I woke up this morning to see the sad news about Jules losing his life. Naturally it has brought to the surface some thoughts about motor racing as a sport and what it’s like to be a fan. Jules will continue to be missed and the governing body has implemented new procedures as part of its learning process following the crash.
In wider motorsport there’s been a shocking number of deaths in the last few years. The sport as a whole seems to be getting more dangerous as the cars become faster but the tracks remain the same. We lose far too many people.
Being a motorsport fan isn’t quite the same as being a fan of most other sports. Constantly you hope for a good, entertaining and safe race when you sit down on a Sunday afternoon. The sad thing is you know that the next death will come. You know that a young athlete will be struck down in their prime at some point. It will happen but it’s rarely at the front of your thoughts. You don’t sit expecting it or waiting for it.
This makes the sport and everything that goes with it extremely close though. It isn’t morbid either. As fans, drivers, mechanics, marshals etc, we don’t wallow in the danger and tragedy; we learn from it. We enjoy the racing because it’s thrilling, not dangerous (although clearly the two are linked).
The motorsport community has immediately showed how close knit it is with drivers and teams beyond Formula 1 publishing messages of condolence regarding Jules. This is a sport that in competition has a tendency to feel on the constant verge of ripping itself apart with teams arguing over the rules and incidents etc and yet in tragedy it comes together as it should.
On days like today it produces in me feelings of sadness and pride. It’s a difficult sport to follow so closely sometimes. My thoughts are with Jules’s family.