March 9th, 2020

Dawn of a new season

The fight against jet lag, struggling against your body telling you to sleep, for those who are there. The alarm ringing way too early, the tip-toeing around the house, still dark, for those watching from home. The Australian Grand Prix is a race that exacts a toll – very often in the shape of sleepless nights – from all those who work in Formula One or follow our beloved sport from home.

Witnessing – whether in person or not – the start of a new Formula One season is something that takes effort. The teams embark on the longest trip of the season, spending the best part of 24 hours in the narrow confines of a plane. It’s a trek that no amount of on-board movies or literature can make any lighter; it hits your body and your soul. Fans watching from home haven’t got it any easier. In the blueish light of a TV screen, they brave the night, not without a hint of pride, to watch every session, every minute of action. Bags under the eyes are a mark of honour, a battle scar separating the true believers from the casuals – but has pride ever made a 4am wake-up call any easier?

There’s a certain symbolism in all these efforts. The long, cross-planet trip to Australia pales in comparison with the months that led to the birth of a new car: the thousands and thousands of work hours by every team member, the countless meetings, the sweat and tears each one of these journeys entails. The fans, they too endure a long time of silent suffering as they wait for Formula One to come back: a long winter of waiting, the growing sense of expectation, the longing for the first beats of THAT opening sequence. Like the teams, they are awaiting this weekend, projecting their hopes and dreams on the new cars that will take to the track on Friday.

The Australian Grand Prix does exact a toll, but all are ready to endure whatever is asked of them to be on the grid – in the flesh or in the soul. Teams and fans alike, we do this year after year. This is what passion looks like.