Schumacher showed the world what being #1 means. One finish in three races and words floated all around that Schumi was a spent force. I can still recall the wicked smile on the faces of the 'McLaren Fans' for whom it didn't matter if 'their' team wasn't winning but what did was that Schumi and Ferrari weren't. And then that spectacle of a race, one of the best drives of the recent past, the terrifying pace of the F2005, that just about left them all stunned!
I picked up this interest in F1 during my schooling days. At the time I was in Bangalore, one of the very few cities in India where F1 was a passion. Of course, access to the Internet was a luxury then and Star Sports' splendid television coverage was the only gateway to the world of F1. In fact all newspaper coverage F1 managed those days was a single column at maximum in the then 8-column The Times of India (Things are quite different now that Karthikeyan is on the circuit.)At the time I was quite surprised how these rivalries also found their place in the corporate world. I had quite a few friends who had just left college and joined the rising software mansions. The tales they told me of Schumi and Villenuve Fan Clubs and later Ferrari and McLaren cults in their offices often amused me. Imagine seeing a whole bunch of your staff in scarlet shirts!
The one memory I have from those days is of the infamous Schumi-Villenuve collission at 1997 at Jerez and I, simply being a Schumi supporter, never understood why so much of noise was made about it! Hakkinen came and upset Schumi on more than one occasion and I had all the reasons in the world to loath him. Not that I disliked his down-to-earth attitude and the accent, but he left me with no options.
Okay, enough of this nostalgia. I may go on and on and on. Then I would have to talk about the numerous heated discussions with my friends here in college, the so called Alonso Fans who till a couple of months ago swore by Coulthard and Montoya. Loyalty, huh!