What is it about car racing that attracts the male species? Is it the thrill of taming sleek monsters? Is it the excitement for sheer speed? Or is it about controlling mean machines? Perhaps, all three! Psychologists say that it is the need for constant excitement which has men going ga-ga over car racing.
I am not questioning the need to spend millions on an elite and dangerous (Two deaths on the tracks in a month) sport.It is debatable. Other than the skill and courage of the driver, Formula1 is a multi billion dollar enterprise. A top driver can make up to $ 30 million dollars a year and more from sponsorships and promotions. Also when 600 million viewers watch the thrilling technological sport on television, surely, there must be something.
But where does the thrill come from? Not merely from racing. If it was only about the thrill of racing, Kerala’s Boat Race would draw similar enthusiastic response from the urban crowds. What if Mittals and Mallyas combine their marketing skills and promote ‘Airtel B1 Boat Challenge’ with foreign contestants, in God’s own country and invite Madonna to perform? The scene could very well spice up. But it won’t be the same.
More than the speed, the thrill comes from the lurking danger. A thirteen year old boy who had come to catch a glimpse of his icon Schumacher thought that the thrill of speed was phenomenal, but was upset that he could not witness a single crash.
Imagine what would happen if Asha Bhonsle or a younger Sunidhi Chauhan were performing at the inaugural event of F1 racing. Would the urban crowd shell out Rs 15,000 for the tickets and other Rs 1500 for the parking? I doubt it. It is Lady Gaga’s esoteric antics which they wish to see and not staid boring Indian singers. So what if they never hum Gagas meaningless songs?
What is good for the west should be good for us too. After the success of ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, Bangalore and Mysore celebrated ‘Tomatina’ festival by pelting 6200 kgs of fruit pulp. I am surprised some ingenious soul did not get the idea of organizing Pampolina Bull Run. It was easy. Assemble all the stray bulls loitering in the sabzi mandis, request Mallaya to sponsor it and Wohooo…Spain could come to India. What are a few broken bones in between Spain and India?
Sorry guys, the idea is not to deride the thrill and excitement of car racing. In fact, it is good that Indians are being exposed to a sport other than cricket, the concept of speed other than Brett Lee and the concept of thrill other than twenty over cricket. My intention is to simply delve deeper and find what is it that excites racing enthusiasts?
I mean, don’t Delhiites drive to office everyday? And given the road rage incidents, I am sure they hate it. Perhaps it’s the heady concoction of sleek machines, the silky smooth track and thrill of speed. Psychologists also say that it is all about the thrill of doing something new, something different. Like the thrill of doing it in the dirty kitchen than the comfortable bedroom. Or like the thrill of making out with the ugly girlfriend rather than the beautiful wife.
The eighty one year old F1 empire head Bernie Ecclestone says, “In India not more than two percent of the spectators have witnessed such an event, so it is about the novelty factor”. A new sport. A new track. A new race. Lady Gaga first time in India. All encourage dopamine rush and the need to be in a perpetual state of excitement. Vroom!