizzz Kritzer


That was great drama. More plot twists than an episode of ‘Suspense.’

After Monaco 2 weeks ago, a race that no longer accommodates overtaking, a boring, not-even-a-yellow-flag race (and I say that because yellow flags are common at Monaco and allow for the drivers to pit and to close gaps, making for more competitive driving, not because I celebrate accidents) – I felt racing seemed uninspired.

Last year the racing was all behind the leaders, Hamilton would get way out front and just drive to victory, you really had to watch for competitive driving. This year with some of the changes in the cars, nothing is certain, add to that the mysterious tire failures today, and remarkable driver errors, you end up with one of the most thrilling races I’ve ever seen. And Perez earned his stripes last year (really, in one race) and drove brilliantly today, protecting his teammates’ lead from Hamilton almost the entire race, and deservedly won.

It was totally exciting. Not to dampen your enthusiasm, but that was a remarkably rare event even for this season, which has been more competitive than recent years. Let’s hope the rest of the season is as exciting!



Long-termer F1 guy here.

It’s such a delight seeing you get into the sport – Drive To Survive has been the most incredibly successful, and well thought out (not always the case with F1), recruitment drives to get new fans on board. There’s a lot that other industries can learn from this, no doubt.

Just a word of warning though – close competition makes races, but then so do tracks. Azerbaijan does tend to create great racing – a mix of fast and slow, with very little room for error. But it’s sandwiched between two tracks that don’t – namely Monaco (that really only exists for nostalgia purposes – the cars are too big and fast to race there now), and France. Don’t be dismayed if the race at Paul Ricard in a fortnight’s time doesn’t quite live up to the excitement of Baku. Stick with us either way. The rewards are great.

One little point of correction on your post too – Pierre Gasly is French, not Monegasque. It’s Charles Leclerc, one of the other serious young talents, that comes from Monaco.

Carry on enjoying!

Andy Hollis


Welcome to the club, Bob! Once you’re in, you’re in for life.

John Chapple


I’d be happy to explain tires. Pirelli is the sole supplier. They make tires in 5 different rubber compounds, soft to hard. Hard isn’t “hard.” At operating temp-hot-t’s very sticky, Not wad of gum sticky but close. Pirelli bring 3 different compounds to each race. called soft, medium and hard. The soft may last 20 laps or less and you should be able to do most of the race on the hard. Sometimes this actually works out, Sometimes not. You must use 2 different compounds during the race.

Why tire problems today? And I don’t buy the “debris” excuse when both failures were left rear. Baku is one of the few clockwise circuits, which loads the left rear heavily. I think they just got their sums wrong and the carcass wasn’t strong enough. The same thing happened to Michelin at the Indy GP in 2005.

These sorts of failures are very rare. I had to go back to 2005 to find something similar.

Phil Brown


Couldn’t agree more.  Got turned onto f1 by the Netflix series too.

We now wake up and watch the race/s live – lights out @ 7am central time this morning. With mimosas.

Paul W


What !  Did you miss the Stroll tyre blow-out ?   It made the Verstappen incident so much more interesting/mysterious.  Was there a failure at the Pirelli factory ?

I started watching F1 again (?  I think I watched some stuff on tape-delay years ago, and recently watched “Senna”) .this year as my 91 year-old mother-in-law starting watching it last year. (Why is unclear, I think she just likes that some of the drivers are from her old-country).

The races are quite boring when nothing happens, but today’s bizarreness was unpredictable  – especially the Hamilton blunder.  Anyway, I enjoy your missives.


Anthony Boron


I too started watching Drive to Survive – nearly all of S1 – when I came to realise that the only person of colour was Lewis – I started season 2 looking amongst the faces for a person of colour and found none. I felt nauseated when I realised what the sport represented. I came to the conclusion that the spoils of slavery have gone a very long way.


I haven’t watched any other episodes.

Ghalik Jacobs


I keep up with F1 now too

I rarely experience new music that hooks me with as much depth…

I have only ever been into “soul” sports, maybe that is what I see in F1, one person against the physics that we are all bound by…

The musicians that move me also have that gift to expand the bounds of living with the laws of physics, that they can slow down time and pull you in…

Malama Pono

(Take Care, Be Right),

J Hatchett


I’ve followed F1 since the 90s. My wife, not so much. Then ‘Rush’ came out. We live in a v. small town. We drove over an hour to see it in the nearest theater.  My wife has been a F1 fan since. She roots for Max. I root for about everyone except Max. You’re right.  Hard to warm up to. My take on it is that even the last place driver is one of the top 20 drivers in the world.

Catch ‘Rush.’ You and your SO will love it.

Jim Arnott
About 60 miles southeast of Nowhere Oregon


Nice to see you are picking up on F1. I have been watching and supporting the Dutch drivers for many years, including Max Verstappen’s dad Jos. Max is a local boy, grew up in Belgium where his mom is from and still lives.


It was a hell of a race yesterday for sure. Do note that Hamilton just had a bad pit stop with 4.7 seconds and Max’s got done a round later in 1.9, hence he took over. Nothing to do with Gasly. Max holds the record for fastest stop ever, 1.82 seconds. In a sport where thousands of a second count it obviously makes sense to work hard on being fastest in the pit too.


FYI I use this for points & data, always updated.


“CU” in France


Best regards,


Wim Reijnen


We’re so hooked Bob… Drive to survive has been the best thing ever for the sport! Get the F1TV app, you can switch to the driver cams, pit cam etc.

Libery Media did the best thing for the sport by taking us behind the scenes, even my wife is hooked, knows all the drivers, the heart ache, the back story.

Great to hear you’re into it too!!



You’re hooked on F1! Are you going to the Austin Grand Prix? I guess you missed “Speed Racer” as a kid! Did you order your race car bed yet, you know you want one? See you at the finish line!


John Conrad


A worth-while race for sure, but if you ever want to go deeper there other ways too.  F1 TV which is a separate app from the F1 website has not only the archive of decades of F1 races start to finish, but it has various other documentaries for ~$70 year.  Plus, other pre-race coverage and features like “Inside Track.”  A condensed version of recent races over the last few years without commentary.  Just in-car coverage and audio with team & drivers from their perspectives condensed down to the wheel-to-wheel moments and passes that mattered in the outcome. These are usually 16 – 24 minutes in duration and a great way to recap last year’s race before seeing this year’s race and not having to fast-forward on your own to see what was relevant to the outcome. For example, you can see Monza 2020 from only the relevant driver’s perspectives in 18 minutes.   Watching this, prior to a current race provides driver’s perspective going in as even though I watch every race and Drive to Survive, I don’t remember that LeClerc crashed out in 2020 at Monza, but he does.  So, it aids me in getting a bit more of the driver’s perspective without narrative from commentators.

Just an idea if you choose to go deeper and have the time for it.



Great to hear you found Drive To Survive .. excellent series! It was so well done .. it has heroes & people you like, whiners & losers, behind the scenes power & leadership .. and more drama than most scripted shows!

And it helps you understand F1 enough to be able to enjoy watching a race.  And your first one was incredible / crazy!!

My wife is Brazilian and got me into F1 6 or 7 years ago when Vittel dominated.  But like you Drive To Survive was a game changer for me and my 2 teenage daughters who loved the series and now know everyone by name, backstories, etc. And we watch every race and qualifying together as a family… go figure!

I haven’t watched American sports in 20 years… Played football for 12 years as well as a college scholarship, but got injured my freshman year when everybody else kept growing and I didn’t… A trip to Europe with a guitar and backpack for several years changed my perspective on life to say the least, and by the time I came back to America I could never get back into watching all the different sports like everyone does.

But now, thanks to drive to survive I love watching F1! And like you Hamilton is so great… Phenomenal driver gifted humble passionate all the qualities that you wish the American sports heroes had… Instead of the brashness arrogance lying showboating that goes on in most sports.

Glad you found something new that you enjoy!

Best – Scott Palazzo


Good time to start watching F1, it’s getting interesting again. One thing about F1 though, is you have to see a race live before you can really understand the speeds involved. I told my dad that for years before we went to see a race at Indy (back when it was the USGP) and it blew his mind.

Cheers from Berlin,



Yep, Formula 1 is the coolest sporting event out there, enriched in history and tradition with some of the most incredible people involved, especially the drivers. All car racing is simply just the coolest.

Don’t know if you dig the cars themselves, BUT, if you do and you want to get a real kick, YouTube “Porsche 917 cockpit” and get ready for some teeth jarring race car fantasy. Those were the most aggressive man made machines ever with the most incredible engines, and were the first race cars to sport turbo chargers. It’s really something to enjoy.

Warm regards, Sacha Spindler


Bob I’m excited that you’re fired up, we call this “the passion”. You see it in the drivers, the teams, the mechanics and the engineers. In a sport so obviously dominated with money you’re right when you say that you could have the best car and driver and still not win the race. That’s what makes a win so special. It all has to align, not just the cars or team, but the driver, the strategy the tires all of it. Everyone from the mechanics to the racing drivers have to be perfect. That’s why the podium is so emotional, that’s why you see the passion pouring out of these guys when they step on the podium.

The winning driver has a team member on the podium with them to rep the constructor.  So thats why there are four people on the podium spraying champagne ( a tradition started by American racer and legend Dan Gurney at LeMans in 1967)

Pirelli will be under scrutiny this week as they can’t seem to make a tire that will last over thirty racing  laps. The tires were the cause for both Verstappens and Strolls crash.

Watch on Bob and feel the passion!!!

Brad Blanco


Agree with you on everything about F1, Bob.

When I was 13-14 and until after high school, I was CRAZY for F1 in the first golden age that started in 1964. Jim Clark, Graham Hill and our own Dan Gurney (my still all-time hero). Then came the Beatles and the bass guitar…but that’s another story.

So a Dutch friend of mine hipped me to ‘Drive to Survive’ and I was hooked again. Totally in with Toto and Lewis and the drama and the danger and the glory. You’re right…it is all there.

Don’t forget the excellent Tom Clarkson, the voice of F!! About the best at calling a sporting event as I’ve heard…up there with Bill King, Jack Buck, Dave Niehaus (I’m from Seattle doncha know) and anyone else you’d like to roll out.

Have fun with the new obsession and check out the F1 podcasts. There are a bunch, and Clarson’s are right up there.

Thanks for all the great reads, Bob and the terrific interviews on your own podcast!

Jeff Davies

Seattle, WA


Ha ha your summation of this race was gold , unlike you I was up until 12.30 am here in Australia and thoroughly enjoyed the  Azerbaijan race as unlike a lot of the races it’s a great street circuit tight and closed in by historical buildings mixed in with some really impressive skyscrapers and unlike a race track the street circuit has wind tunnels and other great obstacles.

The wiki says

“Azerbaijan officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region, and is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia and Turkey to the west, and Iran to the south.”

This is a fascinating part of the world with so many influences it would be great to visit and to think it left the Soviet Union only 30 years ago and looks really prosperous now .

The other fascinating fact is the Caspian Sea and Āzerbāyjān is below sea level , go figure!

I always pop outside for a cigarette when something tends to happen so I missed the first crash with Young Lance  Stroll  but the penultimate crash that took Verstapen really created the drama due to the race being red flagged .

The rigamarole they go through to restart the race and only for a few laps is something to behold  however the tactics and the underlying drama is fantastic .

Deep down Hamilton wanted to get those extra points however didn’t really need them because Verstapen wasn’t a threat since his tyre blew out however it just shows in the height of of the pressure and drama even the best can make the wrong move and the Spaniard got the chocolates giving his team a constructors advantage .

As for those Perilli tyres well I am sure we will hear more about them in the next instalment .

Stay tuned for the next episode of  F1 days of of lives .

Bob the best most spectacular street circuit was canceled this year and that’s the night race in Singapore..

Warren Bernard Amster


Welcome to auto racing Bob……generally with Formula 1, certainly LeMans you have to be up at odd hours to watch live but it’s religion to a lot of people.   And so diverse it’s not just 4 left turns.   They did the electric cars in Miami and are trying to make a go of it but electric is well electric.  No smell, no sound, just odd….

I owned a farm in the Berkshires years ago and they only entertainment was a dirt track 30 miles away ….New Lebanon Speedway….Tony Stewart started there……I fell in love with the stocks and the 357s and the affair began.  10000 crazies every Saturday night where you dony buy 1 beer they crack half a case and give you the box as a holder and the thousands of maniacs who camp and Winnebago overnight is right out of Twilight Zone

Even NASCAR was fun for a minute before they went crazy but in American it’s a lot of ovals and they tried a series at the Meadowlands once but they cars just couldn’t get up to speed so it failed but go to Watkins Glen or Michigan or even the Indy 500 and hear and smell and see the speed.   It’s quite amazing.

They are trying hard with a beautiful new road course in Austin .  I also went through the NFL MLB and yes on stat overload but racing is where like golf you zero in on a few guys and you re hooked

And yes on its serious team sport and pit stops are choreographed and rehearsed like Riverdance…..


Chris Apostle


Thankfully, espn deferred to Sky for the broadcasts… that first race (of the espn contract I assume) a few years back was a disaster.

Joe Selinsky


I love that you are excited and write about F1! I saw my first race in 1977 in Sweden when I was 10. Must have seen Niki Lauda, Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson with Colin Chapman in the paddock somewhere.

There’s many intricacies and lots of politics in F1. Quite a few races can be boring.

But when it’s on – it’s on like little else south of a great soccer game!

Wishing you well!

All the best,

Anders Chan-Tidemann


Bob – you’ve discovered the secret of auto racing – the stories behind each driver/team. You have a favorite driver, somebody to root for. NASCAR used to be much more popular than it is today, in part because their stories became less interesting. My favorite form of racing (sprint car racing) becomes much more interesting when Kyle Larson takes a mid-week break from NASCAR to dominate the competition, or to lose to an absolute nobody. Sprint car racing is built on touring series coming to your town to race your local favorites … a great story.


The story around the Indy 500 winner was a story people could relate to … a formerly great driver tossed aside for younger/cheaper drivers, only to win as a part-time driver for another team. More people watched his half-hour celebration than watched the race.


In politics, the story is important, hooking the core audience. Q tells a story that is compelling to the core audience. Seth Godin was right 20 years ago when he suggested the importance of telling stories to your tribe. Formula One is telling a compelling story right now to their core audience, a story that via Netflix it amplified. There are lessons to be learned here.



Kevin Hillstrom


I’m probably not the only person to suggest you check out MotoGP. You can stream it at it’s  The motorcycle equivalent to F1. I wasn’t a fan until a nice lady called me at the office and asked if I was interested in putting the next race on our big screen at Downtown Independent. being a motorsports fan I was intrigued. Even more so by the unexpected turnout for films like Faster and Fastest (produced by Brad Pitt) I need to get the 35mm print of Faster back to the filmmaker Mark Neale before we close forever. Anyway we tried it out. I wasn’t really a fan of motorcycle racing but the first race hooked me. I knew about valentino rossi and had an appreciation for the speed and calculated reckless abandon but watching the race on the big screen was like instant addiction. These riders are taking turns at F1 speed on two wheels. It’s nuts. There are just as many threads and backstories and drama, even more so. The crowd after the second screening, also on Sundays, was enormous and only grew. There were nearly 100 nice bikes parked out front on a Sunday in downtown LA. One of the best crowds ever. I will miss them.

James Kirst


Glad to see you’ve come over the the Formula 1 side.
They’ve really stepped up their online/interaction/engagement side since Liberty Media (yes a US company controls F1) took over F1 a few years back,

I’ve been a fan for some 35 of my 50 years, and went to my fist race in Montreal in 1995 and went every year up to 2007 when I didn’t for a few years.
You see, the day of the 2007 Canadian GP, my oldest was born! in fact it was the same day Lewis Hamilton won his first GP!
What an odd bit of timing that was.
I’ve  had my ups and downs with the sport over the years,  but this year is lining up to be a great season.
The first real competitive one in quite a long time.

Today’s race was something else and Baku could be the best street circuit on the calendar.
Max is a love/hate driver and can be seen as the “villain” to Hamilton.
He’ll give Lewis his toughest competition since Vettel a few years back, or 2016 when Rosberg beat Hamilton to the Championship. (the last driver to beat Lewis).
Many core F1 fans are enjoying this year because most races are throwing in some unpredictability.
Will Max with the title?
Will Lewis win his record setting 8th drivers title?
Will Red Bull end Mercedes dominance of the Hybrid era?
What will happen in 2022 when new regulations and car design come into play?

Today was the first time in 54 races Lewis hasn’t scored a point!
The last time he didn’t score a point was in Austria 2018.
An incredible streak of consistency.

If you can, sign up to F1TV (not sure what version of it they offer in the US) but it offers lots of older races and content to catch you up on some more history and legendary drivers.

Also….search out “Senna” from 2010. A phenomenal documentary on who many consider the greatest driver of all time.

And while the next race is in France at Paul Ricard…don’t expect it to be anything like Azerbaijan.
Paul Ricard has been one of the most processional and boring races of the last few years.

The back to back’s in Austria should be great, and the experimentation of the Sprint Races in Silverstone will add a new dynamic.

Personally…I’m disappointed that Montreal won’t be happening next weekend.
It’s a great race and the city is electric on F1 weekend.
For me…it always felt like the “official start to summer”.

Welcome the to world of F1!

Rob Johnston


F1 is amazing. Been watching since 1994.  What an amazing season to get hooked on F1. Pirelli have a lot of explaining to do!  Most likely Pirelli will say there was carbon debris because Lewis had a cut in his tire.  Regardless, Lance Stroll was lucky being that exposed on a high speed straight with cars zooming by at 200 mph!  It took 37 second to get a red flag but half the field had already passed him at high speed.  For a few moments, you could hear just how terrified Stroll was.

Now we have to wait 11 days before we go racing again!

If you’re getting into the sport, check out:

Reddit Formula 1: Very popular F1 community = There are also technical groups and subreddits for every driver.  I’m a huge Pierre Gasly #10 fan! I typically start my day here. Then, Google News F1 searches, driver and team Twitter accounts.

Racer:  Solid analysis and longer format articles =

SkySports: is fine but in most cases you won’t be able to watch any of the video clips. Their YouTube channel is worth checking out =

RaceFans is good

Will Buxton: Been watching him since his days at Speed Channel, NBCSports, and now F1 Digital Commentator.  He has his own channel with some great insights on F1 and auto sports.  He’s on YouTube =

ESPN F1: Sucks.  They simply repost what SkySports publishes. They have a few analysts but no past engineers nor former drivers like on Sky. A little watered down corporate messaging speak.

Streaming F1:

Two options in U.S.:

I. F1 TV subscription.  $79.99.  You get the main feed, PIT Lane show (more technical with split screen coverage: main feed on the left-half of the screen and the right is split in half with driver camera views, Tracker view that graphically represents where the drivers are on the track, Data view (sector times, tires by driver by team, track weather information including wind direction, DRS (drag reduction system) performance, lap data, leaderboard, and my favorite Individual Driver Cams. The team radio communications are amazing to hear and now you get to listen in on Race Control communications between teams. Here’s the link =

Why get a subscription?  You’ll wanna watch practices (FP1, FP2, and FP3) in addition to the races when you really get the F1 bug.  Figure 10 to 15 hours of watching F1 from Friday through Sunday.

2. ESPN +.  Do you need it? ESPN shows replay analysis during qualifying and races.  Those video clips are not shown on F1 TV in the U.S. but you can hear the commentator.  I’ll have ESPN running in the background in case the feed is goes down.


Todd Tweedy



I became a fan after the Netflix special as well. It’s quite the sport.

Thank you for writing about it. I’ve been following your writing for years. It’s funny how often your interests end up aligning with mine.

Great writing  as always.


Derek Szeto


As I mentioned before, I’ve been watching for decades.

Today was a bit different for me,  because of your previous Netflix F1
post and the response it got,, I felt like there were more people I
know, or know of, watching today’s race.

Paul Zullo


And of course Christian Horner is married To Ginger Spice !!

Steve Lillywhite

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