2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative

I / AM A FAN in Austin

As we arrive stateside in Austin for the United States Grand Prix, we're putting the focus on fandom, recognising your passion for the sport and celebrating your stories.

Aston Martin F1

I / AM A FAN is touching down in Texas.

Throughout the week of the United States Grand Prix, we're shining the spotlight on F1 creators, fans and enthusiasts and bringing you closer to the sport than ever before.

From I / AM member meet-ups and unforgettable experiences, both in the heart of Austin and at the Circuit of The Americas, to competitions, collaborations and social takeovers, we're celebrating the unique ways in which you show your support and recognising your contribution to the F1 story.

Shortly after landing stateside, we spoke to local fans to learn how F1 has left an indelible mark on their lives, brought people together and even transcended generations as parents inspire and share their children's love for the sport.

A shared passion for F1 is what unites us. It is not unique to the fans we spoke to, but their stories are.

Personal. Honest. Raw. This is their fandom. These are their stories.

Aston Martin F1

F1 is our life

"We live it. We breathe it. Whatever the hour, early or late, we watch every session together.

"It's a rollercoaster ride, for sure. It's up and down: one minute you're cheering, the next minute you're feeling down on your luck, and the next minute you're out of your seat again. The engineering aspect of the sport really gets me.

"Historically, we've cheered for the underdog. I've been cheering for this team in various forms and to see Aston Martin F1 Team slowly climb the ranks with incredible results this year – it feels like I'm part of that journey.

“I watch it every week, I read every article, every I / AM email that comes through. It has become a way of life for me and my daughter Moxie.

"My daughter Moxie went to her first F1 race when she was almost one year old – she went to COTA and we've only missed two years of the race coming to the track. When COVID hit, that somehow spurred her interest in racing." – Bryan, 54, Austin

Aston Martin F1

It's a bond between us

"When we speak about F1 to other people, sometimes it's like we're speaking to them in a different language, but we understand each other – it's a bond between us.

"Watching F1 every weekend has inspired me to take up karting – I began with rental karts and since my dad put me in the adult karts, I've become addicted. The only colour I want my kart painted is in British Racing Green.

"My dad is just as passionate as me though – I have videos of him cheering at the top of his lungs after Fernando scored a podium!

"Lance is my favourite driver because you can see his talent, mentality and commitment, and that has played a role in helping Aston Martin F1 Team get to where it is now. Sometimes people count Lance out but I still back him.

"I've never had a team made me feel like I'm part of it like Aston Martin F1 Team does. The fact that Jessica [Hawkins] drove an F1 car only inspired me even more. It was so exciting. I want to make it as a professional racing driver too." – Moxie, 10, Austin

Aston Martin F1

Curiosity turned into obsession

"I've always been a huge car guy from a very early age, but it was my brother who'd wake up at 06:00 and watch F1. I just wanted to enjoy my sleep. But one day, I watched the race with him, and I was asking him all kinds of questions. It was fascinating. Around 2018, that curiosity turned into obsession: I really got invested – began researching everything. That’s how my journey started.

"My mum invited me to an event last year and I got to meet Sebastian Vettel. My smile was so wide, for two hours. I couldn't take off my smile. I got to ask him a question, but Sebastian also asked me loads of things about Texas and the University of Texas, where I was studying. Just to be able to talk to him for a couple of minutes was surreal – it's something that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.

"My mum is one of my biggest inspirations and my biggest support. She's always told me to do what I want to pursue.

"F1 is the only sport that I completely follow now, and I'm also on the Longhorn Racing Team at University of Texas. It's an electric racing team. It's because of my love of Formula One that my interest grew, and now I'm studying mechanical engineering and part of Longhorn Racing.

"I have some priceless merchandise and priceless memories, but F1 has a bigger significance to me. F1 has connected me, my brother, and my mum at a deeper level. I've made so many friends through my passion for F1 and I've been to the race with my friends and family too. It's powerful." – Avinash, 19, Austin

Aston Martin F1

I feel absolutely blessed

"When I was a grad student, I watched the Indy 500 every year, and then we moved to Austin. I've been working for Aston Martin F1 Team's title partner, Cognizant, for the past 10 years and I got invited to a virtual event for the unveiling of the car in 2021. I told Avinash to come and watch and he's totally invested in Aston Martin F1 Team.

"We've been going to the race here at COTA for the past three years – it was the only US race for a while – and it has this old-school US charm to it.

"Aston Martin F1 Team and Cognizant have managed to break down barriers in the sport – most recently with Jessica Hawkins driving the F1 car – and that's provided a lot of direction and inspiration for young female engineers. It's amazing to see both the team and Cognizant take real initiative.

"I'm super proud of Avinash, too. He's been interested in cars and automotive engineering ever since the age of three, and he's never changed that goal – he's stayed focused. To be able to balance his academics with his interest in F1 – and build race cars from scratch – is incredible.

"I moved all the way from India to the United States so my kids could go to high school here. Now I feel absolutely blessed." – Padmini, 55, Austin

Aston Martin F1

It all started when Aston Martin F1 Team contacted my school

"At first, my teacher couldn't believe it: 'There’s no way this is happening'. An F1 team contacting our school in Austin about bringing an F1 car and talking to our students about STEM careers.

"I came for volleyball practice at 07:00 in the morning and my coach said: 'Aston Martin is coming.'

"I was like: 'What do you mean Aston Martin is coming?!'

"I waited another hour until my teacher came to school, and my teacher explained the situation to me and asked if I could show the team around the school. I counted down the days until it was happening, I couldn't wait.

"I got to give my spiel on why F1 was so cool, why we loved it. We got to look at the car up close, and the F1 fans came out of their shells at school: it created a community of F1 fans at my school. We still talk together about it to this day.

"My love for F1 comes from the engineering behind it, how small margins separate the cars and drivers. It's usually a second that separates first from last over a lap – that's crazy – you just snap your fingers, and that’s it.

"The ingenuity and engineering at Aston Martin F1 Team inspire me. There's a lot of grit in this team, a lot of determination, and that's also inspiring: to see everyone work through the struggles and celebrate the successes. Seeing that raw emotion, seeing how much it means to them, I feel I can connect with the team on a personal level.

"When you support Aston Martin F1 Team, you're more than a fan. You're part of the team and the journey. You feel connected to a community that shares your passion. You feel like you belong.

"I haven't seen any other F1 team do what Aston Martin is doing with I / AM – creating a community and a platform for fans to express their fandom. Fans from a wide variety of backgrounds share their passion and cheer the team on from around the world.

"Ever since Aston Martin F1 Team visited my school, I've wanted a career in motorsport. It was a turning point in my life when the team visited my school, supported us with STEM learning and inspired me to pursue my ambition of working in STEM and becoming a motorsport engineer.

"I'm proud to wear my Aston Martin F1 Team shirt and cap every Friday, Saturday and Sunday." – Ali, 19, Austin

Aston Martin F1

When life is difficult, I think about motorsport

"In 2016 I was taking the SATs in high school and Taylor Swift was playing at COTA. I took my test in the morning and we arrived for Qualifying, then the Taylor Swift concert. I was hooked.

"Last year, we came down for Qualifying once again and saw the Ed Sheeran concert after the day's action. I took a selfie in front of a Sebastian Vettel poster and began looking out for him and Lance on track. That's when my love for Aston Martin F1 Team really began.

"I'm a big ice hockey fan and I saw that Lance is from Montréal – they've got the Canadiens NHL team there – so now I love Lance Stroll. I've been following him since 2017.

"After watching my first F1 session in 2016, I was inspired: I was looking for a way to get into the industry, so I began flag marshalling for MotoGP and Moto America.

"This year, I'll be a marshal at the United States Grand Prix.

"The track is my happy place. When life is difficult, I think about motorsport. Being on track I don't have to worry about work or bills. It doesn’t get any better than that.

"If I'm not at the track, I try to watch races with my mum. F1 is something we bond over – it feels like a special thing we can share our love for." – Layla, 24, Austin

Aston Martin F1

It makes your spine tingle

"My family loves motorsport. My dad used to drag race his motorcycle and my husband and I were big NASCAR fans – we followed NASCAR and watched the Indy 500 when we lived in Indianapolis, so my daughter Layla has always been around motorsport. Now we live near COTA, and we have been lucky enough to see F1 Qualifying a couple of times.

"It's so exciting when the light goes green. The engines roar as they climb up the hill at COTA – it makes your spine tingle – and you just hope everyone makes it through the first turn. It's thrilling.

"I just want my daughter to be happy and do her thing, and I'm so proud that she volunteers as a marshal. We've gone to watch her wave the flag at the track and it's helped me and her dad get more involved in F1 as a result.

"I read Team Principal Mike Krack's regular emails to I / AM members and his 'Mike on…' column to see how the team reacted to the last race and what the team's plans are for the next round – and if I do miss a race, my daughter gives me the highlights!

"I'm an Alonso fan. I wear my Aston Martin F1 T-shirt a lot – especially if it's a race weekend. My co-workers will ask what it means and I get to tell them about Aston Martin and F1. It helps to start a conversation with people who don't necessarily follow the sport, and perhaps get them into the sport too." – Belinda, 56, Calvert

Aston Martin F1

I feel like I belong

"F1 has taken over my life – and I'm OK with that, and everyone in my life is too. It's rad. Everyone has their own little thing and this is mine.

"F1 excites me because of the driving skill. The drivers rarely make contact. They react so fast to everything on track and try to predict what moves their rivals are going to make.

"My love for F1 started when I was making content on TikTok, where there's just so much opportunity to engage with people as creative and passionate as you. There are so many fun communities on there – including F1.

"Now, I wake up at 08:00 to watch the races with my cat while I chat with my friends online. My boyfriend likes a lie-in, but he's started watching F1 with me when the time zone lines up.

"My support for AMF1 Team started with Seb. In 2021, I met Seb as he was leaving the track, and I was wearing a T-shirt with his face on it. I didn't expect it, he didn't expect it, but he signed my shirt. I was so embarrassed at the time. I think I was spewing compliments – I have no idea what was going on in my mind.

"The next day, he was sitting in the passenger seat of a car leaving the track. The car stopped and Seb rolled his window down and beckoned me over, asking me if I had the photo of us from the day before. He signed the photo, and I asked him: 'Hey, can you draw me a tattoo?'

"He signed the photograph and drew a smiley face and a tree. I was shaking, I couldn't believe it. Hopefully he still remembers that awkward moment where some awkward girl from Austin, Texas was wearing a photo of his face on a shirt.

"I'll get that tattoo inked before next year's race.

"AMF1 Team feels like home to me now – this is my family.

"I'm a film student and last year I took a class called Women in Sports Media. I did a video essay on Jessica Hawkins – I like what AMF1 Team has done with her and for her. It’s important to highlight women's voices.

"I also support Fernando because my family comes from Mexico and Spain, so it feels like I'm being represented in another way.

"I'd love to see more fans get into F1: never be afraid to dip your toe in. Everyone starts somewhere and no one's going to be an expert coming into this sport. I was nervous finding a community here but with TikTok and I / AM – which is crazy, because no F1 team has ever reached out to me like this to tell my story – I feel like I belong.” – Kaitlyn, 21, Austin

Aston Martin F1

I'm proud to be a fan of this team

"As a kid growing up in Texas, there was a lot of hype around NASCAR and Jimmie Johnson. I was into that and rallying – I remember Sébastian Loeb winning a lot. The first time I heard about F1 was in 2011; there was a huge billboard near my house promoting it, so I started watching and got really, really hooked. Then F1 came to Austin, and I fell in love with the sport.

"Last year, I went to an event hosted by Aston Martin and met four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Jessica Hawkins. Both signed my shirt and I still have that piece of memorabilia today.

"When Jessica drove the F1 car at the Hungaroring, I think it was a great step in the right direction for the sport.

"As for Fernando joining the team this year, I was pinching myself when it was announced. I couldn't believe it. There were so many emotions swirling around – I've been a fan of his for years. His dedication is unbelievable and it inspires me to keep pushing. His podiums with AMF1 Team have been magical and it shows that the team has a lot of potential.

"The engineering and innovation of F1 draw me in, while it's incredible to watch the drivers do what they do with so much confidence. Their mentality and competitiveness are inspirational – I'm currently training to be a doctor in medical school.

"I've always loved Aston Martin cars from the James Bond movies. The One-77 sticks out – it's a really unique car – and when I learned Aston Martin was coming to F1 I was ecstatic.

"The I / AM community the team has built is fantastic. I feel close and connected to the team and so much of the team's social media content is dedicated to the fans. I'm proud to be an AMF1 Team fan." – Maher, 22, Houston

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