Debate: Do you collect autographs?

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Rumours suggest Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have upset their respective fan bases by not giving them enough face time.

Now, I’m all in favour of drivers spending more time meeting their fans who, after all, have often paid substantial amounts to get to races in the first place. Racers in American series like Champ Car and Indy Racing spend a lot more time meeting and greeting the fans.

But while I can sympathise with the fans I can honestly say that I have no idea what the attraction is in pestering racing drivers (or anyone that matter) for autographs.

For a big fan of the likes of Alonso or Raikkonen it must be a thrill to get a chance to meet your hero, ask them a question, express your support and so on.

But the majority of fans I’ve seen meet a race driver just thrust an autograph book in front of them and perhaps mumble a few words of thanks at most.

What’s the point of that? All you’re left with is a piece of paper that proves you bothered Felipe Massa or whoever for a few seconds. I’m not saying it’s wrong – I’m saying I don’t get it.

Do you collect autographs? If so, whose have you got?

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Debate: Do you collect autographs?”

  1. I wouldn’t describe myself as an autograph collector, but I do have three autographs; Takuma Sato, Matt Neal and Eddie Jordan (all from Autosport 2007). I see them as mementos of a lovely day out.

    What made it really nice was that I got the opportunity to briefly say something to each of the people whose autographs I received; to thank Takuma for a good speech at the Autosport and for being such a good rival to the Spyker team I support, to congratulate Matt on winning the BTCC and thank Eddie Jordan for setting up my favourite F1 team.

    I can see the attraction of more dedicated autograph-hunting – it’s a chance for average supporters to inhabit the same world as the people they admire, even if it is only for three seconds and a considerable irritant to the autographer if it’s a badly-timed request.

    However, it probably would be easier to satisfy demand for autographs in F1 if the personalities there were more available. But it’s a difficult line to draw because some people will never be satisfied and F1 people do have jobs to do.

    1. Autograph collecting has been around for centuries. Autographs are worth alot of money and can command tens of thousands of dollars a good example is the now deceased Senna RIP. I collect and sell autographs and have made a good living out of it. I completely understand why celebrities avoid the their fans as they are hounded for autographs that are then sold on eBay

      1. I have some autographs I’d like to sell; please contact me if you are interested. My father was a pilot for an engine building firm in the 60s, and in 1967, he took me around the pits and garage, and I got autographs from Peter Gregg, Jochen Rindt, Swede Savage, Jim Clark, Peter DePaolo, and others.

  2. I’ve always collected autographs right from the first race meeting i’ve been to. It’s a good reason to approach the drivers, who you may not otherwise talk to, and provided the moment is right then most are usually very friendly and happy to sign.

    It is a good souvenir of the day out or meeting, and my autograph books from when i was much younger are now great to flick through, just as a reminder of who I met and when

  3. Autograph seekers, eh? I drove in support races during the US and Canadian GPs back in the 1970s. I was a complete nobody walking about in a driving suit and a ‘DRIVER’ armband, you become a ‘god’ to the unknowing, Watkins Glen 1973 some autograph seeker approached me with his program and asked for an autograph, I gladly signed Roy J. #38 and handed back the book. He looked at me agast…..”There is no #38″ he exclaimed, (not in the F1 race) “there is now” I replied and I have been #38 ever since!
    Autograph seekers, I love ’em!

  4. I’m not an autograph collector either, but I do keep around a brochure from about 11-12 years ago when Comdex Las Vegas was still a big deal in the tech industry. I was working our booth when two young guys came up checking out my product line (ThinkPad notebooks). No one else recgonized them but me – 2 guys with the intials JV – Jacques Villenuve & Jimmy Vassar. We had a quick little chat – at the end, as a rememberance of a pleasant conversation, I asked them to each sign their names on a single brochure.

    Fast forward to today – the company I work for is paying major dollars to sponsor Sir Frank’s team. We have to justify every marketing dollar we spend, so you better believe we expect team personnel – especially the drivers – to spend time with the fans. I can think of many far harder ways to earn your money than signing your name on something. I hope the drivers remember that at the end of the day it’s still ultimately the fans that enables them to get huge sums of money for driving a race car.

  5. I’m not a collector, but I have followed F1 since I was 9 years old (1967). I went to the 1968 and 1970 Mexican Grands Prix. I still follow it today, but it is nothing like it was in the 60’s and early 70’s. I had pit passes (with my dad, who was an executive at Ford) to the Mexican Grands Prix and it is probably the most memorable time of my childhood. I was able to talk to EVERY driver on the weekend of the 1970 event, with the exception of John Surtees (he was in a foul mood and not talking to many outside his team due to his frustration with the under performing TS7 car). And yes, I have the center spread of the programme signed by ALL of them (minus Surtees, of course). I found all the drivers to be rather approachable and nice for the most part and it was a rather casual enviroment back in the garage area on Friday and Saturday. They all seemed like family and talked to each other all the time. Far cry to what you see nowadays in F1. I really miss those seemingly simple days of F1 without all the commercialism, etc…

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