Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sepang Formula 1

Written by Gilles

With just missing out on the Australian GP in Melbourne by a week I wasn't about to let the Malaysian GP slip through my hands when we were so physically close to it. All it took was a quick phone call to the ticket agent and short Air Asia flight from Borneo to Kuala Lumpur to achieve it. We arrived at the airport in Sepang at 8:30 Sunday morning of the GP, Lynn headed directly to KL and I went straight to the track to pick up my tickets for the day's races. I split a cab with some big fella from Holland and after some searching we got our tickets. The ticket I bought was 50$ Can for a covered hilltop section, I was happy to pay it since in Canada you can't get the single day passes anymore and the tickets are quite a few more dollars. I arrived at the track in full admiration of the size of the complex. I've watched the F1 and MotoGP from Sepang before on television so I had some previous knowledge of the track but being there obviously is much different and the size of it all is intimidating.

The F1 circus as it's called was in full swing leaving you wanting for nothing, T-shirts, headsets for listening to the race, die cast cars and the the all important Ferrari Flags! I didn't buy anything. I took a shuttle bus from the F1 village to my ticketed area and to be honest for 50 dollars I wasn't expecting much in terms of viewing or comfort as anyone who has purchased general admission tickets before knows they usually leave you stuck in a corner without seeing or hearing whatever event you paid for. But the surprise was on me since the viewpoint from my area was outsanding, allowing me to see almost half the track and get very close to it as well. I was pretty happy about the whole situation, I had purchased a small chair the day before that came in handy and had plenty of snacks to last me the full day, the only problem was that it was 10 am and the race didn't start until 3! It was going to be a long day but with the Porshe 911 Cup at 12:30 and then the F1 parade of vintage cars it helped kill the time.

Most of the people started to arrive at the track at around 1pm and my area started to fill up with both foreigners and locals. The stadium style seating on the grass gave you a good look at the race from no matter where you sat or however many people sat in front of you, and the big screen across the way was sure to keep you in the loop of what was going on. It doesn't take long to get excited when you hear the F1 cars finally light up there engines, even from the other side of the track you can hear them clearly. You can also follow the TV helicopters in the air to gauge where they are on the track. They come around for an opening warm up lap and the crowd goes nuts and the tension starts to build, then the drivers lineup in the grid positions that they qualified the day before to start the race.

Once the race starts it's easy to follow what's goin on for the first couple of laps but once that first set of pit stops come you really do start to loose track, and if not for the TV monitors I really wouldn't know what the hell is goin on. Being at an F1 race for me is more about the noise, the smells and the crowds then the actually race itself anyway, so not really knowing what's goin on doesn't bother me the least. One of the other benefits of my ticket was that during the race I was able to walk around the huge section I was in and get photos from different areas and get closer and closer to the track to where you can actualy feel the awesome power of the 1000 plus horsepower cars( insert Tim "the tool man" Tailor grunt, arrrgh, arrgh, arrgh!).

(Scottish accent required)
It's eh grrrreat day forr motorrr carr rracing- Jackie Stewart always says and in Malaysia on this day it certainly was, cheap ticket, beautiful sunny day and 100 000 of my closest F1 friends, you really can't ask for more. And oh yeah, the winner was Fernando Alonso with Team McLaren.

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