I was an avid F1 watcher in the mid-to-late 80's, which is why Nigel Mansell is my all time favourite driver. I'm also a big fan of Mark Webber, and of the Minardi team which brought him to the sport. I love it when people overcome seemingly impossible odds to achieve their goals - as you'll see if you ever read my novels.
I drifted away from the sport once I started full time work, since the races are televised after 11pm on Sunday nights in Western Australia, which is far too late when you have to be up at seven the next day.
Update: As of 2009 Channel Ten began showing races live, which is pure heaven for Aussie Fans. They even show the qualifying sessions, which was unheard of before this year. Now all we need is the BBC Friday & Saturday practice and life will be complete.
Update 2: Mark Webber just won his first ever F1 race. Celebrations galore!
These days I usually watch the race 'live' via the stats & commentary page on f1.com and record the actual telecast using the tuner card in my PC.
For non-f1 folk, this 'sport' represents the pinnacle of engineering. Teams spend vast quantities of money striving to improve lap times by the merest fraction of a second. and year after year the cars stick better, go faster and last longer. Every now and then the regulations are changed to slow them down (smaller engine capacity, less downforce, narrower tyres) and within 2 or 3 races the speeds are back up to normal again.
As an indicator of the pace of change, during 2004 the Minardi team were the back markers, lacking the budget to run at the front. Based on their lap times, their 'slow' 2004 cars would have won every race against 2003 opposition.
Much is written about the waste in F1, but innovations on race cars have been making their way into road cars for years. Aerodynamics, tyres, structural materials, safety devices - we have a lot to thank Formula One for.
The biggest problem with Formula One, in my opinion, is the lack of overtaking. A fast-moving car leaves disturbed air in its wake, and because the following car needs airflow to stick to the road they end up 0.5 seconds apart for lap after lap. And if the chasing driver gets any closer, he'll fail to take the next corner and will usually be out of the race. Recently, the official body has restricted car aerodynamics even further than usual, but cars are just as sensitive to disturbed air. One answer would be to ban all aerodynamic surfaces - but we'll never see that, because they're ready-made billboards for sponsors.