Welcome to the Sidepodcast Guide to Formula 1.
We’ve covered pretty much everything you need to know to get you started watching Formula 1. For the last topic of the series, I think we should talk about what to do if you’re going to splash out and attend a race in person.
You need to decide which race you want to go to. If there’s one in your country, then that’s probably a good place to start. But you could go abroad to make it into more of a holiday. From the heat of Malaysia and Bahrain, to the more temperate European races, there’s plenty of choice. It’s a personal dream of mine to go to the Monaco GP, but time, money, and well, money are limiting factors.
A quick search of the web provides plenty of companies that do coach tours, direct flights, or package deals. You can usually find someone who will get you into the race and also put you up in a nice hotel somewhere for a semi-reasonable price. Alternatively you can get your tickets direct from the circuit and make your own plans. It really depends what you want out of your visit.
When buying your tickets, you usually have to decide which type of seat you want. The most basic pass is general admission - one that lets you in and lets you sit on the grass by the side of the track. There may or may not be a good view, and you’ll probably get some good photos through a chain-link fence. As the ticket prices rise, the seats get better. You get grandstand seats, where you actually have a chair to sit in and are raised for a better view. You get covered grandstand seats, so that any inclement weather won’t bother you. Then you have things like corporate boxes, but I think they’re probably beyond the scope of Sidepodcast.
When you get inside, you need to get a programme. There really isn’t a question mark over that – a programme is a necessity, but I wouldn't recommend the official programmes. Very expensive, and not high quality. You can buy whatever merchandise you feel is necessary, but if you’re already a fan of a particular team, you may be wearing their shirts to the race.
There are big screens littered around the tracks, so that when the cars aren’t flying under your nose, you can see just what it is they’re getting up to. You can also rent a small screen from Kangaroo TV – a handheld media device with pretty much anything you need to know at the touch of a button.
When the cars are in view, snap as many pictures as you can, cheer as loud as you can – and think about investing in some ear plugs. Those cars are loud, and when there are 20 or more of them screaming round a corner, you might need some relief.
Going to a race is never going to be the same as watching it at home. You don’t get the luxury of your arm-chair, of the nearby bathroom, of the commentators telling you every single thing you may have missed. What you have got is the atmosphere, the feeling of connection and closeness that can only come from actually being there.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this beginner’s guide, and make sure you let us know your thoughts of anything Formula 1, both on and off track.
Theme music: Cedar Falls, Car Crash.
All content in the series Guide to Formula 1
Filed under Mini Series
Previous post Button to Red Bull Racing?
Next post Moving on
365 F1 stories