Why am I a fan of Formala One, versus NASCAR, Indy, or any of the other, more American series? Two words: Gilles Villeneuve.
This duel for second place at the 1979 French Grand Prix, with Villeneuve in the immortal #27 Ferrari and the underappreciated Rene Arnoux in the first of the turbocharged Renaults, made me a fan for life.
And, the saddest of many sad days in the F1 circus - the day Gilles Villenueve died in practice at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix.
He was going to win his first championship that year - the Ferrari was the class of the field. His teammate, Didier Pironi, a MUCH less talented driver, nearly won the championship until he fell vicitm to a very similar accident later in the season.