So, to be a Boston Red Sox fan and watch the Yankees lose at Fenway Park is amazing. To watch the Lakers beat the Celtics at Staples Center is memorable. To be in the crowd when Ali dropped Sonny Liston could be the last day of your life. If you combine them together, that’s what happened in Monza, Italy over the weekend.
The Scuderia took the fight to its age-old nemesis, McLaren, on the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, taking pole and slugging it out to take first and third podium spots in front of the Tofusi.
If you didn’t understand what I just said above, you’ve been missing out on what a true world championship fight is all about. So let me explain what all these strange words mean.
You see, believe it or not, auto racing has a proud heritage that has little to do with spending the day watching men drive in a circle, drinking Bud under the Stars and Bars (Confederate flag). Having just come back from the Indianapolis 500, and enjoying time on the starting grid, I can tell you that the Indy 500 is no Monza. Scuderia Ferrari of Italy is the oldest team in Formula One racing, and its nemesis is the second oldest team, McLaren racing of England. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is the oldest and longest original course in Formula One, and was first used in 1922 for the Italian Grand Prix. It’s in Northern Italy, just outside of Milan, and home track to Scuderia Ferrari Racing Team.
Monza is a special track for many reasons, but one cannot speak of Monza and not mention the Tofusi. These are the fanatics that wear Scuderia Ferrari racing red while waving flags, blowing horns and singing songs. They’re the largest group of diehard rabid fans in the world. I had the chance to see them in action, and they’re like English football fans, except they are not hooligans and are in greater numbers. From infants to great grandmothers, they’ll pack a picnic and go out to the racetrack for four days to cheer on their beloved team. Italy unites behind Ferrari. Non-Italian fans from all over the world make a pilgrimage to this Mecca of Formula One to show their love for this team.
When the race starts, the Tofusi are louder than the 20 Formula One race cars on the grid. They remain louder for most of the first lap, when the Tofusi all require oxygen. They’re a deafening sea of undulating fanatic red that causes the faithful to break into tears. The Tofusi will high five each other when on vacations if they spot another wearing team symbols. And when Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso won at Monza, the church bells rang all over Italy, and in the Vatican. At Monza, McLaren driver Jensen Button of England took the lead in the first half of the race, but early on Scuderia Ferrari driver, Philipe Massa of Brazil, took out the car of championship points leader, the evil McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, also of England, to the roar of the Tofusi.
Unlike most American world championships, they actually invite teams from the rest of the world to add legitimacy to the world champion title. This is what makes Formula One so amazing. The events take place all over the planet. The fans are from every country in the world and every language is spoken at an event. The cars are the most advanced in the world, and six years ago a Formula One car produced straight-line speed of 257 mph.
The drivers must earn an FIA Super Racing License to drive these machines, and they’re listed on that license as pilots. The cars are upside down airplanes that have enough down force to be driven upside down. These cars are not your father’s Oldsmobile driven in a circle. It’s breathtaking to watch these pilots battle it out at some of the most beautiful locations in the world. This is not just a sport, it’s a downright religion that brings people of every walk of life together, without riots and fights.
In 2012, Formula One will come back to the United States, and the battle will be in Austin, Texas. A new track is being made just for this purpose and if you want to be a part of history this first race will be the ticket. The United States doesn’t have a Grand Prix Racing team yet, but one is in the works, so we Americans can show the Tofusi what the historic American Gran Prix white is all about. It will take some years until our team can compete with the rest of the world, but it will be only a matter of time. No other country in the world has such a love affair with the automobile, and it should mix well with Formula One.
Thank you, Felipe Massa, for helping your teammate move ahead in the championship hunt. Thank you Fernando Alonso for giving us the win at Monza over McLaren. My prediction for the next race in Singapore, is that the McLaren cars will crash into the Red Bull cars, and Ferrari will have a one-two finish.
David Alsabery bleeds Ferrari and is an all round nice guy (Sanguino Ferrari rosso e l’un tipo piacevole). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.