Beyond the Monolith: Inside F1 as the sport enters a new era

Written by Michele Russell for CNN

When a Ferrari F1 car is performing breathtaking overtakes, at the front or the back of the field, watching it is like being at the most exciting championships in racing, anywhere in the world. What is driving the eye-popping moves — and that is perhaps what makes it so special — is that many in the F1 team are seeing it happen for the first time. It’s a phenomena known as the secret feed.

We witness an F1 car coming through the cars in second place or chasing the leaders and weaving between them, passing them by as the other drivers drive off thinking they’ve won a race when a teammate is really going for a victory.

Not only is the grace and elegance of this incredible car being shown, but it’s able to weave through traffic and when a set of double yellow flags are waved in front of it, in order to stop more cars from racing through the formation queue, the Ferrari goes into even greater celebrations. These fans in the track seats — the people who are there for the games — don’t know how it’s done and to see it is something special, like watching rugby or a boxing match live, without seeing much.

The highest level of talent and achievement you can see is in the #F1 racing crews who put the cars together. Most of the technicians are passionate about the sport, they want to be successful and want to share this success. They’ve been with the team for years and have created a family environment which motivates everyone.

The make-up of the field is quite different from the last few seasons, but there’s a general feeling that all of the teams are fighting for position this year, at least for the first part of the year. We are starting to really see the increased anticipation from the fans — they know they have to get to a grand prix to see some of the action.

This is the biggest circus that can happen in motorsport, and the Formula 1 season is always filled with the biggest surprises, the biggest entertainment, and the biggest of rivalries. With a very open race calendar, there’s always so much to look forward to and so much to be excited about. But unfortunately, for some, the excitement will not be around us every week. Many of the races are held outside Europe this year, making the schedule very tough. There’s no Formula 1 driver who will go to a race with as much fervor as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton — it’s a battle between the teammates, who will do everything possible to not give up such a big lead.

For the fan, F1 is amazing. The atmosphere and the battles inside the factory are incredible, a constant noise of excitement — from the driver and mechanics talking about strategies to the technicians tinkering with the paint, brake pads and wheel settings on the track.

After that, you’re lucky enough to be able to see live the most amazing show in racing on the grid. This is the stage of the season, where the drama is played out. Racing at this level is nothing short of magic.

What’s so magical about watching an F1 race is that you never know which way the track will turn and where the race will end. This unpredictability is what brings the fans back — while the cars are low down to the track, the drivers are dancing on the edge of their seats, who knows? They might not have any control over this, but at least now they can watch it unfold on the track.

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