Charaf-Eddin Ait-Tales is the kind of Formula One fan who knows most of the turns by heart, and is so into it that he’ll shut down his physio practice just to catch the press conferences. He’s been a fan his whole life, even after he went blind at the age of 20. F1 surprised him with a ride-along in their two-seater at the Spanish Grand Prix, and...is someone cutting onions in here?
Formula One’s videos don’t usually play when embedded, so you’ll have to click through here to watch it, but it’s worth it.
Charaf is clearly our kind of fan. It doesn’t matter that he can’t see now—he’s been keeping up with his favorite motorsport anyway. In fact, it’s one of the things that takes his mind off of it all.
“When I am watching Formula One, I completely forget that I’m blind because I knew all the corners before,” Charaf told F1. “Like I can see, you know?”
He’s also a huge fan of Michael Schumacher, who inspired Charaf to keep fighting and work to come back stronger, even as Charaf was starting to lose his sight.
What’s especially impressive is Charaf’s knowledge of the track despite losing his ability to see it all as we have. The cars make all kinds of different sounds that most of us take for granted. When he got his two-seater ride, he screams out that he knows where he is anyway and gets as wide-eyed as anyone would in that situation. Incredible.
I’m not sure who’s more deserving of the Hoon of the Day award here—the folks at F1 who gave Charaf the ride or Charaf himself, who is perhaps the most dedicated fan I’ve seen in ages.