How did you get to your first F1 race?

This topic contains 15 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  AdrianMorse 5 years ago.

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    The question is simple – how did you get to your first F1 race? If you have never been to a race, do you plan to go to one someday? I would like to tell you my own story and also encourage those, who haven’t made it yet for whatever reasons.

    I’ve been an F1 fan since 1996. I was a 12-year old boy then and going to an F1 race was not much more realistic than making a trip to the moon. It’s not like my family didn’t travel at all but no one else in the household shared my passion so it was unthinkable they would spend that much money on my hobby. I got my first permanent job in 2004 but, as much as I have always loved F1, there have always been other priorities in my life, too.

    In 2006, the dream finally seemed to be coming true. I got presented a race ticket on my birthday, in March. I was supposed to go to the European Grand Prix at Nurburgring, which took place at the beginning of May. Unfortunately, I got an appendicitis shortly before the planned trip, had to undergo surgery and wasn’t able to go anywhere. As you can imagine, it was a big disappointment. I watched the race on TV. I was a Schumacher fan then and it was painful to watch him cleverly win the GP, knowing that I should have seen it from the stands.

    I gave up my dream to go to an F1 race for the time being. Still, I didn’t stop watching F1 on TV. Later I thought that maybe I wasn’t ready to go to a race then yet. It might sound funny but I know that there are people who have lost interest in F1 after having been close to it so obviously ‘the first time’ can be disappointing and fail to meet the expectations, too.

    I was sure that I still loved F1 but not so sure if I was ready to go to a race. But I started to change my mind. A couple of friends, especially my former boss and a colleague from Denmark encouraged me to try again.

    In 2009, after more than 12 years of waiting, it was about time. This time, I didn’t get any presents and the initiative was mine. I and my family decided to go to Germany as it’s a country we know very well. The 2009 German Grand Prix took place at… Nurburgring. I caught cold a few days before the race so was a bit worried that it might go wrong again. But everything went fine after all.

    It was a great experience and it made me love the sport even more. Since then, I have been to two more races.



    Well I live in Melbourne, which of course has a GP a short drive from my house. I started following motorsport when I was about 5 years old and went to my first V8 Supercar event when I was 7 with my Dad. After that I probably went to 2-3 V8 Supercar events each year but Dad would never take me to the GP because he believed I was too small to be able to see anything. Eventually, after many years, I went to my first F1 race at Albert Park in 2006 at age 12 and have been to every one since then.



    I’ve been an F1 fan since I can remember, thanks to the influence of my parents. I remember watching Mansell, Senna and Prost in the 80s and early 90s as a young 10 / 11 year old lad!

    I would have to wait another 15 years until my first race proper, and it would be the 2006 Hungarian GP, that I went to with my best mate.

    We flew from London to Budapest, and stayed in a hostel in central Budapest. On the first day we got a train from Budapest to the “Hungaroring Temporary Station”, which is literally as it sounds, the train just stops in the middle of a field!! You then have to walk for about 35 to 45 minutes to the circuit, in 36 degree heat! Not ideal.

    We had GA tickets and of course were lucky enough to see Button’s first ever victory at an incredible race, in the BAR Honda!

    I have since been to a race every year (Hungary 2007 and 2009, Hockenheim 2008, Silverstone 2010 and Nurburgring 201!), apart from this year, where we’ve missed out unfortunately.


    Brands Hatch at the age of age six, I think In a double-adult sidecar, attached to a 1940s Triumph, driven by my short-sighted (and rather dangerous) grandfather.

    I still enjoy watching every race. I just filter out the politics, ignore the rule bending (and occasionally smashing) by some teams and the rediculous state of affairs that leave us watching sub-standard drivers wasting the tallent of brilliant engineers, because those who wield the power have permitted big business to hijack the sport and drive all but the most wealthy independant owners out.

    Apologies to everyone for any bad spelling and for making my first post sounds like a rant, by a grumpy old git, … I’ll try to behave more graciously in future. (can’t guarantee anything though)



    I have been an F1 fan since 2000: I guess exactly the wrong time to start watching F1 (I still have a grudge against Schumacher..). For me the closest ‘real’ circuit is Zandvoort, which I went several times to see the Marlboro Masters or any other event with a lot of open-wheel racing. The first time I went to another track was the Nurburgring: there were some fantastic historical races there. I also got familiar with the weather in the Eiffel: the rain was so bad that you couldn’t even see the track, just hear the fantastic sound of the 1960’s and 1970’s cars.

    The first major race I went was the 2009 24hrs of Le Mans, which we reapeted in 2011. After that it was finally time for a real F1 race: the 2011 German grand prix at the Nurburgring. The main thing I remember was just the cold: when we arrived at the circuit on Friday morning, temperatures were around 5 degrees, but with the wind it felt like minus 100. But I didn’t care at all. The first car
    I saw on the track was Kovalainen (I’m a big fan of him!), which made an awful off-throttle noise. But as soon as he had passed, I remembered exactly why I was there.

    A lot of people were supporting Vettel there, but we reckoned they only supported him so that they could party afterwards. It seemed fitting that this was like the only race where he didn’t finish on the podium, so that felt gooooood. Hamilton won the race, just like my second F1 race in Hungary (which was a lot warmer!).


    Keith Collantine

    Camped at the 1998 British Grand Prix. We got utterly soaked, and then some!



    Silverstone, ’95 with my old man. First car we saw in the flesh was Salo’s Tyrrell during qualifying, closely followed by the shrieking V12 of a Ferrari 412T which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. We stood on the mud bank outside of Bridge for the race and watch a charging Damon Hill reel in Schumacher lap after lap, until…slamming into each other right in front of us.

    Herbert won, so the atmosphere wasn’t all gloom. We made our way around to the pit straight to catch a glimpse of the podium and the heavens opened up. That was my first and last F1 race. I became a penniless student not long after that, so the ticket prices which were already breathtaking in ’95 made any repeat journey impossible.

    I moved to Canada & the US and gorged myself on trekking to CART/Champ Car for years. I was almost tempted when F1 came to Indy but the gimmicky track put me off completely. I looked into going to Austin this year, but will probably hold out until 2013.


    Bence Putnoky

    Since I’m 17 years old, I was born in 1995 . I follow F1 since 1999. My first GP was Hungary 2007, and as i am hungarian, i went to all of them since 2007 :) 2011 race was sick, it was raining, but the 2008 race was the most memorable, as Felipe Massa’s engine died in front of our grandstand 3 laps front the end. He was leading



    I grew up in Adelaide and discovered F1 in the early 70’s. There was no hope of being able to travel overseas to a grand prix but at least the races were being broadcast on TV, albeit during the wee hours of the morning. I justified the purchase of my first video recorder (very expensive back then) on the grounds that I would be able to tape the race and watch it later at a more civilised hour. Didn’t happen of course, it was much more exciting to watch it live.

    So it was fantastic news when F1 came to Adelaide in 1985, because the Victoria Park circuit was just 400 metres from where I lived. How did I get to my first F1 race? Stepped out my front door and took a five minute stroll to the circuit gate.

    I bought a ticket for a seat in the grandstand overlooking the chicane at the end of the pit straight. It proved to be one of the best places to watch the race because you could see the cars approaching for quite some time, then be up close to the near misses and carnage as cars attempted to squeeze through the chicane.

    The attraction of that location was not lost on the organisers, because the next year it was taken over as a corporate stand for guests of the Australian GP organising committee. I did get back there a couple of years later, as one of those corporate guests through a link with the company I worked for.

    Memories of that first F1 race? The first ever F1 car onto the Victoria Park circuit was 1980 world champion Alan Jones in (I think) a Team Hass car. As Jones was the last Australian WDC, the crowd went wild, as they say.

    I remember also my first exposure to the noise of an F1 car – incredible music, yet so loud and truly painful without ear plugs.

    In 1991 I competed in the Australia F1 Grand Prix Rally, an annual support event for sports and exotic cars which started in Melbourne and took in numerous driver skill events (circuit sprint, hill climb, etc) during a five day journey to Adeliade. I still have a laminated Australian F1 Grand Prix circuit pass with my name on it and the description “Competitor”. A special reminder of a time when Adelaide hosted some of the best grands prix.



    I watched a mate die of cancer leaving three kids. Decided to do things because life if unpredictable and can be cruel. Packed up the kids, took the next A380 to Singapore (2011) and built some memories instead of a bank balance. Always wanted to do it since Jones won way back when. Best thing I ever did.



    @andae23 May I ask this: How were your Le Mans trips like? Can you tell me more? Did you have general admission tickets or were you in the grandstands? Did you stay awake for all 24 hours?

    I’m sorry if these questions seem strange but I hope to go to Le Mans (or at least some other WEC race) myself some day so I’m wondering what to expect…



    Up the M1 in the passenger seat of my friend’s VW Golf.



    The Le Mans race is fantastic, maybe even better than a Formula 1 race. One of the reasons for this is the variety of cars: all cars take specific lines through corners, which is great fun to watch. Also the crowd at Le Mans is different: most people know a thing or two about racing, unlike at F1 races.

    In 2011 we arrived on Friday, just before the pit walk. That was probably the best part of the weekend, as you could walk up and down the pit lane and check out the garages (just like F1). In the evening there was a drivers’ parade in the city Le Mans, but we found that quite dull.

    On Saturday morning we arrived at track again. We had bought a general admission ticket with a parking ticket: we parked the car on the actual Bugatti circuit. We quickly looked for our favorite place to watch, on the outside of the second Esses curve. Before the race, there were support races: the classic Le Mans (I saw Stirling Moss!) and some Ferrari 458 race. Then at 15:00, the race finally started. We were at the Porsche curves (where all the Danes camp), without a screen. When McNish had that horrible crash, the safety car went out and we noticed one of the Audis was missing. The funny thing was that initially nobody knew what was going on, probalby like in the old days. We moved from place to place, also travelling to the corners far away: Mulsanne and Arnage.

    Unfortunately we stayed at the circuit until I guess 1 o’clock (we had to drive home for seven hours, and Monday was just a normal working day), before we went back to the hotel in Tours (30 minutes driving. On Friday evening we actually drove along the Mulsanne straight to get there). We were back at the circuit nice and early, for the final 7 or so hours of racing. On both occasions we decided not to be at the historic concrete grandstands for the finish: I believe they open the circuit for fans to catch a glimpse of the podium. In 2009, we parked outside of the circuit, so we caught heavy traffic. But in 2011, we parked on the inside, so we were on the highway in no-time.

    @girts if you’re in doubt whether you should go or not: go! The Le Mans race (and probably every endurance race) is a completely different experience compared to other racing events. I certainly enjoyed it and hope to go again in 2013!



    I’ve been watching F1 since 1989, but it took me another 8 years to go to my first GP. I woke up at 5 am in the morning, took a cab in central São Paulo and arrived early at the Interlagos Circuit for the second GP of 1997. I was a Schumi-fan, and he qualified in second. I sat right at Senna S.
    I went back to Interlagos another four times before moving to Germany, where I’ve been at Hockenheim 2010, my last F1 race live.



    PaulT- haha!!!!!
    I love your story mate as in 1985 I lived at Reynella (Happy Valley way if you don’t know it) and 27 years later about 5km away.

    My first actual REAL viewing of F1 instead of just some pictures . i remember a black & gold car emerging from pit lane with JPS all over it with a driver with a yellow helmet with blue and green stripes. I can’t remember his name though.

    In 1986 our family friend next door (big brother I looked up to) took me and I was 10 years old. We wore Ug Boots LOL. (If you don’t know Ug boots are a stupid Aussie thing we wear being knee high boots made of wool- great in winter but don’t wear them to a F**King F1 race lol.

    Anyway- saw the same guy in a JPS with a yellow helmet and loved watching him race from that day until May 1 1994 (RIP Friend). F1 was a bit different back then (especially in little old Adelaide) and we basically had full access to the to drivers back then, being Ayrton, Gerhard, Alain, Nigel, Nelson, Jean and all the others.

    Back then all the drivers drove their hire cars in themselves so we would wait until they come back in the avro. As a major doco suggests Senna & Prost WERE the last to leave. One year (I think 1992) I had Ayrton sign my t-shirt, hat, book, another t-shirt and what ever else I could find. Later that arvo when I walked up to him he said “what, nothing else to sign??” with his checky grin. The fact was he remembered me as a young kid from 12 to 16 (I did not see him in 1986 or 1987 but every year after).

    My 2 best F1 possesions:

    A photo of Senna signing my shirt in 1988 with him wearing a crappy shirt and me a mullet (haha)

    In 1988 I called out to Ayrton on the grid and asked him to give me the thumbs up (which he did). One year later he signed that photo and I still have it. I show my kids (6 & 4), they don’t get it yet, but they can’t touch it LOL.

    There was a question raised before (maybe KingShark- sorry if not) regarding what Senna, Prost and others have “actually done for F1?”

    All I can say is that he made a hero for kids. And at 35 and almost 19 years on those “kids” still miss him!
    Also could anyone race better??

    Suzuka in 2 days- mega super pumped!!!!!!


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