Going to Istanbul – and everywhere else

Red Bull, Istanbul, 2007, 470150

The Istanbul Park circuit is the first of this year’s Grand prix venues I’ve visited myself.

To cut a long story short: it was hot, turn eight is mega, and do not attempt to make the journey from Greece by train. Seriously, that almost cost me a girlfriend (you can read the full account here).

New visitors to F1 Fanatic may not yet have found the Going to a Grand Prix section of the website where you can share your experiences of visiting Formula 1 tracks. If you’re planning a trip to an F1 Grand Prix this year you’ll find information about most of the tracks on the F1 calendar. Here are a few tips readers have sent in:

Do not camp at the circuit campsites unless you like not washing for three days and listening to German drinking songs at 4am.

Miranda on the Hockenheimring, Germany

I had the pleasure of actually racing on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve during the Canadian Grand Prix in 1980 and 1981. A fan sent me a photo of my car running along the waters edge and the advertising banners were all in French… that shot, taken from high on the top row of a grandstand, looking down on the circuit is easily confused with a scene from Monaco.

Number 38 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Canada

The compact size of the track was great, and the atmosphere was very good. I also think the grass areas of general admission was very good and we hung a lot around there. That?s the ticket I would be next time. The track side food was horrible, and the prices of beer was too high.

Sigmund on the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona>

My friend Mat scalped some fairly cheap tickets to watch at the first turn where saw (and felt) a young Felipe Massa loose his brakes and shunt HARD into the armco.

Alex on Monte-Carlo, Monaco

If you’ve been to an F1 track to watch a Grand Prix and want to share your experiences, head over to the Going to a Grand Prix section now.

We discussed which races people were going to in 2008 in an early article.

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11 comments on Going to Istanbul – and everywhere else

  1. TommyBellingham said on 7th May 2008, 13:27

    Monaco – If general admission go up by the Palace if you still can. We got there and could see almost 2/3rds of the track!

  2. Ronan said on 7th May 2008, 13:57

    “Do not camp at the circuit campsites unless you like not washing for three days and listening to German drinking songs at 4am.” – I’m going to Hockenheim this year and to be honest not washing for three days and listening to German drinking songs sounds fantastic! Maybe it’s just because I’m a student…

  3. the limit said on 7th May 2008, 14:02

    I always wanted to go to three races. Monaco, Monza and Spa. I settled for Silverstone back in 2001 and enjoyed the race very much, although I don’t think Club corner was the best place to be to see the action.
    The five hour wait to get out of the carpark still did not dull my enthusiasm for Formula One. I would happily go back again. I am still dreaming of one day going to Casino Square though, one day!!!

  4. Nico Savidge said on 7th May 2008, 18:37

    I wanted to return to Indy for the USGP this year… Bernie had other plans…

  5. I have been to Indy 2004 and Malaysia 2006. Atmosphere wise Indy was brilliant, but then its was my first F1 race trip, so was pretty much in awe of the occassion.Not to mention getting ride in Corvette and traveling at speeds of 125-130 mph (occassionally).

    Sepang is great circuit to visit Infrastructure wise, But the Tilke designed circuit lacks the aura of a Brand Hatch or a franchor champs.

    The Circuits I’d like to visit – Spa,Brands hatch(for open wheel race)and of course Suzuka

  6. TommyBellingham said on 7th May 2008, 19:30

    Looking forward to going to Valencia this year :)

    Not been to a race since 2005. I went:

    Monaco 2000
    Barcelona 2001
    Magny Cours 2002
    Monza 2003
    Silverstone 2004
    Imola 2005

    Best atmosphere was Imola easily, Ferrari fans are nuts. Especially as it was Schumi swarming all over the back of Fernandos gearbox the last 5 laps!

  7. Oddball said on 7th May 2008, 23:28

    Having now moved down under I do not unfortunately get go to attend that many races anymore, but when I was living back in Europe, there was two venues I’d rarely miss:

    Barcelona is my favourite European city anyway, and heading down south to meet the spring in this gorgeousand fun city – and to have a race (often the first of the European season) thrown in for good measure made it into an annual pilgrimage (despite the fact that the racing often was prosessional and not all that much to write home about). The food, the people, the parties and the climate is more than reason enough to go there even when a race is not on…

    The other – and by far my most favourite race and venue – is Spa Francorchamps. The venue is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and over the dozen plus Grands Prix I attended there, I tried out various accommodation options; staying in a “local” hotel (happened to share a fair few beers the boys from McLaren) costs an arm and a leg but was worth it; organised “package” tours with hotel in Brussels and bussing to and fro ended up being rather hectic; as did day trip from UK; despite Miranda’s comments about German drinking songs until the wee hours sometimes being a less than welcome kind of entertainment (which does happen here too) it does create a fabuluous atmosphere and makes the whole weekend a big F1 party, so this is what I ended up doing the most (either hiring a campervan or brining the old tent). Oh, now that I no longer have the chance to go there, and won’t have to fight you for them, I’d be happy to “let you in on” the best seat (they do get sold out very quickly): treat yourself (even if you have to end up with only half of your alotted number of kidneys) to a seat in the Gold 1 grandstand!!!! There aren’t many tracks or grandstands where you are treated to following the cars uninterrupted for 20+ seconds, and when you to boot get to see the exit of the first corner (La Source), the pitlane exit and the most fantastic corner on the whole calendar (Eau Rouge) nothing can beat it (the down hill stretch towards Eau Rouge also have the pit garages for the support races). My most unforgettable memory from that venue is of course the 1998 race with the biggest crash in F1 ever happening litteraly right in front of me, and also seeing one of my favourite drivers getting his last win.

    Other venues I have attended are:

    Adelaide – fantastic atmosphere and season finale on a temporary street circuit – you got closer to the action than most places. 1995 is an unforgettable memory, witnessing one of my favourite drivers (MH) having a very close encounter with death when he crashed right in front of me (followed by the longest 20 minutes of my life watching him being treated and extracted from the wreckage).

    Melbourne – again a fabulous party atmosphere (all three days) and frequently some ontrack action (the Aussie V8 supercars an interesting variety of racing).

    Jerez – 1997 – got to see one favourite driver become world champion (JV) and the other (MH) get his maiden win – nuff said!

    Austria A1 Ring – another good party in the middle of nowhere.

    Monza – lots of fun and crazy Italians ;-)

    Monaco – plenty of close-up action with lots of glits, glamour to boot (haven’t been since the cost of accommodation and the good tickets required you to re-mortgage the house)

    Estoril – another good holiday combo that’s disappeared from the calendar :-( Biggest memory is from 1996 watching JV overtaking MS on the outside of the Parabolica corner.

    Sepang – great facilities and a good selection of seats with view of big parts of the track (I have a very fond memory of witnessing my favourite driver getting his maiden win there)

    And there are still so many tracks I’d love to go to: Suzuka, Interlagos, Indy and the new Tilke-dromes Shanghai, Istanbul, Dubai…

  8. I went to Monaco in 2006, and owing to the $$$ required to purchase a seat, opted to go general admission. Never again ! All told, we sat on the side of a hill for over 7 hours (it was too crowded to leave once you got a possie) in the dirt. We could see about 100 mtrs of the track at turn 19, although we did have a TV screen we could partially see – tree branches blocked a lot of it, as did peoples heads – and Rosberg softened the blow a bit by putting his car into the wall in front of us.

    Sure it was still great, and we were surrounded by Spaniards and when Alonso won it turned into party town central. But I prefer a nice seat (as opposed to dirt and rocks) and an unobscured view of the track, as well as being actually able to get up and wander around occaisonally. If I ever am lucky enough to go to Monaco again, I’ll mortgage the house for seats in grandstand K – overlooking the bay.

    I go to Melbourne every year and sit in Senna which is on turn 16 – a great vantage point. However, if/when we lose the race, for the last one I am going to splash out and go turn 1 & 2, sitting in Brabham. Melbourne is fantastic value for money, with heaps of support categories and on track entertainment.

    And in September, Mr Pink and I head off to Singapore, where we are sitting facing the Marina, as close as we could possibly get to the point where the cars actually run under the grandstand. So I’ll report back later what that was like !

    It is my lifetime goal to go to every F1 race on the calendar. May be easier said than done !
    But Spa is the one I want to see most live.

  9. Gman said on 8th May 2008, 5:15

    Nico, although it would have been my first time at Indy this season, I share the pain on that issue. As you and the other regulars on here know, there is perhaps nothing I want more in the world of sports than to see Indy back on the F1 schedule ASAP! My family and I are planning on making the trip when(i’m being an optimist) it dose come back. Hopefully i’ll see you and many others from this site as well and we’ll all have a grand old time.

    As for attending other races, I very much want to take in Montreal in future years, as well as some overseas venues. Those will be a few years off for me though, as first I want to earn my masters degree and begin working in my first dedicated communications job for a year or so, allowing me to build up some vacation time and hopefully start earning some funds to help pay for the adventure.

    My best wishes to all of you who will be attending a race this season for a safe and fun trip, and hopefully i’ll be joining the club next season.

  10. Gman said on 8th May 2008, 5:17

    And Ronan, coming from a fellow student, 3 days of camoping and German drinking songs (hopefully with plenty of quality German brew) sounds like a great idea. However, i’m not so sure about the 3 days without washing part…

  11. Chas said on 8th May 2008, 11:29

    Kyalami, 1985, positioned at turn 17, Mansell won, it was brilliant. vivid memories include, the ‘fruity’ exhaust fumes, how tiny the car are, how piercingly loud the cars are, and how incredibly fast they are. it was wild!

    p.s. – why don’t they go back there?

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