Sunday 5 October 2008

How I became an F1 fan overnight, thanks to a dangling hose

All it takes is that one great moment.

That was how The Matrix became my favourite film.

When the camera pulled back from the close-up of a single human foetus to the insane wide shot of an "endless" field of foetuses being harvested by machines, I thought to myself: "My god, this is the most awesomest movie in the world!"

I experienced a similar epiphany watching my first F1 race on TV last Sunday night. When Felipe Massa drove out of the Ferrari pitstop with the fuel hose still attached his car, ejaculating petrol and pulling a mechanic forcefully to the ground, I thought to myself: "My god, this is the most awesomest sport in the world!"

Admittedly, before that, I was one of many Singaporeans nonplussed by the hype surrounding the "rich man's sport" coming to our little dot, where we pride ourselves in our poor man's version of a football league, also known as the S-League.

Why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars just to watch a bunch of cars go round and round? For that kind of money, I would also expect a full body massage from one of the SingTel Grid Girls.

So when I turned on the TV to watch the Singapore Grand Prix, it was more out of patriotic duty than any actual interest in the motor sport. Also I didn't want to miss it in case someone crashed.

And there were indeed a couple of crashes in Sunday's race, but they were hardly movie-worthy. What, no giant fireball? Michael Bay would've been ashamed.

Then came the Ferrari pitstop farrago of foul-ups.

After being given the premature green light, Massa drove to the end of the pit lane, dragging the flaccid fuel hose with him, before stopping and waiting impotently for his pit crew to run up and help him.

And then they couldn't detach the hose from the car!

I was literally squealing with unadulterated delight.

This was Ferrari, last year's winning team and a brand-name multi-million dollar operation with Massa, who had been leading the race for 16 laps, not some no-name loser from Force India.

And here they were, reenacting a scene from Mr Bean Joins F1 Pit Crew.

Forget drama. I want to nominate the Singapore GP for best TV comedy. If only we had gotten Tina Fey to make a guest appearance, we would be a shoo-in for next year's Emmys.

Massa eventually finished the race - sans fuel hose - in unlucky 13th place. By then, I was already a Formula One convert.

I can't wait for next year. I hope it rains. Imagine the comic possibilities then!

- Publish in The New Paper, 5 October 2008