Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guide to Watching F1 Event

Since I’ve been posting a whole lot of food and a feature of an event on my initial postings, I decided it is about time I put in a partner for my Trekking article with another that borders on the testosterone population (oppps, no worries, ladies do have it too, you’ll know later).  I am referring to my adventure travelling to Malaysia to watch (drum roll please)….. F1 RACE EVENT at Sepang InternationalCircuit.  And do note, I haven’t been to the Malaysian shores and haven’t been to any racing event.  Oh, and by the way word of caution, I am a Ferrari fan so yield if you must (pun intended).

Attending and seeing a real F1 race car live in action has been in my ‘Top 26’ things to do before I turn 26 but somehow, being in Philippines makes it extra difficult.  So I summoned all the courage in me, well that includes an eager co-worker too at the side, to finally do something about this wish of mine.  This blog shall focus on the steps we took in order to SECURE and SURVIVE this trip.  So with hope in one hand and the love for everything F1… Mark, Lala and I embarked on our adventure.  Just to give you a feel of the atmosphere at the circuit see below video clip (well at least the sound, ehe)

video

PIT STOP 1:  Securing our Tickets to the event (this was the most difficult to do)
If you intend on watching the Grand Prix in the Asian regions for 2012, December is the best time to do it because majority of the countries hosting the event are offering discounts.  Malaysia for example is offering a whopping 50% discount already if you secure your tickets before December 31.  Researching for this article had me rethinking my pledge not to go the race next year (I’m trying to be as thrifty as possible so I can eat and attend events more for the blog).  We had ours online, I think this is the most efficient way although there are a few existing local group who can do it for you although the prices are expectedly higher.  I would want to route you to the site/link we used, but there might be better deals so I’ll just update this post when I found one.

DETOUR 1:  a quick detour while you are thinking of which ticket to buy is to decide which seat you want to experience ---- translated into F1 language that means which view you want (and afford).  Note also that every country has its own racing circuit and that translate to a different lay-out, seat and view types.  Malaysia International Circuit for example has about 16 options.  Singapore offers a whole new deck of options as they have theirs done on actual public roads (yup, just so you know, the streets of Singapore are so good, they pass the F1 standards) as the racing track.  So you have then the whole of Singapore (or at least areas covered by the roads to be used) as your seat option.  I’ve read of blogs and personal accounts of them watching the race from below their hotel window, next to the restaurant right beside the road, etc.  Now just like in a concert, the closer you are in the action, the higher the cost.  Although for my Malaysia trip, ours was not that costly but the view was breathless.  We had ours on the hillstand.  Below pix shows you the layout of Sepang International Circuit as well as different views taken from pictures when I attended the actual race.




Sepang Crowd --- Hillstand
This was how close we were to the track
ROAD BLOCK:  Securing a Plane going to Malaysia
Options for plane ride are Cebu Pacific and Air Asia for Clark Airport, while the selection grows more for those who will be Manila bound via NAIA.  There should be promos every so often so you need to be both patient and strategic as you do not want to book your flight so close to the event date.  (Do not underestimate.  The idea that ‘Filipinos are not into the grandprix anyways so there will be flights eventually, will not guarantee you a safe pass).  As for our case, we opted to be safe and booked flights in January.  Lo and behold, a few weeks after there was a promo!  The news crushed our hearts (as much as it crushed our wallets, well that was an exaggeration but a promo is a promo still), but it was a consensus from all three of us that we’d rather be safe than pay more later.

Timing is also important.  Now by timing I meant the flight that you will be taking.  This was one area I think we over-looked.  Why?  Well, we did not factor in an earlier flight for us to have enough window to explore and have the opportunity to watch the qualifying events.  Now if you intend to go around Malaysia too and really immerse yourself in the ‘Grandprix village’ when you go, I suggest you book either the earliest flight out or the most, a day before.


Below is the actual screen shot I took of a sample roundtrip flight cost (date is 12/8, around 3pm). It is still quite pricey I would say.  On this you have to really suck it all up and decide.



PIT STOP 3:  Finding a temporary ‘Home’
After securing the event passes and flights, the next thing you would want to settle immediately is your temporary home during your stay.  You are lucky if you have relatives or friends who are already living to your destination of choice.  This will already create a big slash in your computation of expenses.  With the case of Malaysia, I’ve seen Filipinos (let me correct that, is there any place where we don’t have Filipinos anyway? Ehe) during this trip so try re-establishing your contacts.  Our choice, after exhausting our social media contacts to the 3rd degree, was to book a hotel.  Thank God for Agoda as they gave us many options to choose from.  We got a booking at My Hotel which is located near the railway station so it was a good enough place I may say.   

My Hotel's facade (Yup, the name is really MY HOTEL)
A decent room for three (3) people, that's Lala on the window
The Location... The place wasn't hard to find
The internet has a lot of information making it impossible to get lost
Hotels closer to SIC are expectedly costly even if you book early as the schedule of the racing event is already known to the world.  Don’t worry though if you book a little farther as Malaysia’s transit system is quite decent and easy to follow.


DETOUR:  Researching, researching, researching
Another detour I consistently advocate for every travel or adventure (or even eating escapades) is to do your homework and research.  The internet offers tons of information which will give you an idea to make better decisions.  Planning becomes altogether easy.  The first thing that you need to look into will be the racing schedules for 2012, so you can check if you that elusive ‘leave of absence’ is at least worth battling-out with your boss.

Check also which venue you want to visit, I suggest that you go to a place where you may also do other things apart from the racing event (which have schedules usually in the afternoon anyway).  Below are the main race sites you can visit for the Asian leg.  Reading blogs of those who have attended will also be helpful.

Official F1 Website
Malaysian Grand Prix
Singaporean Grand Prix
Korean Grand Prix
Japan Grand Prix
PIT STOP 5:  Deciding on the Itinerary
Will this trip be an all-racing-event type or do you intend to also explore the place?  Make an itinerary factoring the information you gathered in the internet including travel time.  This one, I did not find in the internet but word of caution for those favoring the Malaysian leg, please note that after the race, the traffic gets very tight.  As in two hours worth of being stuck in traffic on the final race day.  So while we sat in the bus, we said goodbye to our visit to the China town as it was already 8pm of our final day in Malaysia.  Also, most racing circuit would have a special racing event package for their buses so make sure you go and learn as much from them as they provide hassle free ingress and egress to the venue.

Here are some of the pictures I had from that trip as well as some of the kits and bus tickets.

The crowd was overwhelming
Obviously a Ferrari fan
Obviously not a Ferrari fan, ehe
The Ferrari Store.. i wished i had more money.. sponsor, anyone?
Me feeling Rain, yep he performed  there
For general reference, please see below over-all 2012 schedule:


01
2012 FORMULA 1 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX (Melbourne)
16 - 18 Mar
02
2012 FORMULA 1 PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX (Kuala Lumpur)
23 - 25 Mar
03
2012 FORMULA 1 UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX (Shanghai)
13 - 15 Apr
04
2012 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX (Sakhir)
20 - 22 Apr
05
FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA SANTANDER 2012 (Catalunya)
11 - 13 May
06
FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2012 (Monte Carlo)
24 - 27 May
07
FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA 2012 (Montréal)
08 - 10 Jun
08
2012 FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE (Valencia)
22 - 24 Jun
09
2012 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX (Silverstone)
06 - 08 Jul
10
FORMULA 1 GROSSER PREIS SANTANDER VON DEUTSCHLAND 2012 (Hockenheim)
20 - 22 Jul
11
FORMULA 1 ENI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2012 (Budapest)
27 - 29 Jul
12
2012 FORMULA 1 SHELL BELGIAN GRAND PRIX (Spa-Francorchamps)
31 Aug - 02 Sep
13
FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO SANTANDER D'ITALIA 2012 (Monza)
07 - 09 Sep
14
2012 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX (Singapore)
21 - 23 Sep
15
2012 FORMULA 1 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX (Suzuka)
05 - 07 Oct
16
2012 FORMULA 1 KOREAN GRAND PRIX (Yeongam)
12 - 14 Oct
17
2012 FORMULA 1 AIRTEL GRAND PRIX OF INDIA (New Delhi)
26 - 28 Oct
18
2012 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX (Yas Marina Circuit)
02 - 04 Nov
19
2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX (Austin)
16 - 18 Nov
20
FORMULA 1 GRANDE PRÊMIO DO BRASIL 2012 (São Paulo)
23 - 25 Nov

20 comments:

  1. I am not into sports but your post made me excited about car racing. Anyway, thanks for the tips. I am planning to go to Malaysia this May 2012, maybe I can try the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2012 (Monte Carlo). :)

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  2. F1 Racing... That is my dream, i'll try to be there in March 23 i'll better check my schedule first.. thanks for the info.

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    1. if March is your target, better step up the preparations ehe.. tickets for the event may now already be at their full price already. just the same I think discounted or not, the experience is well worth it

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  3. nice informative blog. i have plans of going to sepang to watch F1, or perhaps in singapore during SG Grand Prix. sana may ganito rin sa pinas. F3 lang ata tayo.

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    1. Yes, that of SG is one dream I will get soon enough,,, mejo pricey lang ng konti kasi pero given a good spot since it is a street race one can get good photos (and experience)

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  4. Watched F1 in Singapore in 2008 (I think?!?)Nice shots, especially the last picture! hehe

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    1. haha YES especially that last photo... thanks for visiting! Do add up yourself on the members' list if you want

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  5. Replies
    1. yes please do share it to us too! thanks for the blog visit

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  6. I've never seen an actual F1 Race and I don't think I'll ever will but I do enjoy watching the races on tv, if they are covered...

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    Replies
    1. Never say never.... there's always that opportunity once you put your focus into it.. that of the TV pales in comparison with the live experience

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  7. Wow, I wish to witness it live too.

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    Replies
    1. Yes there are plenty of race schedules around Asia...do try

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  8. Looks exciting. How I wish I can also watch this live.

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    Replies
    1. please do clint.. it is an experience worth engaging with

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  9. This is exciting. You know I love to watch any kind of racing. F1 Grand Prix is another kind of race to watch.

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    Replies
    1. great.. hope Philippines can soon invest on something like this

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  10. that's really exciting, and you are so lucky that you have witness such awesome event. I know the feeling of excitement, hahaha now I recall my memorable moments riding on dripting race cars with Alex Perez.

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