Gear Up for Formula 1 with Suad Bejtovic
Gear Up for Formula 1 with Suad Bejtovic
On this episode of Hustle and Pro, our own Suad Bejtovic catches us up to ‘speed’ on Formula 1 racing. It’s a hugely popular sport with innovative technology, highly skilled (and highly paid) drivers and the latest and greatest in auto manufacturers competing against each other.
The tracks, the machines, the drivers, the history – it’s all very fascinating when you dig in. Suad drives us through a great overview of F1 and the upcoming races to round out this season, including the Circuit of the Americas race in Austin, November 1-3, 2019.
Whether you’re a fan already or a new one like me, enjoy the ride on this episode.
- [:45] Quick hits with Suad
- [3:50] Formula 1 Overview
- [6:10] Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and more
- [9:50] Well-known tracks in F1
- [14:00] Circuit of the Americas
- [16:18] Upcoming races remaining this season: Austin Nov 1-3
- [21:43] Drivers – favorites and up and coming
- [26:46] Formula 1’s popularity
- [31:20] Photography and F1
Resources within this episode:
- Suad Bejtovic: Website | Instagram: suadbphoto | Facebook: SuadBejtovicPhotography
- Formula 1: Website
- Circuit of the Americas: Nov 1-3 Race Information
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco:
Kelly Walker: If you aren’t a Formula One fan yet I hope you will be by the end of this episode cause we’re talking Formula One today with our own Suad Bejtovic. He’s here to catch us up to speed. See what I did? Speed. Speed on F1. So hi, Suad. How’s it going?
Suad Bejtovic: I’m good. How are you?
Kelly: I’m fantastic. I’m excited to learn more. Now this is another one of those things where I am not an expert in this field, but you’re going to fill me in and teach me and my listeners a little bit about it. So before we jump into that stuff, I do want to get some quick hits and learn some of your favorites. I’m anxious to hear about a couple of these things. Okay. Who would you say is your favorite athlete of all time?
Suad: Favorite athlete of all time. It was a close race between Mike Modano and Dirk Nowitzki. But, over the last, like 5 to 10 years since Modano retired it would probably have to be Dirk.
Kelly: What about your all time favorite team?
Suad: All time favorite team? That’s a good question because I’m European and I’m going to mention that several times today. I’m more of a soccer guy than anything else. So I’m, you know, I like a lot of the English premier league teams, you know, like Chelsea or Liverpool. Um, so that, those would probably be my favorite. Yeah. I would have to add, FC Roma, an Italian, Serie A, because, one of the great Bosnian players is playing there.
Kelly: Oh, okay. Yeah. You and Jack will have to talk. He is now a Chelsea fan okay, because of Pulisic. So he’s got his Chelsea gear now. So next time you see him, you guys can talk, talk all things Chelsea, right? Um, so what’s your favorite sport to play?
Suad: I’m not very coordinated. And I don’t do well in team sports. Uh, but I, I’m a little bit of a runner, so I like running. But as far as team sports, uh, I like running around a soccer field. I played some indoor soccer here in the leagues in Frisco. And I usually just stay away from the ball, bring a defender over to my side so the other guys can score goals.
Kelly: What about your favorite sport to watch?
Suad: A favorite sport to watch has to be soccer. Uh, but I, I enjoy a couple of others. Um, tennis is one of them. I love watching tennis, especially on the highest level. And of course Formula One, which we’ll talk about today.
Kelly: Yes. Now I’m curious about this one. Farthest distance you’ve traveled to watch sports or to play sports. I doubt it’s playing it yourself, but maybe to watch sports.
Suad: Ooh, that’s an interesting one. I can’t quite, Oh, well, yeah. Okay. So that, that kinda ties into what we’re talking about today. Uh, cause I did travel to Austin for the inaugural Formula One race in 2012 when the racetrack just opened a, it was a brand new thing and I was kind of expecting it to, uh, to be pretty cool because it’s been building for about a year and a half. I think they started construction 2010. So when the race rolled around, yeah, I traveled. It’s not a big distance, I suppose, you know, a 250 or so miles. But uh, but yeah, that’s a,
Kelly: So I was expecting you to say European soccer.
Suad: Well yeah, but most of those were in my backyard, although one time when I went back to Bosnia to visit my parents and my family, which is where I’m from, uh, my sister took me to one of the local teams, uh, soccer games. So even though that’s still kind of my backyard, I traveled about 6,000 miles to go see that soccer game. So, you know, maybe that counts.
Kelly: Seems far. All right, let’s talk Formula One. So first, I guess maybe just give us a little overview. I mean, people like me know that it’s racing, but there’s lots of forms of racing. And I thought, okay, I’ve been at Texas Motor Speedway, I’ve seen NASCAR races, I’ve seen IndyCar races, there’s other races. So like, what’s the, the summary of what are we talking about when we say Formula One?
Suad: Formula One is basically the highest level of motor sports. It’s open-wheel racing. So the cars kind of look like IndyCar racing, uh, IndyCar race or cars. However, they don’t necessarily compete on ovals. Uh, they are all on road tracks. They are either purposefully built road circuits or on a couple of occasions they run a on a race track that was built on city streets, so in Monaco and Singapore and maybe one or two other places. So, uh, they are, they are very fast. They’re very light. It’s basically the highest level of technology and knowhow. Over the last five or six years, they have been using V6 hybrid engines that use some kind of a kinetic, uh, recovery system to get even more power. It’s, it’s basically magic. But over over the years, it kind of, some of that technology trickles down into, uh, passenger cars that we, that we drive around maybe some of the higher end features or maybe even some of the hybrid features.
Kelly: So then let’s talk about that. So in the small amount, I know, so you maybe root for a team and that team is based on like the car type, right? Or manufacturer? I don’t, I don’t know.
Suad: That’s right. So the current season has 10 manufacturers. Each manufacturer has two cars driven by two drivers. So each team has two drivers and they all compete, uh, on two levels. One is the constructors championship, which is a, where you add up the points that each individual driver a scored within a team. Uh, and then you have the drivers championship where the drivers compete against each other. And then at the end of the year, they basically assign those trophies, and fun fact, uh, we’re recording this right after the Japanese Grand Prix, um, with four races to go Mercedes, um, clenched their sixth in a row. A constructors. A champion.
Kelly: Okay. So Mercedes is a, is a top player.
Suad: Yes. They’ve been dominant over the last five or six years.
Kelly: And then other cars like Ferrari, right.
Suad: Ferrari’s right behind a, they didn’t have a great season last year. They had a couple of wins, but they came back strong this year. They had some issues early on in the race, but they’re still strong in second place in the constructors championship. And, uh, they had three wins this season between the two drivers. So they’re, they’ve been coming back. They had some issues and we Ferrari fans because I’m recording this in a Ferrari jacket.
Kelly: I, I’m going to ask you that your team, is that who you root for?
Suad: I grew up in Europe and it was. Ferrari is a, is a huge name in Europe not just in road cars, which we know them all over the world, but specifically because of Formula One racing. You know, they’re red, they’re flashy, they go fast. You know, they usually have the best drivers. And I was always a Ferrari fan.
Kelly: But Mercedes has given them a run for their money. Who else? Like what are the other big players and maybe, I don’t know, names we’ve heard of, but also car types we haven’t yet.
Suad: Right. So, so the third of those big manufacturers has been Red Bull racing. Uh, and they kind of came into racing, uh, in Formula One about 15, 20 years ago, uh, with some really talented designers and technicians. And they’ve been, uh, actually, suaduh, they were able to win some championships before both the drivers and constructors. Uh, this year they kind of, you know, playing third place to those other two, but they have a really good young driver. Uh, his name is Max Verstappen. Uh, he’s from Belgium and Netherlands. He races under the Netherlands under the Dutch flag. His father was actually a Formula One driver back in the eighties and nineties. His name, his name is Yasir Verstappen. And so that’s a, that’s kind of in his blood.
Suad: Mercedes actually a couple of years ago, had another driver who his father was a world champion. That was Khaki Roseburg, uh, back in the eighties sometime. And his son Nico was with Mercedes, uh, and he won a world championship a couple years ago.
Kelly: Wow. So when Red Bull, you say Red Bull, I mean they’re not a manufacturer, so they, they’re just like, I’m building a team. And so are they associated with like Honda and only Honda or do they have all kinds of cars?
Suad: So, uh, they have a Honda engine. So each, uh, manufacturers have a, have a different engine there that are all built to certain specifications. So Mercedes has their own and Ferrari has their own. But Red Bull got theirs from Honda who has been in that one for many years. And then some of the other teams, uh, borrow the engines from those bigger manufacturers like Ferrari and Mercedes and others. So you have, you know, other teams that are also have that same Ferrari engine, but their cars look a little bit different. They’re designed a little bit differently. It’s all very, very secretive how they develop those cars.
Kelly: Some technology trade secrets that people are trying to always steal and one up everybody, right? I mean, that’s what it’s all about is who can figure out the best way to make these cars perform.
Suad: That’s, that’s right. Because in Formula One, even a millisecond counts. So they try to make the cars as light as possible, as durable as possible, and of course as fast as possible. But there’s a lot that goes into it. And like I said, if they can save a 10th of a second over a course of a three or four mile lap, you know they’ll do it because that means that a difference between winning the race and not.
Kelly: All right, so laps. So let’s talk about the tracks. You mentioned that part of what makes Formula One Formula One is that it’s, the track is not just a basic oval. That’s where you’re going after a left turn, right? So some tracks are actually like streets, right? But then some are made specifically for racing. So what are, what are some of the more well known ones or known for being notoriously known for being bad or whatever? Harder. So tell me about, about the track.
Suad: So some of the famous, most famous, uh, tracks are, for example, I would have to mention spa Frank Rashawn in Belgium, because you know the race track goes up and down hills, the old, the layout of the, of the track included like 15 miles. It was, it was a huge, uh, racetrack. But, uh, now most of it remains and it’s a beautiful racetrack to, uh, to go on. Uh, drivers love it. Uh, they have a lot of fast corners, slow corners, a long straights and all of that. On the opposite end of that, you have the Grand Prix of Monaco, which is always run in Monte Carlo on actual streets.
Kelly: Now is this to what I feel like is known for I mean, this is kind of like the most famous looking one. When people like me think of it, isn’t that the one I’m thinking of?
Suad: It’s what probably the Superbowl of Formula One, you know, all the celebrities show up, you know, because it’s Monte Carlo and they all have their yachts parked outside in the Marina and which, which they race around that.
Kelly: That’s what I’m picturing, like mountainside, ocean. Yeah.
Suad: Yeah. They have the ocean there, the Mediterranean and then they literally run through a city streets and everything is really cramped. There’s barriers all over the place so if you put a wheel wrong and like your, your race is over basically, because as soon as you crash, you’re out. Uh, in some of these other racetracks, you know, you have some runoff area so you can go wide and then get back on the track. But, uh, in these city tracks, you cannot, right.
Kelly: No forgiveness.
Suad: Exactly. Singapore is another one that I mentioned earlier, because, not only is it a street circuit, it is also a night street circuit. A lot of these racetracks, uh, races are actually run sometime in the early afternoon European time. So like very early in the morning, our time. And when they have a race, uh, so far East, like in Singapore, um, they actually want to do it at night so that, uh, people in Europe, uh, can kind of watch it at more or less the regular times. So they use thousands and thousands of Watts of lighting, uh, on those street lights so that the drivers have a, you know, full visibility and everything. But I mean, when you look at that, it’s, it’s really cool because it’s a, it’s a dark area with just that racetrack lit up.
Kelly: Yeah, I bet that is cool looking. I bet it changes strategy too. I mean, visibility and all
kinds of things. I mean, even just us driving every day, it’s harder to see at night and you see things differently.
Suad: That’s right. Uh, actually I think that the race in Abu Dhabi, uh, starts kind of at sunset and then the sun goes down and things start cooling. Uh, the cars perform differently and you know, the teams have to account for all of that.
Kelly: Yeah. Tires, everything. What about American tracks? I mean, where do we race here?
And then we’re going to talk about some of those races, but like track wise, what’s, what’s here?
Suad: Right. So for the longest time, uh, in like late nineties and early two thousands, the US Grand Prix was in Indianapolis at the brick yard, but they had the infield section where, uh, they would go, you know, and they would have a couple of, uh, right turns. They would actually go up on the oval for about a mile, but they would go in, in the opposite direction, uh, from, from the NASCAR and IndyCar races. But that contract expired in the mid two thousands. And, uh, then all of a sudden, you know the word came up that Austin actually won that contract for the, uh, to build a purposefully built a race track for the U S Grand Prix. And like I said earlier, the, the first one was built, um, the first one was ran in 2012. It’s a really cool racetrack.
Kelly: And this is in Austin and this is called Circuit of the Americas?
Suad: Circuit of the Americas.
Kelly: That’s what the track is called? That sounds more like a series or a racing mentality, but that’s what the name of the track is.
Suad: Yeah. Because it’s kind of a nod to not only North America, but the Central and the southern, South America as well because that’s kind of close to everything because it’s a, it’s there, so Circuit of the Americas or COTA for short because that’s the acronym. There are a couple of really cool features of the racetrack. And, uh, probably the coolest is turn one because when they are on the starting grid (They have a standing start, by the way, in Formula One. They don’t just do a running start. They have to start from, uh, being perfectly still.) So as they start, they climb up some 300 or 400 feet up in the Hill that’s at turn one. So when you’re, when you actually look at it from the, uh, from the level of the pit lane, uh, it’s just a huge wall of asphalt and then you have to like climb up to it and then, you know, take that first left-hander and go all the way down. Uh, so it’s actually a really, really cool, uh,
Kelly: Visually. Really cool visual perspective.
Suad: Yeah and then after that, there are a couple of really cool S’s which kind of, uh, are kind of the driver’s test. You have to hit just the right line in each of those three or four corners. And then there’s the long back straight, uh, leading into the stadium section where, if you have a seat in that area, you can kind of see a lot of the race track. And then they get back onto the main straight, it’s about three and a half, 3.6 miles, uh, in length for the lap.
Kelly: And so that’s a lap.
Suad: Yes. That’s a lap and they have to go around, oh, I dunno, 50 or so times. I think by regulations each Formula One race has to be 300 kilometers in distance or two hours. So, on occasion, especially if it’s raining or if they have safety car issues, um, they can call a race after two hours of racing. So no F1 uh, the race should be longer than two hours.
Kelly: We talked about Circuit of the Americas and this, we’re about to come up on race time
here. So I’m in Austin, right? So, um, let’s, let’s talk about some of these races. So this, the season is comprised of several races, like 20, 21.
Kelly: And so we’re, we’re like mid season, or at least we’re in season right now.
Suad: Towards the end, we have four races left. Um, Mexico, US, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Kelly: Oh, okay. We’re towards the end. So Austin is coming up here November 1st through third, so it’s a couple of qualifiers or something. I mean, it’s not just like show up and there’s one race.
Suad: Right. So those dates that you mentioned, there’s a couple of things that happens on each date. So on November 1st that’s going to be Friday, uh, they have two free practices, 90 minutes each where teams kind of go out to just get to know the track and figure out how their cars work, how the tires work. They may run on a full fuel load, you know, to see how the cars behave under that. And then they may have some qualifying runs with low fuel load because even just a, the tank of fuel makes a big difference in the, in the lap time. So when they’re qualifying, which is on a Saturday, along with one other practice qualifying, they run, you know, basically on fumes, they only have enough fuel to complete those couple of qualifying runs. They go as fast as possible and then they, that determines the grid for the, for the race, which is on Sunday.
Kelly: But Sunday is the big, big race.
Suad: Yes, Sunday is race day. Yeah but the cool thing about that is if you go to an event like that, they also have these support races. So when I went, a couple of years ago,they had, an F1 sorry, Ferrari, club races. They had a portion on 11 club races. They even have historic Formula One car races, which is really cool. You have these cars from the seventies and eighties, that some of the most famous names in Formula One history used to drive. Uh, and they actually followed that same pattern. So they have a practice on Friday and qualifying on, uh, on Saturday. And then on, on Sunday they have those races. And then all of that is kind of leading up to the main Formula One race on Sunday.
Kelly: The main show. But as a spectator, you can see a lot of different races. It’s not just one shot.
Suad: Exactly. You don’t go there just for an hour or two hours of have a Formula One race or qualifying, you’re there for a whole day. And actually what, uh, what Circuit of the Americas has been doing over the last few years is they usually have a big concert on Friday and Saturday, uh, which is kind of in line with Austin.
Kelly: Yeah. I would expect nothing less than Austin to provide some live music for the people in town, right?
Suad: Right. So in town, so this year it’s, Imagine Dragons on Friday. So if you missed them last year here in Frisco you can go to Austin and see Imagine Dragons on Friday and then on Saturday it’s Pink.
Kelly: Oh wow. Those are big. Yeah. Do they play, I mean, is this like, is it at the venue, like at the track?
Suad: Yeah, it’s basically in the grandstands area of the track, they have like a, a big tower. And around that tower, they built a, an amphitheater where they have music performances.
Kelly: So this track stretched out, obviously three and a half plus miles is, it’s not small. So how many people are we talking about going? When you talk about a race weekend, how many people are we talking?
Suad: Uh, six digits. We’re talking 150 – 200,000 people and sometimes that number is over the course of the weekend. But, uh, for the most part those venues are huge. Uh, there are obviously grand stands where, where you can find, you know, assigned seating, but there’s also, you know, bleachers and, and a general admission tickets where you can just, you know, set up on a lawn on the Hill overlooking a part of the race track and set up your, your shop there. So yeah a lot of those, all those races we’ll have up to 200,000 or more people.
Kelly: So when you’re there,uh, I’ve told you I’ve been to like Texas Motor Speedway once or twice and the people that know what they’re doing, they’ve been there before, they do the RVing and it’s a thing, it’s a big thing. And there’s, you know, headphones and people listening to different channels for their team and this and that. And like, I’m so left out because I looked to my right and there’s like a seven year old who obviously knows what’s going on and I have no clue what they’re hearing. Does that sort of thing happen at Formula One?
Suad: They do. And what’s, uh, what’s really cool is even if you’re not there literally on site, they have access, uh, to that sort of thing. So, uh, there’s actually an F1 app. There’s two apps. One is just like for, uh, for news and stuff. But the other one is for that live feed where you can not only listen to, but you can actually watch the onboard cameras, uh, from each driver. So if you have a favorite driver, you can just tune into his channel and watch what he’s seeing, the whole race, uh, following the, the scoring and, and positions and all of that stuff. So you can, you can put that on multiple screens and it’s actually a really, really well developed app and it allows you to watch like every segment of the track in real time.
Kelly: That’s neat. So you don’t have to be there for that. You can access the technology to watch us anywhere you are. That’s great. Drivers. Do you have a guy that, or I mean, I know it’s a team of people. I know it’s not just one guy who makes all this happen, but who’s your favorite driver?
Suad: Well, my favorite driver is Kimi RIKON and he is literally the oldest driver in the field. Uh, he is, I think he turned 40 this year.
Kelly: That’s so old! Ha.
Suad: He won his first race before some of these guys were born.
Kelly: Oh wow.
Suad: Yeah. So, but he’s in a lower end team and he hasn’t been doing as well, but he is the defending champion at the United States Grand Prix because he actually won the race last year because he was with Ferrari. So he had a much better car.
Kelly: So he might be on his way, you know, out of this career. But he’s been doing it a while. So you, you like that.
Suad: I like him. However, there’s at the top, there are four drivers. Two of them are over 30, and two of them are 22. So the guys that are over 30, between them, uh, they have nine world championships. Uh, that’s Lewis Hamilton who, uh, who drives for Mercedes, and Sebastian Vettel, who drives for Ferrari. They have been rivals for literally 10 years or more. And the world championship kind of goes back between the two of them, obviously with Mercedes. Uh, Hamilton has been a much more dominant, and in fact, uh, Vettel actually won his championships with Red Bull racing, uh, between 2010 and 2013. So he hasn’t had as much success with Ferrari as he would have liked. So there are big rivals, Hamilton is currently first in the standings. Uh, he only needs a few, uh, good results to lock in his sixth world championship, uh, for the drivers championships. So he’s probably one of the best drivers of this generation. I mean, he’s, he’s pretty amazing who, he’s been very dominant. Um, this whole year he’s won nine of these 17 races, so he, he’s been really good. Uh, but I really want to talk about these two young drivers because I think that’s kind of where the future of Formula One is going. One of them is Charle LeClaire. He’s a driving for Ferrari, he’s the other Ferrari driver.
Kelly: Say the name again?
Suad: So like Charles, right? So, he’s French. He’s actually born in Monaco, or he’s from Monaco.And his last name is LeClaire. So Charle LeClaire, he is 22 years old. This is his second season, full season in Formula One. Last year he was with a support team. Now he’s driving with Ferrari, uh, and he’s been super quick, really fast. He’s been a really dominant in qualifying. He has I think four or five, uh, pole positions this year. He has, he’s had some bad luck in races, so he hasn’t won as many as he would look like, but he won two, uh, recently in Belgium and Italy. Uh, so he’s definitely the driver, uh, to watch, uh, if not this season, then, you know, maybe next season because he’s, he’s gonna be a contender for the championship uh, very, very quick.
Kelly: Is that Ferrari’s top driver?
Suad: Well, Vettel is there and has been there for a long time. He’s much more experienced, so he’s technically the number one, but LeClaire has actually been outperforming him in, uh, in a lot of races.
Kelly: So he’s got a good legacy coming back. You know, backfill of a younger guy.
Suad: That’s right. Yeah. It’s almost like you have a great quarterback, like a Tom Brady, and you have somebody on the bench, uh, you know, who’s just ready to, to get in and, and win the game for you, right?
Kelly: However so I mean like, Mercedes is at the top and then, so if Hamilton’s down whenever he’s done, you know, they could have a couple of years of slower results, right?
Suad: Yeah. That’s usually what happens because, uh, you know, they, they kind of run with those top end drivers as much as they can because they keep winning championships. But occasionally, the rules will change. The specs on the cars need to change and some teams adapt to that better than others. And all of a sudden there, uh, the tide will shift and some other team will have a much more dominant car and then you don’t win as much just based on how good your driver is. So it’s, it’s a whole team effort.
Kelly: Right. So was there another young driver you wanted to mention?
Suad: Yeah, I wanted to get back to Max Verstappen again because I mentioned him earlier. He’s been driving in Formula One. He has been the youngest driver to do like a dozen different things in Formula One. He literally started when he was 17 and a half years old. Uh, he’s now 22 so he’s the same age.
Kelly: Let’s look at the irony of that. Like you just get your license in the real world and then he’s driving a couple of hundred miles an hour racing basically across the world.
Suad: And winning races like against some of these, uh, these guys who are, like I mentioned the best one of the best drivers or some of the best drivers that we’ve ever seen in Formula One. And he’s winning races or, you know, getting really good results. He won two races again this year. So he’s driving for Red Bull, uh, and because of him that they’re going to be competitive for a long time because he’s, he’s hungry. he’s very, very talented.
Kelly: The popularity of this sport. So I might not know much about it, but globally, and you know, worldwide, especially Europe, right? Is that the place where it’s the most popular?
Suad: It is, but it is being quickly overcome by both the Middle East and the Far East because, uh, we’ve had a race already in the Middle East early in the season in Bahrain. And then obviously we’re finishing up the season in Abu Dhabi. Uh, both of those race tracks were purposefully built for Formula One racing because obviously there’s a lot of money in that area and they want to attract even more. There’s billions of dollars around Formula One. It’s even hard to compare to anything else because it’s just so far ahead of everything else. It’s not just for development of the cars, uh, the engines, the drivers and everything else. But just the infrastructure in building and maintaining a race track, and the huge marketing budgets that all the teams have. And the governing body of the sport is just a huge business.
Kelly: Is this bigger than NASCAR?
Suad: Yes. Yes.
Kelly: Okay. Cause I feel like NASCAR, I mean probably because we’re where we live here, it seems big, but I feel like that is a huge business. So It’s bigger than that.
Suad: It is. In one sense. Somebody, let’s say in anywhere in the rest of the world, will not get up at midnight to watch a race live, a NASCAR race live. Whereas you know, uh, when Japan’s race started at midnight our time and I stayed up until two o’clock to watch it live just so I know who won. That’s, it’s just, uh, on a different level.
Kelly: Yeah. And these drivers are making, they’re being paid more than a lot of, some of our best paid American athletes and traditional sports here in America.
Suad: Yeah,they would, they would get paid upwards of, you know, 20, 30 million for a season. Some of these drivers that we mentioned, some of the others obviously a lot less. Uh, some of the other teams don’t have as big budgets as Ferrari and Mercedes. But uh, drivers also gain a lot of other sponsorships. That’s kind of one of the main driver of a driver that was upon of a, of a motor sports in general. You know, because you pick a driver who’s going to bring you a sponsor, who’s going to pay for the cost of running an F1 team of, you know, putting all of your equipment on an airplane and flying halfway across the world, uh, to a race and then unpacking it all and making sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be and that you still win races. So obviously the costs involved of running an F1 team are huge. And one of the F1 teams is actually American. That’s Haas, F1 team, and it’s owned by a couple of Americans. And they have drivers, Kevin Magnuson and Roman Grossman who are, I think the longest running duo of drivers currently in the field. So they’ve liked them for, for a long time. They’ve, they’re kind of always in the middle, kind of fighting with some of those, middle level teams. But occasionally they have a really good result. And hopefully, you know, that’s kind of like a toehold on the American market.
Kelly: Yeah, keeps us involved. What’s it called again? Haas, you say?
Suad: Yes. Haas.
Kelly: Have you always been a Formula One fan?
Suad: Yeah. So the first Formula One race is a, uh, as a season, as a Grand Prix were run sometime in the fifties, right. So it’s, it’s been around for a long time. And growing up I was watching Alon Prost and Art and Santa kind of duke it out on the, on all these race tracks in the eighties and nineties. Both of those are multiple world champions, some of the best drivers, uh, ever, you know, basically legends of the sport. Then after that came Michael Schumacher, who won, uh, I believe seven total world championships. He’s one of the most successful drivers ever. Um, so you have like these personalities that kind of, uh, push the sport along. But, uh, you know, every once in awhile I’ll pick somebody different and somebody who I like. And yeah, I’ve been following it since I was like eight or nine years old.
Kelly: I’ve known you for probably, I don’t know, three years maybe. And you’re my, you’re my FC Dallas friend because we like soccer and we see each other there a lot. Part of it is work related. Right? You’re, you’re on field photographer. Many of those games have you, well, first of all, I didn’t know until just recently that you were this big into Formula One, so I’m fascinated. So thank you for the lesson.
Suad: Of course.
Kelly: Have you ever gotten to photograph Formula One?
Suad: Well, technically I brought my camera to that F1 race that I went to. Uh, I guess they don’t have as many restrictions as some of the other sports. Part of the reason for that is to get a good photo at, uh, F1 race you have to know what you’re doing..
Kelly: Yes, that can’t be easy. It’s not just going to happen, you know, snap and there’s a, you gotta be in the right place. And imagine the timing because these cars are going, I read, 215.
Suad: Yes, over 200 miles an hour easily. And actually the seat that I picked when I went to Circuit of the Americas, uh, was at the I believe it’s turn 12, which is at the end of a long straight. So they go as fast as they can for as long as they can, and then they break hard and that’s usually an opportunity for overtaking. And sure enough in the race, uh, that I was at, that was in 2012, Sebastian Vettel was on the pole, and led basically the whole race, but sometime like 10, 15 laps before the end, Hamilton was behind him the whole race, and he was able to overtake him literally right in front of me. And I have a lot of pictures of that. And on, not only of those cars, but all those other support races. But you always see that security fence in my photos and all that because they’re, you know, they were taken from the grandstands. But hey maybe next year lifestyle Frisco figures out a way to get me a credential so that I can go there to Austin and take some good pictures.
Kelly: We will work on that. You know what I realized I will be in Austin during the race. So I go on this high school girls trip kind of thing and we have a place rented but it’s not anywhere in town. And I don’t even know how close – I’m going to look it up. I’m like, oh, we’re going to be next door. It would be kind of funny. Doubt it cause it was actually available. So I doubt that it’s anywhere near where these crowds are going to be. But it’s kind of funny. I thought, Oh that would have been smart of me to plan ahead. But now that I know what it is now that you’ve told me what to look for, maybe we’ll, we’ll get there one day.
Suad: Tickets just for Sunday I believe can be had for less than a hundred bucks, but that’s general admission. Obviously if you want grandstand seats, that’s I think $150. And keep in mind that the race track is actually on the other side of highway 130, that’s the fastest highway in Texas because the speed limit is 85, which is really cool which is appropriate because that’s where the race track is.
Kelly: Yes. That’s kinda funny. Well thanks for the info. So I learned a lot. I know it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot to get into it with any sport, you know, that’s just scratching the surface and introducing people to it. And you love it for all kinds of reasons that once you get deep into it, you know it like the back of your hand. But I appreciate you taking time to explain it to me so that I know what to watch out for. Now I’ll cruise by it on TV or be able to look for it and know a little bit of who I’m watching and what’s going on.
Suad: That’s right. You’ll be like, Oh look. – LeClaire.. I heard about him. Yeah. He’s awesome!
Kelly: Yes! Well, thank you for your time.
Suad: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.