Sunday, May 13, 2012

My love of Formula 1 and my F1 adventures

This is my first petrolhead post on this blog, I thought I'd offer up something a little different to all the polish, and tell you a bit about the sport I've loved since 1986 from when I was a kid.

I'm afraid I haven't got access to my old F1 photos so it's text only post, so feel free to skip this one if you like. :-)

This year is the first year since 2006 that I haven't been able to find the money to go to the British Grand Prix, I try to go every year as it's my only holiday each year, it's at least 4 days of camping with friends while being surrounded by people from around the world, all there to enjoy seeing fast cars flying around one of the fastest racetracks in the world.

I know motorsport isn't to everyones tastes, but I grew up around cars, so it's in my blood, I became a fan of F1 in 1986 when Nigal Mansell was driving , I was upstairs in  my bedroom and I could hear my Dad screaming "Go Nige, Go!", I wondered what was going on, and found my Dad watching the TV, I sat down beside him and that was that, I not missed many races since, and I'm a much bigger fan than my Dad was.

What I love about about F1 is how complex it is, there are so many layers and as a fan I have a lot of fun peeling back the layers to see what really goes on in the sport. It's a strange sport, sometimes the winner will be the man who has the most skill on the track, but other winners might only win because they have the fastest car and team behind them. There is a lot to learn about F1, but you can still enjoy it even if you don't know all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes.

My first experience of F1 was a testing day at Silverstone, the testing days used to be great, you could go in for free and sit and watch the cars going past as they tried new parts, I found out that you could buy a hospitality ticket, and that got you into the paddock, it was a dream come true  to be there, and I had so much fun meeting drivers and getting their autographs. After getting a few autographs I got the bug and love trying to met the drivers and get my book and programs signed.

The first time I did hospitality was with my Dad for a tyre test, we were let in the paddock after lunch, and we were having a great time seeing all the trucks and team members, then we were by the entrance to the Renault (now Lotus) garage, we saw a girl in team uniform guiding a group of people into the garage, me and my Dad, being a little cheeky followed them in as if we were meant to be there! Oh my goodness, it was amazing! We didn't get stopped and no-one asked if we should be there, we were left standing about 3 metres away from the car as they started it up and it drove away, the sound was amazing and I'll never forget it, it kinda screamed away. I had the biggest grin on my face for the rest of the day after that as I never thought I'd ever get that close to a F1 car.

Since then I've manged to make friends with a guy who worked for one of the teams and he'd let me in the paddock for a little bit each year, I think he does  it just to see someone get extra excited, the best time was when he was able to leave me in there for over a hour and I had to avoid the security guards as I didn't have a pass! I ended up getting heat stroke while waiting to get Michael Schumachers autograph, I really thought I was going to pass out, but I manged to keep standing until Schumi came out, it was the first time I'd met him and I was really pleased, although as soon as I got his autograph I headed back to my campsite to get better.

I've met some lovely people through F1, fans and members alike, friends have let me share their campsite and food when I've been skint, and I have even been given guided tours of the Virgin (now Marussia) and Cosworth factorys, just by chatting to people on twitter, I didn't even know they were invloved in the team which made it even cooler when they said do you want a tour?

I also love being at Silverstone, there's fans there from a round the world, and everyone gets along really well, people share sweets in the grandstands and nomatter who you support other fans are always willing to talk to you, we're all there for the sport, so when a german driver wins, or an aussie, everyone in the whole place stands up and cheers for them, it's alovely place to be.

Anyway, that's enough talking about F1, no doubt I'll have another petrolhead post in the future when I have my next adventure, although I don't know if I'll get to have any, as I can't afford to go to the Grand Prix this year. :-(

Cheerio for now,

Heather. :-)

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