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Monza revisited

It’s the Italian Formula One Grand Prix this weekend and we’ve been reminiscing about our trip three years ago where I fulfilled a long-time goal of seeing a F1 race.

This was one stop on a month-long visit to Europe. I want to revisit the trip for this blog (original posts are on a private orphaned blog and I would like to rescue and consolidate the content over here) in more structured fashion, but I will dip into it now with this segment.

I started following F1 in about 1990 though drifted away a bit with the death of my favourite driver, Ayrton Senna, in 1994. Nevertheless, it was still an ambition to get to a grand prix. I was excited when our planning showed the Italian GP would work in with our rough timing and itinerary, as Monza is one of the most historic F1 venues. We were online as soon as the tickets went on sale, bleeding a little at the cost but this wasn’t a time to go ‘budget’.

I.am.here!

I.am.here!

Milan isn’t far away so that’s where we stayed, navigating our way to the track on both Saturday and Sunday.

Zoom view from our expensive seats to the end of the front straight. You can also make out the start of a banked corner on the historic circuit

Zoom view from our expensive seats to the end of the front straight. You can also make out the start of a banked corner on the historic circuit

The old disused circuit was another massive drawcard for me as I love ruinous and abandoned structures. I couldn’t wait to see the old banking up close.

A support class grids up for a race on Saturday

A support class grids up for a race on Saturday

When the F1s came out in dribs and drabs for a practice session it was one of those surreal moments to finally see them and hear them in their ear piercing glory (at the same time noting that I needed to find better ear plugs for Sunday).

The lunchtime rush... argh...

The lunchtime rush… argh…

In Mike's opinion the crush was worthwhile

In Mike’s opinion the crush was worthwhile

On the hunt for the old oval track

On the hunt for the old oval track

Found it! We would have walked around it further if not for the officious security people. Party poopers

Found it! We would have walked around it further if not for the officious security people. Party poopers

The track is incredibly steep - neither of us could make it up to the barrier. It would have been AMAZING to see cars race around here

The track is incredibly steep – neither of us could make it up to the barrier. It would have been AMAZING to see cars race around here

After some pretty heinous accidents, use of the banked oval ceased in the 1960s.

Another more visible section of the old track the following day, somewhere down the end of the front straight (the current track is on the other side)

Another more visible section of the old track the following day, somewhere down the end of the front straight (the current track is on the other side)

On Sunday the trains deposited us at one end of the track rather than the station, so we didn’t have to faff around with an additional bus but still had a lengthy walk to get to our seats. It was another glorious day though, any fears of our expensive tickets being a wash out long since gone.

While hunting and hunting for merchandise on Sunday we found tyres... no need for those wets this weekend!

While hunting and hunting for merchandise on Sunday we found tyres… no need for those wets this weekend!

By early afternoon Sunday the build up to the main event was underway. From our blessedly shaded seats we had excellent views over the start grid and the thronging crowds of race teams, drivers, media, marching bands, the very-well-looked-after punters up in the Paddock Club, and… am I missing anyone?… oh yes, the grid girls. Heaven forbid there should be a race meeting without them.

Our patch of the start grid

Our patch of the start grid

Among the stuff going on in front of us was a media scrum around Michael Schumacher

Among the stuff going on in front of us was a media scrum around Michael Schumacher

Formalities over, it was race time, and time finally to hear all the F1s together at full noise. Amazing. (And those new earplugs did the trick!)

It took a zillion goes to get a reasonable shot of a car down the front straight, between the fence posts no less

It took a zillion goes to get a reasonable shot of a car down the front straight, between the fence posts no less

It was an efficient race with no incidents so it finished well within the two hours scheduled. Ferrari did the ultimate and won at home, all the more significant as they hadn’t done too well in recent times. That was quite something to witness.

Ferrari win!

Ferrari win!

Ferrari win at Monza

Surveying the sea of red below

Surveying the sea of red below

We stayed up in the stands for the podium presentation watching the spectacle of the crowd invasion, the Tifosi unfurling a massive Ferrari flag and dancing and chanting under the podium. After a while we became invaders ourselves and spent a memorable hour or so walking around the track.

Just like ya see on telly!

Just like ya see on telly!

I hope that didn't go to waste

I hope that didn’t go to waste

Finish line!

Finish line!

Tifosi, Monza

As we near the end of our track walk, another fabulous view of the old track crossing above the current track

As we near the end of our track walk, another fabulous view of the old track crossing above the current track

My F1 initiation was complete.

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Very cool! An F1 race is on our list too, and initial research shows a new definition of the word “budget”. I’m sure it will be worth it though. Great shots!

    8 September 2013
    • Thanks 🙂 … Yes it will be worth the dent in your visa! Where are you thinking of going?

      8 September 2013
      • We’re going to try for Monaco. We were watching this year how quickly tickets went, so it looks like we need to buy tickets a year in advance and go in 2015. I’m used to making plans years in advance.

        9 September 2013
        • Yep, ditto. That one would be a goodie, though you possibly picked one of the hardest-to-get-tickets-for events! Got a while to practice your online click reflexes at least.

          9 September 2013
  2. I had no idea that those tracks were SO steep! Great post Hayley, really interesting to hear about your time there. Looked like you both had a lot of fun 🙂

    8 September 2013
    • Thanks very much Lottie. I possibly could have scrambled to the top but I’m a big girl’s blouse when it comes to heights/steepness. Not to mention that being a very unforgiving surface. Our whole trip was fantastic and I’m looking forward to revisiting it here. Though maybe I should complete our photo albums first – 3 years and they’re still not finished, how slack is that!

      8 September 2013
      • I’m a big girl’s blouse with heights/steepness too! Totally with you on the photo albums! I’m just the same. I’ve got 100’s of photographs from our trip to Kenya 3 years ago and I still haven’t sorted them out Must be a 3 year thing!!

        8 September 2013
  3. Marnie #

    Cool! Great shot of a beast between the poles! Obviously though, red is not green…

    8 September 2013
    • It could be that I’m being a bit vacant but you’ve gone over my head with that one fgm!

      8 September 2013
      • Marnie #

        “It took a zillion goes to get a reasonable shot of a car down the front straight, between the fence posts no less” AKA Great shot of a beast between the poles.
        …and
        Pics are predominantly Ferrari-Red; not exactly environment-green (hey, with all my off-spring, I’m a bit of a petrol-head myself … so, just sayin’…!)

        xxx

        8 September 2013
        • Right – I was wondering where the green came into it. I’m not yet 100% after a spot of unwellness at the end of the week so you had me questioning my soundness of mind there for a while!

          8 September 2013
  4. I bet the atmosphere was fantastic

    8 September 2013
    • It was great, and full of chitter chatter that we couldn’t understand 🙂

      9 September 2013
  5. Thank You for this interesting post. I am “crazy” about car and one of my dream is to visit F1. A couple of years we made a road trip in Germany and I wanted to “test” my car in Nürburgring. All went very well when driving to there, but it was closed! We arrived on Monday and there had been driving on Saturday, so they cleaned the track free from rubber. My old car had 280 horses, not a sport car, but anyway not a turtle.

    22 September 2013
    • Oh no! I’m hoping to get to Nurburgring on a trip to Eastern Europe in 2015. Fingers crossed! Speaking of which, I highly, highly recommend the new movie called Rush if you’ve not yet seen it and have the opportunity to.

      23 September 2013
  6. This looks like 2010?

    Was there that year with Porsche Supercup and what and event it was!

    I remember walking into the paddock and Michael Schumacher was walking along side me and thought that was pretty cool, then within 10 seconds about 8 photographers were around him and it was back off to walking on my own for me.

    6 April 2015
    • Lordy is it almost five years ago… yes, 2010. After a quick bit of research I see it was Jono Lester’s first race in that series – which I don’t think we knew at the time – so yeah I imagine it was a doubly big weekend! Pretty awesome to have had that fleeting experience with M.Schumacher given what’s happened since.

      6 April 2015

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