The Lonely Case of a Zimbabwean F1 Fan

I woke up to the morning news bulletin on ZBC TV about Callisto Pasuwa’s preparations for the Warriors’ next match against Malawi in the AFCON qualifiers deciding round. It dawned on me that there is a big F1 race coming up this weekend in Monaco that almost all of my compatriots are unaware of and wouldn’t care about. Yet they have been raving for the Malawi tie for about two months now!

Even my Twitter timeline is full of the soccer types. You can always rely on Tino or Lynn for the GGMU et al hashtags, amoung other Twimbos. These are people who talk about LVG as he’s a cousin or a neighbour as I’ve seen here today. I’m not hating on soccer fans. It’s just that I wish I had more Formula 1 fans at least in my casual circles.

I only have a single local friend who shares the same passion for F1 as I have. Though I have a former varsity cricket teammate I have deep analysis with every racing weekend, I watch all of my races physically alone. If I’m streaming or following live updates on my phone, the people around me won’t understand it when I raise a ZANU (PF) fist when Nico Rosberg out qualifies Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second.

With guys like Mr Ndlovu and Sozzled Raisin, at least I have people to share the experience with whenever they appear during a race. Bit I’m still to meet a group of Zimbos debating F1 as they do Messi/Ronaldo. I heard there is a motorsports-themed bar in the northern suburbs of Harare. Would love it if someone would point me in its direction.

I don’t buy the argument that F1 isn’t popular in Zim because it’s an elitist sport. Maybe we are just one-dimensional as a people and only follow sports which have local representatives such as cricket, rugby and soccer. But we do have a son of the soil, Axcil Jefferies, who races in GP2 which is F1’s feeder league. He even had a good race last year in Indie Lights, which is a decent achievement. But not enough for Zimbabweans to notice.

Anyway, there will be an F1 demo race organised by HIFA in September and I’ll hopefully meet more of my kind there.


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