Inside Renault: ‘Race Days’ and the Hungarian Grand Prix

Renault Race Day

Renault introduced its new ??Race Days? hospitality programme for the Hungarian Grand Prix, allowing fans to watch the race from within its factory.

F1 Fanatic was invited to this debut event and we couldn?t resist the opportunity to see inside Renault.

Renault?s programme is called ‘Race Days’ ?ǣ for ??175 a person, it’s a chance to see a race from within the team’s factory, complete with live links to the track, time in an F1 simulator and a compere.

It isn?t a new concept ?ǣ Renault has previously hosted days for its sponsors and Williams has run a similar programme for many years ?ǣ but this is the first time Renault?s opened its doors to the paying public.

Held at its factory in Enstone, Oxfrodshire, the facility can accommodate up to 60 visitors every race weekend and is open to corporate parties as well as families. For the Hungarian Grand Prix event, the crowd was made up of the families of employees, paying punters and a few competition winners.

AM

The day started at 9:30 with breakfast at Renault?s Communication and Heritage centre. There we were surrounded by a selection of Formula One trophies and historic cars, from a replica of one the manufacturer?s earliest vehicles from 1899, to Alain Prost?s 1983 RE40 and Fernando Alonso?s championship winning R25.

Our compere, F1 journalist and author Stuart Codling, took to the stage at 10am to talk us through qualifying from the day before as well as this season?s main talking points.

Sporting Director Steve Nielsen then joined us via live video link to answer a few questions before the games began, and we all took to the F1 simulator and pit stop challenge.

PM

In the afternoon we moved to Renault?s Computational Aerodynamic Research Centre, the team?s underground facility known as ??the bunker? and which looks just like the Teletubbies house. There we were presented with a glass of champagne before being ushered into the Auditorium for another live link with the team in Hungary.

Renault?s Chief Race Engineer Alan Permane was first to speak. And though it was only an audio link, excitement was building with Permane saying, ??Our target today is to get both cars in front of Rosberg??.

Renault’s Jeremy Scoones was up next, saying of Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov?s drop in performance between Q2 and Q3: ??I think they’re putting it down to varying track conditions. The drivers weren’t particularly happy with their laps. There wasn’t the sort of grip that was out there in Q2.??

Scoones ended with one of the most poignant quotes of the day: ??All eyes will be on the pit lane and strategies.??

Live to Hungary

And then the screen flicked to Hungary. We were presented with a live webcam stream of the team?s garage, with Kubica to the left and Petrov to the right, the two flanking the BBC coverage.

Things got a little heated ?ǣ especially as we were watching the pit lane incident unfold and Kubica?s weekend coming to an abrupt end ?ǣ and it was clear everybody was enjoying the race.

There were screams as Michael Schumacher attempted to squash Rubens Barrichello, and actual clapping as Mark Webber crossed the line and Petrov earned his career best finish in fifth.

With the exception of being at the track, it would be difficult to find anywhere better to watch a race than from within Renault?s factory.

At ??175 each it?s not cheap but you do get a lot for your money and the team made everybody feel welcome and included. It may not be something you would do every race weekend but it’s an appealing option.

Have you been to a race day hospitality event? Let us know how your experience compared below.

Finally, a big thank you to Bradley Lord and Gabriela Elizalde-Mills from Renault F1 for inviting me to the inaugural ??Race Days? ?ǣ I really enjoyed the day.

Images (C) F1Fanatic.co.uk

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21 comments on Inside Renault: ‘Race Days’ and the Hungarian Grand Prix

  1. sw6569 said on 16th August 2010, 0:23

    ironically they day is the same price as some grand prix tickets. Looks well worth it to me! Just need to save up…!

    • sw6569 said on 16th August 2010, 0:24

      oh and that is certainly more a reflection on grand prix tickets being too high than this opportunity being too low. I’d expect a tour and use of simulator etc to be expensive. Cheers for the article Keith

  2. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 16th August 2010, 0:36

    what a weird looking Montmelo map they have on the screens!

    other than that it’s other place to visit during my hopefully soon-coming England trip! :D

  3. nick said on 16th August 2010, 3:01

    that kid is playing rfactor in simulator :)

  4. US Williams Fan said on 16th August 2010, 6:34

    perhaps they will have these sorts of events in the states…… once we get a team based in North America……

    might be a while! :)

    nice article.

    did not know that Renault offered this to fans.

  5. BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th August 2010, 7:49

    Very nice article Cari, i would have loved to be there. As said above, it is quite some money, but visiting a GP is more expensive (tickets, trip, hotel/campsite).

    Great idea and i hope they continue in this trend at Renault.

  6. I wish I could take a look at those telemetry screens, I don’t know why I’m so suited to data … :)

  7. bosyber said on 16th August 2010, 10:50

    Is that simulator the front part of an R25? Anyway, it looks pretty good in these colours, even though I really liked the 2005 livery a lot.

    Very nice article Cari. It seems Renault are much more into showing themselves to fans this year, maybe something that Genii brought in. Good work, and hope it inspires other teams to look at similar things.

    The price is quite reasonable for such an event, everything included. Even though it is currently a bit much for me (well, includes trip to UK too) to spend.

  8. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 16th August 2010, 11:54

    I’ve got to say £175 for a single day at the factory is awfully expensive. It does sound like a very good experience but surely they’re going to struggle to find people willing to pay that much money

    • bernification said on 17th August 2010, 2:53

      I don’t know, I would think about it as a once in a while thing.

      Would love a go on the sim.

      • I don’t think it’s the sim the drivers use, it looks like a steering wheel inside a model Renault hooked up to rFactor. You could set up something similar at home for half the cost of ticket.

  9. LewisC said on 16th August 2010, 14:30

    I heard about this on the Sidepodcast the other week – sounds like a really good day. I watched one race last year at “Mercedes Benz World” in Weybridge and it was OK, but all the extra ‘contact’ with the team adds another level of involvement.

  10. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 16th August 2010, 17:19

    Renault does a great job with their fans. They’ve had the F1 track day that was announced a few months ago, probably the best podcast of the F1 teams and now this.

    Plus they broadcast the British GP live into their Champs-Elysees dealership (with an area for everyone to sit down), which was extremely useful when my hotel TV wasn’t working!

    • daykind (@) said on 19th August 2010, 19:05

      Yes, Renault do do a lot for their fans.

      This is a great idea, I wish all teams would do it. It would really benefit omeone like HRT financially. I live in Yorkshire, not far from Virgin and I’d love to go to something like this.

  11. Timtoo said on 19th August 2010, 13:11

    I live just down the road and just wish I could afford to go!!!

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