Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Knocking on Renault's door - Getting fan access to the Enstone F1 factory

Published by Mr. C

Over the years, Formula 1 has built itself a reputation for being inaccessible to those not lucky enough to be directly involved in its inner workings. Recently however, a number of people on the inside have started coming around to the idea that being more communicative and bringing the sport closer to its fans, could be beneficial for everybody.

The Renault F1 team are aiming to do exactly those things this summer, by flinging open their factory doors and offering motor sport followers several opportunities to get closer to the F1 action.

Enstone race days

You'll not find one of those in Jamie Oliver's restaurant.
Credit: Renault F1

In what I'm hoping will become a regular occurrence, next weekend Renault are offering fans the chance to enjoy the Hungarian Grand Prix, from their UK headquarters in Enstone. The team has dubbed the event a five-star hospitality experience, and while they may not be the first to host such an event, they are aiming to make the day something special and something to remember.

It is a whole day affair, beginning at 9:30am and finishing sometime after 3pm. The full itinerary includes a continental breakfast, a review of Saturday's qualifying, a chance to test one of the teams F1 simulator games and several live link ups with the paddock in Hungary. On top of that, there will be a pit stop challenge and a visit to the Heritage and Communications Centre, before settling in to watch the race in a state-of-the-art auditorium.

That sounds like my kind of day out! Did I mention there's also a post-race debrief with the team?

All of the above plus more comes with a pretty hefty price tag though, setting potential punters back an eye-watering £175 (+VAT) per person. I'm guessing the price might be a little steep for many people reading Sidepodcast, but this package is primarily aimed at corporate entertaining or employee incentives schemes.

In the past I've been sent on all sorts of ridiculous "team building" days around various parts of the country, but nobody ever offered me a chance to watch an F1 race live inside an F1 team's factory. If you have a boss (or are a boss) who's short of a few staffing motivational ideas, a nod in the direction of an Enstone Race Day may not be a bad idea. For starters it's cheaper than your average "activity day" and your employees are less likely to get shot at by an arrow (long story).

If you're interested in spending a day with Renault, you'll find more details on their site. I'm assuming places are limited, so start dropping those hints today. I would in fact be doing the same, had the boys and girls from Renault not offered Christine and I the chance to sample the event first hand. We will of course report back (and maybe even live) for anyone who cannot make the opening event.

Enstone Race Day Details

  • Date: 1 August
  • Location: Enstone, Oxfordshire
  • Price: £175 (+VAT) per person

The factory tour

The welcoming glow of a Formula 1 factory entrance.
Credit: Renault F1

If watching the race on a very big screen isn't your thing, a trip around a factory during the summer break might just be. Building on the success of last year's single open day, the Renault team will open it's doors for three days this coming August.

In support of National Motorsport Week, the open days offer a factory tour, including a look around the Communications and Heritage centre, the recently opened Computational Aerodynamic Research Centre and various other activities throughout the day.

The dates of opening are 11 - 13 August and tickets cost a more affordable £60 per adult or £80 for a family ticket (x2 adult, x2 children). Again tickets are limited, and but this time can be purchased directly from the Motorsport Industry Association, with 70% of the ticket price going to that organisation. As ever, more information can be found on Renault's website.

The Factory Tour Details

  • Dates: 11 - 13 August
  • Location: Enstone, Oxfordshire
  • Price: £60 per adult / £80 family ticket

It's a rare thing for a Formula 1 team to open it's doors in this way, I'm hoping both ventures are successful and teams continue to see value in reaching out to fans. Renault came in for a lot of criticism for events that happened last season and 2010 has very much been about new people with new ideas and to an extent, new ideals. We've always been keen to see a more open F1 and here are two great concepts that on paper at least, deserve to succeed.

If you are planning to go to any of the above, do let us know in the comments. Let us know also if you think the team should be doing anything extra or be more diverse in its offerings. Under new management, on track the team have been over-delivering in terms of results and points, but what about off the track?