Mauren: Why you need to watch F1 this weekend

Columnist Jacob Mauren urges everyone to tune into the final Formula 1 race Sunday. 

Jacob Mauren

Formula 1 is the perfect combination of engineering genius and intense competition, yet it has historically struggled to gain the attention of an American audience. Recently, this trend has begun to change thanks in part to the Netflix show “Drive to Survive,” and a successful Grand Prix hosted in Austin, Texas. If you have yet to tune into a race this year, your final chance comes this weekend as the season heads for an impossibly dramatic finale. 

I am not a seasoned F1 fan myself. I became interested early this season after stumbling across Netflix’s “Drive to Survive.” The show compresses nine months of racing into about 10 episodes and admittedly takes some creative liberties to manufacture some drama. But the high adrenaline racing, intense engineering and strategy had me hooked right away. Soon I was waking up at 7 a.m. or missing NFL games to watch races, and I could not have picked a better season to begin watching. 

Lewis Hamilton is an English seven-time world champion looking for a record-breaking eighth championship. Max Verstappen is a Dutch prodigy, having broken the record for youngest F1 driver when he began his career. The two drivers, racing for Mercedes AMG and Red Bull Racing, respectively, have been neck-in-neck for the driver’s championship all season. And now, as they enter the final race in Abu Dhabi, the two are in a dead tie for first. This Sunday, the winner takes all. 

This season-long 1v1 has not been entirely friendly either. The two have collided multiple times, such as in Italy, Silverstone and Jeddah (at least twice). At one point, some suspicions from Red Bull about the Mercedes car turned into a penalty for Hamilton as the opening in his car’s rear wing was found to be less than a millimeter too wide. The most recent race in Saudi Arabia ended with both drivers feeling they had been wronged as they traded jabs through interviews

So if you are interested in an action-packed, winner takes all spectacle, I strongly encourage you to tune in this Sunday morning. The cars will be pushed to their limits, the drivers will be giving it their all, and in the end, the winner will be crowned world champion.