Experiencing the Singapore F1 Grand Prix

25 September 2009

I have always been a fan of the Formula One Racing. I can still remember during my high school and college days, my dad and I would often save selected Sundays to watch an F1 Race live on television. During those days, as far as I can remember, the races rotated mainly on the rivalry between Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen.

The first Singapore Grand Prix to be part of the Formula One Championship happened in 2008, it was well received by fans around the world, as it was the only race to be held at night. The venue for this event was the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Sadly, I was not able to join the inaugural race last year.

Moving forward to the event this year, at first I did not have any interest at all in watching the race live as it was a bit costly to get good tickets. However, I said to myself, why not just experience watching even just the Friday night practice session with a walkabout ticket?

I got our tickets just some days ago at around four in the morning while I was on my way to the apartment from work. The driver of the Mercedes taxi and I were having small chats about the upcoming race and I briefly mentioned that I wanted to watch the event on Friday but I did not have the tickets yet. He offered me two single day walkabout tickets for 100 SGD (retails at 38 SGD per piece but as of that time, it was already sold out), I didn’t accept it at first and offered a much lower price. My haggling didn’t do wonder here as I only managed to shave 5% off his offer. Nonetheless, I got my ticket and decided to call an early weekend in order to watch the event.

Friday Walkabout Ticket

Friday Walkabout Ticket

The 2009 version of this event promised to be even bigger from the first one with huge foreign acts such as Beyonce, The Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, and among others taking part in the inaugural F1 Rocks concert taking place on September 24 to 26 at the Fort Canning Park. Inside the venue, there are several performances as well by notable names such as The Backstreet Boys, Chaka Khan and the Philippine’s very own Rivermaya Band.

Mr Whattaworld started very early for this event; I was already inside the Marina Bay Street Circuit at around 4:30 PM, very early considering the 1st round of practice starts at 6:00 PM. At this time, they were holding a practice session as well for the Aston Martin Asia Cup. I just stayed for a few minutes within the racetrack and after that I roamed around and take a look at the various stalls inside the venue.

taken before entering Gate 3

taken before entering Gate 3

There were various activities awaiting patrons inside; for those that are interested in purchasing F1 memorabilia, there are various booths all over the place selling original goods. I myself got a Felipe Massa Puma Ferrari T-Shirt. A bit pricey at 70 SGD but I liked the design and the color.

expensive memorabilia...

expensive memorabilia...

my most expensive shirt to date...

my most expensive shirt to date...

The various sponsors such as LG and SingTel had their very own booth inside. All of them had different tactics to lure the possible customers inside their booth. Singapore Tourism Board had its own booth their as well, a good move since there were a huge number of tourists coming in just for the night race who might be needing some assistance.

guess who I met inside?

guess who I met...

Food were also available inside (albeit a very inflated price); a whole variety of cuisine can be ordered within with a portion of the street very near the Padang Field converted into an open air hawker like eatery.

signage to ensure you don't lose your way inside

sign to ensure you don't lose your way inside

The two-practice session started on schedule and lasted 90 minutes each; we were very lucky enough to get good spot wherein we were really very close to the racetrack. The only drawback though was we were standing the whole time. It started out dull at first with cars appearing one at a time. Good thing though that after a while, it became more interesting with several cars popping in successively. The sound of the car engine and gearbox was both very loud and very different. A friend of mine said that the joy of watching the race in more on being able to hear the deafening sound and from this experience, I could say that he was partially true.

excited for the 2nd round of practice

excited for the 2nd round of practice

Although we got an excellent view of cars passing by, there was no way we could know what was happening from the other side of the racetrack apart from the two race announcers talking on the PA system. The roars of the car engine though always overpower their live narration. This was the reason why we were not aware that Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber crashed out of the practice session.

I tried to get some photos of the cars passing; unfortunately my camera has no match for the speed of drivers.

a Ferrari in action

a Ferrari in action

this I believe is Brawn GP

this I believe is Brawn GP

i think that was a McLaren

i think that was a McLaren...

Overall, it was an evening well spent. I went back to the apartment partially deaf from the engine noise but was very satisfied. Finally, I was able to watch a Formula One Grand Prix Session live, such a truly marvelous experience. I am looking forward to the 2010 version in which I hope to get some grandstand tickets by then.

money well spent!

money well spent!

10 Responses to “Experiencing the Singapore F1 Grand Prix”

  1. AudMraz Says:

    That looks exciting even for just a walkabout! I wanted to go to Spore’s F1 this year but resources are limited plus exchange rates are not very pretty. The tshirt you bought is very nice 🙂 thanks for sharing and hope your eardrums are back to normal!

    • Hi AudMraz…

      Thank you, my eardrums are already okey… 🙂 The shirt is really nice, I even wore them today while going around exploring Singapore.

      You have a year to save up for the 3rd Singapore Grand Prix, by right it should be bigger and better next year… 😉

  2. carry Says:

    so lucky for you to enjoy the walkabout pass and practice night..i like your blogspot..two-thumbs UP!

  3. No sightings of KC Concepcion & Lindsay Lohan?! LOL

    Didn’t bother to buy F1 tickets. Too expensive! Watching the race from Carlton Hotel last year was enough experience for me. = P

    Saw Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean at Suntec this afternoon. Go Team Renault! = D

    • Didn’t see both of them Pards…

      Yeah a bit expensive really but it is a good experience naman. Next year ulit! Ehehehe!!

      You are rooting for both of them? Tsk, tsk, tsk… I am rooting for Massa (as the t-shirt would show) but he is out for the season. He will be back next year! I placed some bets on Hamilton that he will place in the top 3, all looks good as he will be in pole tomorrow! 🙂

  4. Interesting stuff, thanks for this. Did you read that British men are more likely to care about the Grand Prix than their health http://bit.ly/PVumh ?

    • Thanks for dropping by… That could be true, British colleagues of mine often talk much about the race. They were very happy Lewis Hamilton won here in Singapore (he is also Brit).

  5. Didi Says:

    I enjoyed the race immensely!! 🙂
    I think we could have3 bumped into each other – as we also entered and walked around in the Gate 3 area!! Hahaha… 🙂

    I saw KC Concepcion during the practice race – her face was all over the billboard wearing white earphones! I thought I was in Manila! Hahah… 🙂

    • Hi Didi, thanks for dropping by my blog… The race was fun right? Although I only got to see the friday session, I had fun nonetheless. Next year, if I am still in Singapore, I would want to watch all 3 race. Eheheh! 😉

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