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Friday, February 18, 2005

Red Bull Racing

The BBC comments on the prospects for the Red Bull Racing team.

The odd thing about Formula 1, which sets it apart from NASCAR, CART, or IRL, is that fans usually follow teams more faithfully than particular drivers. In that respect, fan behavior in Formula 1 is closer to what we commonly understand is the norm for those who follow sports like baseball, hockey, or soccer.

I don't know for sure, but I think this approach to auto racing is uniquely European. I was watching coverage of FIA's World Rally Championship last night and the behavior of the fans and the way the commentators referred to the teams, which are all manufacture based, is remarkably similar. Fans love or hate the driver who works for their preferred team. Armin Schwarz not doing so well for Skoda? Get rid of him. Oddly enough, the teams in the WRC often employ specialized drivers who are brought in for a particular kind of terrain, gravel vs. asphalt vs. snow, to gain points for the manufacturer's championship.

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