Formula 1 has always been a part of my life. One of my earliest memories is of a very young James (not 7ft tall at the time) sat in the middle of my parents’ living room, entranced by a red, four-wheeled car dancing around the television screen. Of course, I soon came to learn that it was driven by Michael Schumacher, who I believe would go on to become the greatest driver in the history of this fantastic sport. Regardless of whether you agree with that, what is certain is that he was solely responsible for piquing my interest in F1 and kick-starting this lifelong obsession. For that very reason, it would not surprise me if at least one article relating to Schumi is towards the top of my recent posts whenever it is that you find yourself browsing this site.
As was studying at sixth form, I decided to set up this blog/website/platform of meaningless drivel/whatever you want to call it. The main motivator was simply the fact that I wanted to say so much about F1 and offer my two pennies worth of commentary on the sport, but my friends found it about as interesting as being stuck in traffic on a wet Monday. This was just at the dawn of the hybrid era for the sport, with significant regulation changes and driver swaps teasing the beginning of a new era. Very exciting stuff.
Shortly after beginning this website, I started reading Journalism at university, which also involved work placements and other commitments, hence the dramatic drop-off in new content. (Sorry about that, although I cannot imagine I was missed by many.)
Whilst being a less-vocal follower, I remained a follower of F1 nonetheless. The early hybrid years were fantastic, mainly because the central storyline was a relentlessly-competitive rivalry between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Both of whom were exceptional talents with the benefit of a crushingly-dominant car.
However, once Rosberg finally secured the championship he had spent his whole career fighting for, and bowed out of the sport, he left us in a position where one of those two talents had vacated a seat in the dominant car, while the other remained.
I will not sugar-coat it – since then, my enthusiasm for F1 has wained. I still watch every race, and Max Verstappen’s dramatic emergence, the upcoming regulation revisions and career developments of Leclerc, Sainz and Norris means there is plenty of light at the end of the tunnel for us racing fans.
I will continue to use this as a platform to articulate my opinions on the sport when I feel the desire to do so.
This period of dwindling F1 interest did however intersect with a meteoric rise in engrossment in combat sports. Namely Mixed Martial Arts.
I have always been a boxing fan. As with Schumi’s scarlet Ferrari, the championship campaign of Lennox Lewis is all but omnipresent in my childhood memories, and in recent years the UFC has been able to capitalise on some of boxing’s own shortcomings to establish themselves as one of world sports’ powerhouses.
Talents such as Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov may be as dominant on their own platforms as Hamilton currently is. But for me, the key difference is MMA as a sport is still in its infancy, meaning it is so fast-moving that anyone who stands still for just a moment will be left behind.
F1, on the other hand, feels stagnant at the moment, although 2020’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix has shown that if we want to re-inject some excitement and magic, all it takes is for a bit of tyre compound rejigging to upset the status quo.
The art and nuance of fighting in the octagon inspires a similar degree of fascination for 20-something, 7ft James, as Schumacher’s F1 era did for younger, 4ft James.
Combining these two sporting interests on here consequently seems like the natural progression, as ‘Opinionated F1 Guy’ becomes ‘7ft James.’
I am well aware that very few of my readers will share my interest in both of these very different dimensions of the sporting world, so I will separate them both into distinct areas of the website. This will hopefully mean you can find something you might be slightly interested in without having to trawl through everything you could not care less about.
All posts relating to F1 and motor racing will be tagged under the ‘Pit Talk’ umbrella, while my commentary, opinion and prediction pieces for MMA and boxing will be found under ‘Fighting Words.’