I was a little skeptical when one of my colleagues suggested I participate in the Formula 1 (F1) Aramco Employee League 2020. My son and I had watched the Bahrain Grand Prix two years ago, my first live F1 race experience, where I quickly realized that watching an F1 race remotely, through TV or the internet, does not do justice to the polished, aerodynamic beauty of the cars; the deep, rumbling sound of the turbo-hybrid power units; the packed crowds of cheering F1 fans; and the sheer excitement of taking in the racing action trackside. I wasn’t sure a “fantasy league” could add to such experiences.
The 2020 F1 racing season has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 13 of the originally scheduled races have been canceled, including iconic races in Monaco and at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We will also have to wait until next season to see the “lights go out” for the first time in Vietnam at F1’s newest circuit in Hanoi. For a while, after the season opener in Melbourne, Australia, was canceled at the last minute, it even seemed like there might not be a 2020 season at all.
I found this incredibly disappointing because 2020 is Aramco’s inaugural season as an F1 global partner, and I had been anticipating all the positive energy our company would gain from its new partnership with what many people regard as the pinnacle of motorsport. But during this season, perhaps above all others, F1 has proven its ability to remain agile and capable of adapting to change in the face of unexpected challenges. F1’s management worked on reconfiguring the F1 race calendar, eventually scheduling 17 races, with the final races of the season set to run in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
We should also not forget that early in the pandemic, F1’s Project Pitlane martialed the engineering efforts of some teams toward designing and manufacturing ventilators at a time when many hospitals desperately needed more of them.
The employee league enables participants to create as many as three “dream teams,” each consisting of five drivers and one constructor (racing team). As the race season progresses, the monetary value of the drivers and teams, within the league, may go up or down depending on their performance. I have kept this in mind while refining the composition of my teams, keeping within the required budget, in the hope of boosting their point tally.
Half of the 2020 season’s races have already been completed. This is far enough into the season for me to realize the F1 Aramco Employee League has not only added an extra dimension to my enjoyment of F1 racing, but more importantly, it has also helped highlight the resilience needed to produce the cutting-edge technologies that will bring benefits to people around the world.
Your Voice reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of the publication.