Sporting history

Sporting history is something that gets talked about a lot. Basically in the end superfans of any sport can make up any statistic about anything and sooner or later it will get broken. In fact in times of boredom for the sport it often seems that statistics are made to be broken.

I watch Formula 1. I’m an avid fan, I never miss watching a race. And I imagine for many of you just the idea of Formula 1 is boring. I however do not. The thing that makes Formula 1 interesting to me is the politics and the races are just a physical manifestation of that politics. Forget anything else that is simply about what you see during the game. Formula 1 is all about the things you don’t see. Cricket may be the worlds most complicated natural sport, Formula 1 is the worlds most complicated sport in total. The thing that makes Formula 1 most interesting is the fact that it is a world in which everything seems to be unseen – like politics – but in the end it is possible to know almost everything. From who’s going where next season to who has the most fuel in the car for this race.

But I also know that none of this really matters because unless you’re a fan you aren’t going to be interested. People don’t believe that Formula 1 is really a sport because the cars do all the work, and I can counter that by saying “tell that to the driver who has lost two stone in two hours through sweat trying to control his car round a 160 mile an hour bend”. It is a sport – it’s just a different one. But that too isn’t the point.

The point of this is to say that it isn’t very often when genuine sporting history is made. For the last few years Michael Schumacher has been the dominant force in F1. He has won everything. People had been saying the sport was boring as he kept winning. And the tv presenters had to find new weird and wonderful records for him to break each week just to keep it interesting: “If Michael wins this one he’ll…” etc. But that has come to an end. This season has truly been a turning point for the sport. Michael has only won one race and that was under dubious circumstances.

There was a joke on a tv program about the American grand prix this year. Due to safety concerns only 3 teams raced (the three teams who were on one particular manufacturers tires). The comedian pointed out that it was a very strange race because only 3 teams took place, but they said, despite this peculiarity Michael Schumacher still won. It was taking the piss out of the fact that Michael had been so dominant. However with comedy – as with most things – timing is everything. And this year that was the only race Michael won.

Today’s race had one close to meaningless statistic attached to it. Tiago Montero, had he finished the race would have equalled Michael’s record of most consecutive completions of a race. Actually Tiago didn’t finish, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be a huge star – I think he might just be.

But today had one real stat too. Today the first person to take the championship away from Michael won. Fernando Alonso was crowned World Champion. And he really deserved it.

And the stat? He is the youngest World Champion ever.

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