Formula 1

Fueling the Passion – Our Unforgettable First Encounters with Live Formula One RaceFans

Anyone who has seen a Formula 1 car with their own eyes will tell you the same thing: there is nothing better than seeing the fastest racing cars in the world with your own eyes.

Judging by the sights, sounds and even smells, watching Formula 1 with your own eyes is an exciting experience that simply cannot be replicated on television.

But for every Formula 1 fan who returns year after year to their home Grand Prix, or for those of us lucky enough to follow this exciting sport around the world, there is always the opportunity to see a Formula 1 car up close for the first time. Regular SportsNewsDock contributors take a trip down memory lane to remember their own experiences when they first saw Formula One…

Pitting and winning

In my first Grand Prix experience, I witnessed the victory of the greatest masters of Formula 1. Like, like, something like. To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure who won when the checkered flag went down.

I left the 1998 British Grand Prix at Silverstone shivering, soaked through and confused by one of the strangest findings in a Formula One race. This race is remembered as “the one that Michael Schumacher won in the pit lane”. However, due to my family’s vantage point at Cops Corner – the first corner on the old Silverstone configuration – this detail was left out for us, not to mention the explanation for this strange turn of events.

I saw an F1 car for the first time during practice. At a quarter past six on a chilly but fortunately dry Saturday morning, we went for a walk down the pit lane to see the grid with our own eyes. The 1998 field was an odd bunch, a misguided FIA rule change spawning a particularly narrow generation of cars. But the cars did not disappoint on the track.

Later that day during qualifying, we watched them come out of Woodcote, grow out of the spots until they seemed too close to the right-hander to get past him, and then change direction with a speed and composure that defied formidable forces at work. . The screech of every V10 car was an attack on my eardrums, which pounded in my skull long after every driver was out of sight in Maggott’s direction.

The downpour began shortly after pole winner Mika Hakkinen took the field. Halfway through, it began to tip over, with cars flying off the wet track, and eventually a safety car was deployed.

In the days before mobile internet, we had little chance to follow what happened after the restart with 11 laps to go, although we saw Schumacher immediately pass Giancarlo Fisichella to get Hakkinen’s attention. We didn’t know that Schumacher was already in trouble for passing Alexander Wurz’s other Benetton under the yellow flag.

The next time Hakkinen lost control immediately after he left our field of vision, and Schumacher took the lead. So we were baffled when, at the end of the race, Häkkinen passed by as the clear winner and Schumacher was nowhere to be seen. We later learned that he rolled into the pits to serve a 10-second yellow flag penalty, a rule quirk that allows him to do so after he has already crossed the line.

Incomprehensible rules leading to a scandal after the race over the result? How little time has changed…

Keith Collantine

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Memorable Debut Down Under

A decade after the seven-year-old first got into Formula One, he knelt down on all fours trying to watch the cars rush over the corner of the bridge through a hole in the fence during the 1997 British Grand Prix, which the now 17-year-old found himself on plane from Adelaide to Melbourne in early March.

Albert Park was far from Silverstone. The gap in overall organizational quality between two events is roughly equal to the physical distance between venues. It’s how much of the city, already on a sporting high since the start of the Australian rules football season, keeps the party going by letting this ridiculous circus of speed take over its largest public park for a four-day Formula One festival.

Hamilton climbed to the podium during his debut in Melbourne. This weekend in 2007 saw the sport enter a new era. Michael Schumacher is gone – for now – McLaren is making headlines in Testing alongside world champion Fernando Alonso and new rookie teammate, defending GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton’s face graced countless newsstand front pages, nearly every promising primer on who this startlingly unknown was.

Since then, millions of people have watched Hamilton compete in the Grand Prix from the track, but on that March day in Melbourne, only 105,000 of us were there to witness his first performance.

Hamilton, just a cub among the lions of Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen on the grid, growled the loudest at the start, even if he was not leading in the first corner. Although the race itself was quiet for Albert Park (most crowd reaction thanks to David Coulthard attacking poor Alexander Wurz at Turn 3), the strategic battle between McLaren and Ferrari at the forefront was more than enough fun for the young Formula 1 fanatic. 1.

When it was over, Räikkönen may have enjoyed a perfect Ferrari debut and Alonso was pleased to have started what was undoubtedly a bright future with McLaren in second place, but when a few thousand of us were looking straight at the pits from the stands, Lane is by far the biggest welcome reserved for the plucky 22 year old.

Next season, none of us at the Australian Grand Prix would have to be told who Lewis Hamilton was.

Will Wood

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Jumping in a Honda

While I have had different motorsport memories throughout my life thanks to my parents being medical delegates at various racing events, my memories of seeing a Formula 1 car for the first time are controversial. However, I do have one memory when I visited the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​in 2008 because my father was working at the event at the time.

A unique opportunity in Goodwood. My mom and I ended up in a closed area on top of the hill at the rally stage, watching every car and bike come around the corner and park in a neat line in front of us.

This year was attended by both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, which they often did at this time. The festival always fell on the weekend before the British Grand Prix so that the Formula 1 drivers were free and, more importantly, in town.

When Jenson Button pulled the Honda RA107 up the hill and stopped it in front of us, he went off to sign autographs. Starting to chat with one of the mechanics who worked on the car about their season and how it was going, he suddenly asked if I would like to get in the car. With an offer I couldn’t refuse, I jumped at the chance and hurried to the car, fearful that I wouldn’t be able to squeeze my hips into the cab.

Luckily, I slid inside, stuck my feet into the bottom of the chassis, and sat there, smiling awkwardly for the photos – afraid to touch anything. At first I was struck by how uncomfortable it was to sit as the seat was riveted to Button’s body. I was then shocked at how low I felt and how poor visibility seemed. However, I was delighted with the experience and knew that I would never forget it. The mechanic very kindly helped me get out of the car (not easy in a skirt), started the engine and drove off. Then I was already addicted to sports, but this experience will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Claire Cottingham

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Aiming in a straight line

My first experience of seeing an F1 car at speed was at Duxford Airfield in the Cambridgeshire countryside in 2009.

Renault did the tests right on the runway and given that all of their visits were on weekdays, they must have been during the school holidays as I don’t think at a young age I would have been so mean to stay clean. watch F1.

Khan performed test assignments for Renault. No wonder it’s an airfield, but I remember it was very windy in Duxford and any time spent in the little hut at the end of the runway was just as valuable as watching a Renault R29 whizz past due to the frequent harsh weather. And even in the hut it was easy to hear the roar of the Renault V8 engine. Apparently, the people of Duxford village could too, which is not very good.

The reason Renault was there was because F1 banned traditional seasonal testing that year, instead giving teams the opportunity to do one-day wind tests eight times during the season at “FIA-approved straight-line or constant-radius venues”. Duxford was such a place and continued to be used by F1 teams until Marussia tester Maria de Villota was involved in an infamous accident in 2012.

I’m really not sure if these tests were published in advance by Renault or by the aviation museum at the airfield, but I do know that admission was free and Renault prepared to welcome the spectators with merchandise for distribution. This included a poster of the car, as well as a lineup of drivers and test drivers from that year, two of whom I saw in action. Unfortunately it wasn’t Fernando Alonso and I can’t remember if Nelson Piquet Jr was in the car one of the days I looked, but I definitely saw Adam Hahn driving.

Khan was one of the riders on the poster and finished third in the Euro 3000 series last year. He also competed for Pakistan in the A1GP team for two seasons.

I may not have seen a F1 car go around any corner at Duxford, but it’s definitely better than watching Spain’s Sakon Yamamoto crash in practice for the British Grand Prix a year later.

Ida Wood

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to you

What was your first experience of seeing Formula 1 in the flesh? Have you ever had to sit in a real F1 car?

Have your say in the comments.

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