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Supporting the underdog
Muse #325 - the bias of taking sides
Today was the last of the 2021 season’s Formula 1 race. And young Max Verstappen took the championship crown in an exhilarating finish against the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
This is not about the race and what happened in the final race. Many events in this race were indeed controversial and will be debated forever. But the point is this year finally broke the Mercedes spell. For years, Mercedes was dominating the sport with their money spent and technological superiority over the competition. That ended up being a monotonous and dull watch for ardent fans like me. Made the sport less interesting than it could be.
Therefore I have always rooted for the underdogs. There is some excellent talent who did not have the access to the right equipment. Verstappen. Le Clerc. Sainz. Norris. Gasly. Red Bull (which is not a car company). Honda (which is leaving the sport after this race). And you want young talent to make it in this rich man’s sport.
Money buys access and most recently one could see that with Stroll (Aston Martin), Schumacher, and Mazepin (Haas). To some extent Tsunoda (Japan) to spread access to the Japanese market and Zhao (China) in 2022 to have access to the Chinese market to build up viewership in market-centric niches.
In order to enjoy a sport as a fan one needs to take sides. Only then one is able to enjoy the game a little more than just a neutral spectator. This year I rooted for Max who finally won. I am yet to know who I will be rooting for in 2022.
The next year should bring more competition to the sport with the car design changes leading to less dirty air between cars (with changes to rear end wing design that funnels the dirty air upwards to reduce turbulence creating air) leading to closer racing between cards. This coupled with the team spending caps that have been rolling out should make this sport even more interesting.
And what a thrilling final race it was. With a lot of ups and downs that mirror events in real life. Thoroughly interesting indeed.