The poor child’s perspective on letting go of F1

Picture for an article titled Miami Grand Prix: A Poor Kid’s Perspective on Formula 1’s Indulgence

Photography: Alex Bierens de Haan (Getty Images)

I have this joke that I grew up white trash. It’s not true, but it’s not a lie. I experienced many privileges, but we also could not afford daily school lunches, family vacations, new cars, or, for a long time, a place to live. Existence was an exercise in what I called slapdashery, the art of making something a job that will get you out – like making a three-day Hamburger Helper box for three people, or putting on makeup in the dark on a school bus because you slept in a car, or using a friend’s pool party as an excuse to wash your hair more of once a week. I have come a long way since then, but from time to time I become very uncomfortably aware of my upbringing – and Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix last weekend he expressed a lot of complex emotions in full force.

Sounds stupid right now have some sort of existential crisis around F1 exclusivity, after years of monitoring and reporting on the sport. The Miami GP wasn’t the first time I’ve participated in a race for someone’s coin through a journalistic trip. This was not the first time I worked at the F1 media center. It wasn’t the first time I hadn’t been able to recognize a celebrity. It wasn’t even the first time I’ve been honored with hotels and dinners far more posh than anything I’d ever spend money on myself.

But for some reason, this race brought me. I was invited as a guest of Red Bull – the culture department, not the racing department – to taste the nightlife off the track a bit, so technically it was less of a journalistic trip to the race than a trip to the city server services the race, and despite the fact that I was still up early working on the racetrack every day, there was something about the whole “going out to a nice party” thing that attracted me.

I have already written about this on Jalopnik, but I firmly believe in it your can go to the F1 race with a budget – you just need to choose the right race and know how to prepare accordingly. I spent all the money I saved in high school – $ 2,500 – on one big summer of watching races, where I traveled from Montreal to Austria to England for both F1 and Formula E, and still managed to have the money left over for two weeks in Paris.

It wasn’t glamorous. I bought my tickets to the Canadian Grand Prix during a Black Friday sale, where tickets were cheap from $ 50 for the entire weekend. Or I stayed with 12 peopleroom hostels or camped on the trail. I would do my best to get food and alcohol through the door to avoid spending money on too high food prices for the trails. No, it was never true cheapbut he always felt attainable.

Miami was the first time I felt different. I don’t know if it was $ 600 tickets for GA, $ 18 margaritas, $ 150 parking passes, a Corvette I had for reporters, $ 700 hotels a night, a celebrity padock or the fact that I didn’t pay for it myself my own pocket which suddenly touched many of my long-forgotten insecurities, but I suddenly became terribly aware of myself, my presentation, my upbringing and the fact that I could not fully connect with any of these people. No matter how well I dressed for the day, I still wore a set from Target and did my awful manicure at Starbucks while waiting for my Airbnb to be available. Even with the laptop in my bag, all I had in my possession was still only a fraction of the price of someone else’s purse or someone else’s left shoes. I felt like I was in high school again, trying to make myself as unobtrusive as possible so that maybe no one would notice that I could only afford one hooded T-shirt and jeans every year.

I’ve been very proud of the way I’ve grown as a person since I finished high school, and it rarely happens that I suddenly feel messy; even if I don’t look part, I know that I have earned my right to be there, that the very essence as a person will give me a unique perspective of what I cover and is therefore valuable.

But as the weekend wore on, I struggled more and more. People would ask if I’ve seen a certain celebrity in paddock, but I didn’t really grow up with pop culture; movies and magazines cost money, and I wasn’t exactly allowed to watch television. I never knew who the heartthrob of Growing Up Week was, nor did I understand why an athlete is considered an icon. I didn’t have reliable internet access until I started high school in an era where your ability to be online dictated your ability to maintain real-life friendships. I didn’t have those popular frameworks of reference and it’s something that will keep me from establishing basic relationships with people forever. It also prevented me from ever feeling like I deserved the luxury of just sitting there To watch something to enjoy. It hurt to grow up, and it hurt in Miami again.

It’s one of those things that’s so hard to articulate. From an extremely practical and logical perspective, my life would not benefit from, say, watching Office how he debuted on TV. But when you are denied access to a large cultural foundation stone because you simply cannot afford it, you quickly realize how deeply that stone affects the fabric of everyday life. When you are pretty much denied access all cultural cornerstone, you may have grown up on another planet.

I was desperately aware of the fact that my whole feeling was a bit silly. I wasn’t at the Grand Prix as a fashion statement or as a gossip blogger. I was there as a journalist and a longtime racing fan who worked his ass to be where he is at 25 years old. But I forgot how deeply those financial insecurities from childhood were oppressed at the core of my being. I was so used to being in my element on the racetrack that it was embarrassing to feel like I didn’t belong. I felt that way for a long time. I spent a long time weaning myself off those feelings. And there they returned with revenge.

As F1 continues to grow in America and sport continues to add high-profile events like Miami and Las Vegas – and as I continue to cover that growth – I’m sure those feelings will continue to flourish. I’m sure I’ll still feel inappropriate. But after a long weekend of talking about the bathroom mirror, I’m ready for the challenge and I know my coverage will be even better for it.

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