It is exactly 1 year since I had the immensely good fortune to attend the Italian Grand Prix in Monza in 2015. This was my first ever (& only so far) Formula 1 race & I can say without a doubt that it was the BEST weekend of 2015.
I am a massive Formula 1 fan. I never miss a race & I am really passionate about the technology, drivers & teams. I have an attachment to certain tracks, I feel content in the presence of my favourite presenters & I love a bit of rain to spice up the grid. I have been a devoted fan since 2008 & supported Vettel from his very first race win.
Being a wholehearted Vettel fan has come with its hardships. As a major race winner over the past few years his dominance on the has track created many haters. Formula 1 fans were getting bored of the same old format where Vettel won every race. For a while I thought I was his only supporter as all I seemed to do was defend him to other F1 fans.
In 2015 Vettel made the switch from Red Bull Racing to the Ferrari team & I dutifully moved my allegiances along with him. This was my first ever year as a Ferrari fan & I wasn’t sure whether this flash team steeped in racing history was going to be the right match for me. I cheered Vettel & Ferrari on & still had a respect & soft spot for the Red Bull Racing team I had backed for 6 years.
In September 2015 my boss kindly gifted me 2 tickets to the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. I was so overwhelmed & excited I couldn’t even eat for days! My friend & I got the train to Monza from Switzerland on the Friday night of the race weekend, not believing our luck at getting to go!
On Saturday for Qualifying we were in hospitality at the pit lane exit. This was incredible! I could not believe how close we were to the cars. I was mesmerised by them & couldn’t fathom that the drivers I had been watching for all those years were in the cars & whizzing past my eyes. I was so excited I could barely function & was sure to locate the paramedics in case I needed to be sedated.I think I was the only actual fan in the hospitality section as barely anyone could hold an educated conversation about racing. No one else seemed to be quite as in awe as me, gasping, shaking my head in disbelief & practically drooling over the cars. One of my absolute highlights of the weekend was managing to get on to the pit lane between sessions. My legs nearly stopped working. It was so surreal walking up the pit lane where all these legends & my boy (Vettel) had just been. This is the hub & soul of the race & I couldn’t believe that I was actually there! I can’t post any pictures of me on the pit lane because my smile is just too damn cheesy & euphoric!
It was better than I could have imagined. Before we left the track on Saturday we went to the Ferrari stand for outfits for the next day. We wandered around Monza, had a wonderful meal & had the best evening reflecting on how lucky we were.
Race day was amazing! The atmosphere at the race was incredible. Everyone was in their element, here to have a good time & so excited for the race. We got to the track early, seen some of the drivers arrive & made lots of new friends. All the fans were so chatty & lovely. I was delighted to have actual F1 & Vettel fans to talk to – this isn’t a daily occurrence in my life! We got to our seats for the race & they were actually the best seats in the house – first corner. I couldn’t believe it! Turn one!
We were surrounded by fellow Ferrari fans & the stand was awash of red. It was my first year as a Ferrari fan & I truly felt like I belonged & the team was mine. The stand was electric with excitement & everyone was chatty & so happy to be there. I was starstruck when the race started & really couldn’t believe I was actually there! The cars looked so sleek & powerful zooming past & the noise gave me goosebumps.
We knew we could get on the track & as soon as the race ended we ran through a forest to access the old track. There were already some guys there debating the long drop down to the old track, I catapulted myself over them & landed neatly on the old track. My lovely fun friend did the same & we laughed & laughed as we tried to climb up the old track to access the current track. The track was so steep it was major effort to ascend & it made me appreciate all those vts I see the presenters do in the pre race build up about the old track. We made it to the top of the old track & walked along a stone wall to get to the new track. We were met by security & police as we got near. They were in good spirits, but didn’t offer to help us down the long drop – although by this stage nothing was going to stop us.
Finally we made it on to the track! It was full of fans & we were so happy! I was euphoric again as I admired the tyre marks, the height of the kerbs & the beauty of the turns. Seriously AMAZING. It was like an out of body experience! We made our way to the podium stopping at the grid for the elusive starting line picture.
By the time we got to the podium the ceremony had ended, but we were having too much fun to be disappointed. The track was saturated with fans, all having a great time! We saw a group of Ferrari fans from out stand pushing a home made massive Ferrari car with music blasting from it & we followed them off the track. The car even had a bar compartment in the back. We danced & drank with these guys for at least an hour before we had to leave to catch our train back to Switzerland.
I really had the time of my life that weekend. Everything was amazing & the experience was not wasted on me! I basked in every moment & pinched myself the whole time. I can’t thank my boss enough for the opportunity & time off. Even remembering it my happiness levels are through the roof. What a weekend!