There are so many drivers and teams in Formula 1; it makes it a hard choice to choose between them. To a purist, it will definitely sound odd when he or she hears that a person is a fan of a driver who has not been F1 world champion or might never become. This makes things not so simple in the fan world, leading to many arguments and tiffs; but little do people realize that it is what brings about enjoyment in the sport for fans.
If all supporters were there to support just one driver or one select club of drivers, then the sport would no longer be a fun sport and then there would be not much of endless discussions, and perhaps no more sport due to the fact that with only few drivers being supported, there would be only those few drivers required to race, but with so few competitive drivers racing, and with very little overtaking these days, there would be very less to enjoy about the sport and one would see people’s patience dwindling below what it already is. This though might seem a lame reason for as to why a person tends to support some other driver.
To answer this, one might have to go to the past and understand in total how the human psychology developed. This is a topic which would require much understanding and discussion, and what will be mentioned here on, might be just the tip of the iceberg, so as to speak. There are numerous reasons as to why people tend to go for different drivers, but in the end it burns down to one simple fact, which is that all humans are unique in their own way, and the same applies to their likes and dislikes. The same reasons apply for all sports, all entertainment and for everything in life, but here I will stick to F1.
There is a general tendency for a racing enthusiast to stick behind a driver who is of their nationality and who he/she has followed right from the beginning of the driver’s fledgling motorsport career. This perhaps becomes the easiest choice in most cases. It especially holds true in the case of countries who have not had a driver in F1 at least for some time, so when a new driver comes from that country, one from the outside can see a general overwhelming support for that driver coming from his own country. This not only brings fans for an unexpected driver (as he might be slow in the end), but then adds to an increase in the F1 fan base.
The above fact is not lost out on the team owners, and these teams try to capitalize on this fact and hence, through demonstrations and sponsorship deals, increase the general f1 knowledge among the new masses, and hence undeniably increase the support for that F1 driver. This approach has its side-effects too, one being if this driver’s teammate ends up achieving quite better results, then these new less knowledgeable and curious supporters begin to like the teammate and the team too. Support slowly shift as the masses become more knowledgeable and it might tend towards those drivers which are getting wins and podiums.
Things are unfortunately not as simple as mentioned in above paragraph. The question remains as to why even the knowledgeable fan supports the less known drivers. This comes down to psychology. A person might like to see certain character from their favorite driver, and they might not necessarily find it in the top driver. This is perhaps the best reason as to why we have such variance in driver supporters.
At the end when one assesses the situation, it becomes an infinite loop with many things needed to be taken into consideration, such as sport visibility, profits, knowledge, character and so on. Now, one can come back to what was said at the start of the article, and one slowly gets to realize that there are too many variables which do affect F1 mania. So at the end, only a rhetorical question remains- would one like a world with fans just supporting the Alonsos, Hamiltons and Vettels, or would it be better as it is?