If you are a veteran F1 race goer you do not need much advice here. But for the newbies, this is a checklist based on the experience from eight or nine races I have attended so far:
1) Race Ticket – you may get it at the venue, but better buy early and choose your seats – where you watch from makes big difference. Some ticket pouch with a lanyard comes handy, the danger of loosing the precious ticket is smaller and you do not have to digg inside your backpack or pockets all the time.
2) Hotel Reservation – may be a good idea as in most places all the hotels are full for the race weekends. Again, where you stay in relation to the track or to the nearest city center makes a big difference. Decide in advance, if you prefer to stay near the track and save yourself the travelling in the morning, or nearer to the closest city, and save yourself the travelling after the parties in the city.
3) Your favourite team or driver shirts, caps, flags or banners, whatever.
4) Photo camera – small digital cameras will do some magic in catching the general atmosphere, but if you want to take good pictures of the fast moving cars that are not exactly close, you will need some decent SLR…
5) Video camera – you may try to pack it in your bag, but be aware, Bernie owns the rights for all moving pictures from the F1 races and some tracks do not allow video cameras to enter the grandstands.
6) Binoculars – will for sure come handy if you are in a spot with a view of big chunk of the track. Also you may need it to be able to read what is on the big TV screens if they are not exactly in front of you.
7) Sunglasses – you will look cool, perhaps.
8 ) Sunblock – and use it. Even if the skies are not totally blue and the sun is not exactly shining, it does burn people
9) Light raincoat – if your seat is somewhere in the covered area, you may only need it when you walk around the track. But not all the seats are covered. Also, sometime the rain is accompanied by some wind and then even the roof over your head does not help too much. Remember, the moment it starts raining, everybody rushes to buy a raincoat, and everybody gets even more wet waiting in the queue.
10) Ear plugs – the cars do get quite noisy, definitelly a bit more than what you would expect. If you sit in a place with a lots of open space in front you, you may be able to survive without them. But if you have another grandstand right in front of you, the sound bounces around in the area and the noise gets really extreme.
11) Something to drink – but again, be aware, at some tracks, they may confiscate all your outside food and drinks before you enter the track.
12) Not essential but very handy – Kangaroo TV – it comes at a price, but one set per a group of people will do. It will keep you in the picture, you will know what is happening on the track and who is where. Definitelly improves the experience. You can pre-order it on Kangaroo TV website and pick up on the track, or simply pick it up on the track. I used it only once at the last race I went to and I would definitelly recommend it.
13) Backpack – to put all the above in.
14) Cash and / or credit cards – If you realize that you forgot something essential at home, you can pretty much buy all at or around the track. But be prepared for steep prices. Advanced planning saves you some money. Then you have more to spend on the things you actually want to buy.
What you should buy on the track ?
1) As mentioned above, spending some money on Kangaroo TV may be a good idea.
2) Get yourself a copy of the official program. It is a nice souvenir and, if you bump into some driver, you have something they can sign for you.
3) Beer – definitelly makes the race weeked more enjoyable
4) Some souvenirs for friends that did not travel with you !
What free stuff you should get on the track ? – The RedBulletin They publish it every day of the race weekend, fun reading.
Do you have any other suggestions and recommendations for the rookies ?
For some Chinese GP extra, check here.