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#1 Eastern

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 06:08

I thought of posting this in RC - but it all seems to be petrol head topics in there, and my question here posed is more of a lifestyle thing....

 

After the excellent race (and how often can one say that these days) at Silverstone yesterday, watched on my tablet with many page reloads, Mrs E smiled at my enthusiasm and asked me the following question:

 

"Since you have never been physically to a Grand Prix - how about I treat you next year to one, for your 70th birthday?"

 

"But.....there is a condition. It must be in the Paddock Club!"

 

Well, my response was obvious, and without ado I started researching the costs of the PC, and my eyes started watering. That is serious money to spend for one couple, to which one has to add air tickets, hotels and incidentals. A big budget for three days of self-indulgence!

 

Nevertheless, we are going to do it. After all, we are selling quite a few tassels these days. So my questions to you, dear friends, are foremost: is it worth it, and where would be the best venue?

 

My birthday is in early June, so logically Montreal would be the best choice time-wise: but is it the best event for one's first experience, of race and of PC?

 

I was looking also at the Red Bull PC: it seems like a lot of fun even if it is more expensive. And it gives you a lot more exposure to a specific team, its garage, drivers and personnel. What do you think?

 

I would love to have your thoughts and suggestions!



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#2 Diablobb81

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 06:15

I have no clue or advice to give you but i hope you have the best time of your life at the track. :)

Edited by Diablobb81, 17 July 2017 - 06:15.


#3 Eastern

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 06:32

I have no clue or advice to give you but i hope you have the best time of your life at the track. :)

 

Well it has already started - a year in advance: Mrs E has just asked me with the most innocent look in her eye "what do I wear?"



#4 king_crud

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:13

How much is the PC?

#5 Eastern

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:18

Depending on the venue - $4,800 to $8,000 per person for the three day period. Average seems to be around the $5,000 mark.


Edited by Eastern, 17 July 2017 - 07:19.


#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:19

How much is the PC?

I think it's one of those things that if you have to ask the price you can't afford it  ...  ;)



#7 Zac

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:20

I have never been in the Paddock club and I've only been to Silverstone and Barcelona so I can't give you much advice but I think it's a brilliant idea. We took my Dad to the Spanish GP for his 60th (my brothers and I are F1 fans too so we all went). Although my Dad had been an F1 fan most of his life, he had never been to a race before and he loved it. There's something about the sound of the cars up close and the smell and the atmosphere....



#8 Eastern

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:31

I think it's one of those things that if you have to ask the price you can't afford it  ...  ;)

 

 

I can't afford it either - but we have decided to do it nevertheless!



#9 jimjimjeroo

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:47

Maybe hang fire for a little while. Liberty may have changes afoot

#10 Gary Davies

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:12

Hmmm. I'm going to be a wet blanket. Some years ago now, I was invited to the Philip Morris Corporate Suite in the Paddock Club above the pits in Albert Park. It was directly over the Ferrari garage. Of course, one was presented with endless bowing and scraping, drinks and nosh. And one could (now and then) see down onto the pit row as the cars entered and left the pits.

 

BUT..... the balcony overlooking the pits was hogged all day long by, er, unsavoury characters intent on filling themselves with booze and with seemingly little interest in the racing. Inside the room there were large TV monitors but also lots of people who seemed to float up all day long and start conversations about a broad range of topics but not including the Grand Prix.

 

Ghastly experience, relieved only by the fact that I didn't have to pay. Now perhaps the Paddock Club propre is a quite different experience but as I walked along the corridor at the rear of the hospitality suites, they all appeared to be more or less the same as the Philip Morris Suite.

 

Sorry old boy, and regards to the Memsahib.   :well:



#11 Jackman

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:31

I can ask a mate who works in the PC which one he recommends if you'd like.

#12 Eastern

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:44

I can ask a mate who works in the PC which one he recommends if you'd like.

 

That would be kind - thank you :)



#13 Eastern

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:45

Hmmm. I'm going to be a wet blanket. Some years ago now, I was invited to the Philip Morris Corporate Suite in the Paddock Club above the pits in Albert Park. It was directly over the Ferrari garage. Of course, one was presented with endless bowing and scraping, drinks and nosh. And one could (now and then) see down onto the pit row as the cars entered and left the pits.

 

BUT..... the balcony overlooking the pits was hogged all day long by, er, unsavoury characters intent on filling themselves with booze and with seemingly little interest in the racing. Inside the room there were large TV monitors but also lots of people who seemed to float up all day long and start conversations about a broad range of topics but not including the Grand Prix.

 

Ghastly experience, relieved only by the fact that I didn't have to pay. Now perhaps the Paddock Club propre is a quite different experience but as I walked along the corridor at the rear of the hospitality suites, they all appeared to be more or less the same as the Philip Morris Suite.

 

Sorry old boy, and regards to the Memsahib.   :well:

 

 

Oh dear..... :(

 

The memsahib reciprocates :)



#14 pacificquay

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:49

Spa would be my choice



#15 carlt

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:26

How about a venue/city/country with some culture you would like to experience alongside the F1 experience,

I would make a week of it and feel happier about the flights/cost etc 

 

sounds like a fantastic 70th , enjoy !



#16 Alfisti

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:40

I had a pass in Montreal and TBH, underwhelming. The best part BY MILES is the walk in the pits and we had access to the RBR garage where we could get up close to the cars. 

 

As for a venue, well with regular GA or grandstand i have been to Melbourne, Montreal, Spa and Monza. Melbourne, by a country mile, was the best organised and have a super deep support category schedule. But a blank slate and given you are closer to europe, be very tempted to do Monaco but if costs are prohibitive for a paddock pass, would maybe do Austria 'cos ****ing gorgeous and a short rack. 


Edited by Alfisti, 17 July 2017 - 10:42.


#17 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:12

You have a great wife there.

 

If somehow fell over a pile of cash I told the brothers several years ago we would go Full Monty on the PC and do it at Japanese GP. Where ever you go have a great great time going.

 

:cool:



#18 Eastern

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:56

You have a great wife there.

 

If somehow fell over a pile of cash I told the brothers several years ago we would go Full Monty on the PC and do it at Japanese GP. Where ever you go have a great great time going.

 

:cool:

 

 

Doesn't it always rain at the Japanese GP? On the other hand, Japan is definitely on the bucket list, and perhaps we can combine it with some other places in Japan?



#19 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 13:13

Doesn't it always rain at the Japanese GP? On the other hand, Japan is definitely on the bucket list, and perhaps we can combine it with some other places in Japan?

 

Exactly.

 

1) Suzuka.

2) Japan on bucket list can be taken care of same time.

c) All of the above.

 

:cool:



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#20 ali.unal

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 13:17

I used to run an Formula 1 blog a few years back. I had a very respectful amount of followers and I sort ot was known by a very small circle of Turkish F1 fans. One of my followers, who later became my friend, was working in an ad agency that worked for Bridgestone on an ad campaign during the 2010 (?) Turkish GP. They asked the agency to invite bloggers to the Paddock Club as Bridgestone's guests who then could provide content (as in a sponsored content). So, I was one of the bloggers who was picked for a 2-day Paddock Club experience. I got to see M. Schumacher (my fave), walked around the paddock, pitwall and Lotus' team garage, watched the Qualifying and the Race from the Club. It was one of my unforgettable experiences, that's for sure. Though I felt extremely self-conscious around all those extremely rich who didn't even bother to watch race, I took advantage of every hour I spent there. I ate things I couldn't pronounce the name of and drank Möett as an appetizer non-stop.

I took everything including the Menu as a souvenir! Ha, that was something. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Hit me if you have questions.

#21 404KF2

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 17:39

Wow that's some crazy money! Why not just go to the GP - excellent seats of course - and use the extra money for something more wholesome? It's a lovely sentiment nevertheless and if you do it, try to find a venue where the pit location is within eyeshot of an interesting part of the circuit. It seems to me that most aren't. Spa is an exception with La Source and the run up to Eau Rouge (assuming you can see all that from the location of the PC).

In Montreal (highly recommended GP) I think the pits are not at the most interesting part of the circuit; when my Dad and I drove across the country in my old 405 in 1998 to see it, we were seated at the exit of the Casino hairpin, which was really quite a good spot, despite being medium priced tickets. Bring a stinky cigar or two if sitting in the MTL stands, even if - like me - you don't smoke, to get back at all the ciggy smokers. Your wife can partake too! It was great!

#22 condor

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 17:46

I would suggest offering some tassels for you and Mrs E's PC attendance - Force India might be the most likely team to be  supportive. 



#23 pRy

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 19:21

I suggest ignoring your birthday is in June and just go to the event you most like the look of for a fancy PC experience/long weekend away. For me that would be either Monaco, Singapore or Abu Dhabi. And if the Redbull package lets you get into a garage etc go for that too. Screw the budget. It's a once in a life time experience. 


Edited by pRy, 17 July 2017 - 19:23.


#24 PassWind

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 20:41

Eastern I think its a fantastic idea, and to be able to share the experience with your wife for really that once in a life time experience will be simply superb I would say. As to which race a hard decision, I like the idea of mixing the race with a holiday experience in the region. I would say it would depend on how you like to travel to, Goodwood festival and Silverstone are close together, country were you are comfortable so maybe the overall stress level doing something new might be advantageous. But I gather you are pretty comfortable being anywhere, and if thats a bonus in visiting a new place go that route. 

 

I read good things about Singapore, Australia and Japan. Australia has a pretty big undercard racing schedule. There may be an iconic track you have to see in Europe, tough choice for mine I would probably pick Silverstone just because of the possibilities to maybe add an Ashes Test, Wimbledon and Goodwood in there while touring the UK. 



#25 repcobrabham

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 23:24

do it!

 

i had the exceptional good fortune to attend the 2003 british gp as a guest of bmw williams (back when they were still a tier-1 team with JPM and ralf driving) and it was one of the most amazing days of my life.

 

a car picked me, a mate and a few other guests up at dawn in london and took us to northampton. quite literally just as we reached the tail of the traffic jam, we turned off into a hunting lodge and sat down to a full english. just as we were finishing up, we were told that our helicopter was ready.

 

pardon?

 

yep, a great big double-cabin metallic purple unit (hereafter known as the throbbing purple chopper) was warming up the rotors as took the rear exit. in we jumped - i made sure to get the front seat - and up we went! i've got some amazing photos of us descending from the clouds above a literal parking lot of helicopters. and our bloke literally parked the TPC like he'd nabbed the last spot outside the supermarket.

 

out we got and walked over to the entrance to the PC, only to be told we'd arrived 30 minutes before opening. but perhaps we'd like a tour of the pit area, including the williams garage? i immediately recognised the PR guy but all of us instinctively decided to shut up and let him do his day job. he was the acme of polite professionalism, although i had to give him a mild reprimand when he accused me of grabbing my camera while inspecting JPM's front wing - "i'm just getting my glasses, DUDE". at the end i led the group in giving profuse thanks, and afterwards complimented my younger mate - a rookie journo - on being so cool around our celebrity guide. he said he had no idea who he was.

 

"mate, that was peter phillips. you know - the queen's eldest grandson?"

 

cue stunned expression: "oh my god, i've shaken hands with royalty! my grandmother won't believe it!"

 

it is only at this stage that we actually get into the PC.

 

to be honest, the next couple of hours are a blur. everywhere we turned, there are waiters with glasses of mumm champagne. fergie goes walking past in one direction, then arnie goes the other way. we get our photos taken and our heads superimposed on the drivers overalls of our choice. i take advantage of the unrestricted access to the garages to check out the dozens of gorgeous vintage racers that were part of the support schedule. i was very careful not to spill any champagne on the cars.

 

finally, we get called to lunch - which is of course a three-course feast matched with french wines. JPM doesn't show but ralf gives a rather half-hearted interview. i walk out afterwards and see MW regaling the jaguar tent like he's jay leno, up there by himself with the mic and slaying them. i think about hanging around to say hello but decide he's got a race to focus on (he came 14th and was lapped in a car that was never a chance, so i probably could've done so) and go back for dessert instead.

 

we then get summoned to our seats: the 2003 layout turned left at abbey instead of right like this year and we are sat in a stand overlooking the triangular complex ahead of the main straight comprising bridge, priory and luffield. it means we get a great view of the cars and also some almighty down-changes: i forget my earplugs and have to run back to get them, as the V10s are deafening - especially when they're all bunched on the first lap. luckily (for me) DC's headrest dislodged on lap six and the pace car came out while it was recovered so i'm able to fetch them without missing any action. we get to see RB's race-winning pass on KR (surely the only person on that grid still racing today) during what is one of the best races i've ever seen.

 

at the conclusion, we are escorted back to the TPC and evacuate the scene in a matter of minutes. we give the huddled masses a royal wave and return to reality.

 

i must admit i got it as a freebie but i'd shell out $10k or more for that experience if i was 70 and it was on my bucket list.


Edited by repcobrabham, 18 July 2017 - 02:42.


#26 Marc Sproule

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 01:42

montreal is one of my all-time favorite cities.

 

should you go there make sure you budget some time to spend in old-town.

 

two places you must go in old town.

 

one is a place where they make bagels

 

the other is the smoked meat sandwich place.

 

sorry i forgot the name for the bagel place. perhaps fairmount?

 

schwartz's for the smoked meat.


Edited by Marc Sproule, 18 July 2017 - 01:46.


#27 E1pix

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:54

Though the fees do sound insane, I think it far more insane to not go. Why do we work our whole lives if we can't enjoy what we worked for?

Paraphrasing RepcoBrabham, Do It Man. Have no expectations and keep it uncomplicated and it'll be far more fun.

If me, Spa, or maybe Monaco, no question. For me it'd be about the track -- and nothing else nearby.

#28 Eastern

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 12:02

Well, I think we have decided, and many thanks for those of you that made suggestions.

 

It has to be Monaco. And we have decided to spend more rather than less the original budget. We are going for the Ultimate Package: it includes 4 nights hotel in Monte Carlo itself, chauffeur pickup at Nice airport on Thursday, Saturday watching FP and qualy from a yacht, Sunday from the roof of the Caravelles Hotel with all the free bubbly that Madame E can consume - which is considerable; there is also a yacht party included, and then chauffeur delivery back to catch the plane on Monday morning. 

 

So, no Paddock Club after all. I get it that although you get to see the start/finish line and maybe the pits, you don't get to see much more of the track than that.

 

Then a few days in our own flat in Paris, and a slap-up lunch at the Collectionneur Hotel for my birthday - and back to Cairo!

 

Here are the details: https://www.grandprixevents.com/f1-races/monaco/the-ultimate-package 

 

It is a shitload of money, but like E1pix said above, why work like a dog - specially at my age - and not get to be financially irresponsible every once in a while?



#29 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 13:23

Well, I think we have decided, and many thanks for those of you that made suggestions.

 

It has to be Monaco. And we have decided to spend more rather than less the original budget. We are going for the Ultimate Package: it includes 4 nights hotel in Monte Carlo itself, chauffeur pickup at Nice airport on Thursday, Saturday watching FP and qualy from a yacht, Sunday from the roof of the Caravelles Hotel with all the free bubbly that Madame E can consume - which is considerable; there is also a yacht party included, and then chauffeur delivery back to catch the plane on Monday morning. 

 

So, no Paddock Club after all. I get it that although you get to see the start/finish line and maybe the pits, you don't get to see much more of the track than that.

 

Then a few days in our own flat in Paris, and a slap-up lunch at the Collectionneur Hotel for my birthday - and back to Cairo!

 

Here are the details: https://www.grandprixevents.com/f1-races/monaco/the-ultimate-package 

 

It is a shitload of money, but like E1pix said above, why work like a dog - specially at my age - and not get to be financially irresponsible every once in a while?

 

Ohhhh.... Spousal Unit would LOVE that... and she can chug Bubbles with the best of them, very likely Mrs. E as well.

 

Have a GREAT time doing this.

 

:cool:



#30 pRy

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 17:45

It is a shitload of money, but like E1pix said above, why work like a dog - specially at my age - and not get to be financially irresponsible every once in a while?

 

Absolutely. Can't wait to see the photos Eastern.



#31 repcobrabham

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:51

sensational! if you're going that hard, spend the extra 200 euros on the sea view room at le meridien. nobody looks at the mountains in monaco!

 

i'd certainly spend up in your position. my parents have been retired for over a decade now and drop a bomb on a big holiday once a year. to give you an idea of how much they spend: they paid for my family and my sister's family to join them on a south pacific cruise last month - accommodation comprised a top-level suite for the grandparents plus two balcony staterooms for the parents, each with an adjoining internal room for the kids - but admitted that the whole thing cost less than the sort of cruise they go on by themselves.



#32 Eastern

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 08:26

sensational! if you're going that hard, spend the extra 200 euros on the sea view room at le meridien. nobody looks at the mountains in monaco!

 

i'd certainly spend up in your position. my parents have been retired for over a decade now and drop a bomb on a big holiday once a year. to give you an idea of how much they spend: they paid for my family and my sister's family to join them on a south pacific cruise last month - accommodation comprised a top-level suite for the grandparents plus two balcony staterooms for the parents, each with an adjoining internal room for the kids - but admitted that the whole thing cost less than the sort of cruise they go on by themselves.

 

Wow! Could they invite us too, next year?  :drunk:



#33 repcobrabham

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 23:31

i believe you'll be occupied elsewhere   ;)



#34 Eastern

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 03:26

There is a hitch: we have to pay 100% upfront, which is fine. But their cancellation policy is 100% forfeiture. The full amount is lost. I am not sure that I can put such a large sum of money at risk. I know that there is cancellation insurance, but the terms are usually riddled with possibilities for the insurers to wriggle out of their obligations.

 

What to do?



#35 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 09:57

There is a hitch: we have to pay 100% upfront, which is fine. But their cancellation policy is 100% forfeiture. The full amount is lost. I am not sure that I can put such a large sum of money at risk. I know that there is cancellation insurance, but the terms are usually riddled with possibilities for the insurers to wriggle out of their obligations.

 

What to do?

 

Insure and pay.

 

:cool:



#36 Eastern

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 11:13

Insure and pay.

 

:cool:

 

 

Best quote I got so far was €3,600.........................



#37 Vitesse2

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 11:52

... ralf gives a rather half-hearted interview.

No change there then! When they were handing out the personality traits, I think Michael got the PR skills and Ralfie settled for fashion sense.  ;)



#38 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 12:43

Best quote I got so far was €3,600.........................

 

Then chance it... You can not tease all of us, we sit like drooling dogs envious we can not do this... and then not go. If you do not take the SuperDuperMumboJumbo then at least go the way of Mrs. E with the Paddock Club package.

 

Please.

 

:cool:



#39 Eastern

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 15:46

Drool on!!

 

I cracked it: Journeyman Insurance Services. $148 for full travel/medical including cancellation. Limit of cover for cancellation alone: $10,000 per person - so we are on....

 

Apart from that, I spoke to the organisers, and they reassured me that Monaco being Monaco, they would have zero difficulty re-selling our pakage if we cancelled: possibility for even more than we paid.

 

So I am going to book it tomorrow - especially since Mrs E is getting cold feet!



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#40 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 17:13

Drool on!!

 

I cracked it: Journeyman Insurance Services. $148 for full travel/medical including cancellation. Limit of cover for cancellation alone: $10,000 per person - so we are on....

 

Apart from that, I spoke to the organisers, and they reassured me that Monaco being Monaco, they would have zero difficulty re-selling our pakage if we cancelled: possibility for even more than we paid.

 

So I am going to book it tomorrow - especially since Mrs E is getting cold feet!

 

Ply her with Champus... 

 

:cool:



#41 repcobrabham

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 22:56

be sure to let us know when you're locked in, Mr E!

 

No change there then! When they were handing out the personality traits, I think Michael got the PR skills and Ralfie settled for fashion sense.  ;)

 

true that. i watched GP coverage at a pub in germany back in 2004 and was stunned to see MS on a panel show in the hours beforehand. i couldn't understand what he was saying but he was clearly a very funny man in his native tongue - firing off zingers and generally having his fellow panellists in hysterics.



#42 Eastern

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 04:08

be sure to let us know when you're locked in, Mr E!

 

 

I am locked in. Paid the deposit yesterday. Very excited, even though it is almost a year away. I have been watching F1 from Egypt on dodgy satellite channels and even dodgier live feeds on a farting internet connection for 25 years: and now at last I get to see it in the flesh. The only shame is that the cars are going to be disfigured with those ghastly halos :drunk:  



#43 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 09:34

The difference between dodgy Egyptian satellite channels, HD quality from Fios or any other TV via air paid or not can in no way be compared to being there live. It is a spectacle completely different from what you have been following.

 

All of us should go to a race at least once.

 

:cool:



#44 Eastern

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 07:59

Well I am now a month away! Does anyone have any practical or logistical suggestions for someone who has never been to a live race?



#45 Risil

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 19:29

Get there well in advance and soak up the atmosphere! Every race meeting I've ever been to has had me in kid/sweetshop mode. The great thing about big races is that all kinds of strange and wonderful people converge on the locality and you have at least one shared interest with them.



#46 Eastern

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 20:39

Well......here we are in Monaco!

 

We left Cairo at 1 am, and by 3 pm, after all sorts of adventures, we found ourselves in Stand K just in time for FP 2.

 

......and btw Mrs E, who knows the square root of fanny adam about F1, opined that pink was a colour for pussies. On the other hand she felt tears welling in her eyes at the raw emotion of those cars, brilliant in colour and raucous in tone, as they flicked left and then right through that chicane by the swimming pool.

 

It didn't start in too promising a manner; we had a flight leaving Cairo in the middle of the night with that most ridiculous airline called Joon - the Airline for Millenials. What the fiuck is a millenial? They never even heard of millenials in Egypt. The business class cabin was full of fat middle aged Egyptians and hawagas (foreigner) such as me - not a millenial in sight except for those terribly eager young trendies in slacks and t-shirts that called them themselves cabin attendants and failed to feed us at all from one end of the flight to the other. Mrs E on the other hand was able to extort considerable quantities of champagne from these .....millennials. 

 

Anyhow, we made it, and on the flight to Nice, we found ourselves sitting next to a terribly nice elderly (well my age) Argentinian gentleman. Turns out he has some sort of corporate relationship with Sauber, and knows bugger all about F1: so he was very grateful for the briefing I was able to give to give him between Paris and Nice. 

 

Once clear of baggage reclaim we were met by a very presentable young French chap called David - pronounced the French way you understand, Dah-veed - who briskly and efficiently shepherded us and our bags to the biggest and most luxurious black Mercedes you ever saw, and after a spectacular drive along the various mountainous corniches, delivered us to the Meridien in Monte Carlo. 

 

Well we were bloody exhausted, but the electrifying atmosphere of Monaco on Grand Prix weekend did not permit us to crash in our comfortable and air conditioned hotel room. So down to the concierge we went , and in a trice we were in the back of a speedboat at full throttle chattering and banging through the swell, past the serried armadas of billionaire yachts on our way to the centre of the harbour. Dear friends, I cannot adequately describe the scene therein: row upon row of superyachts, draped in bimbos and flags and bunting, and jeroboams of bubbly, What a scene, shimmering in the brilliant sunlight of late May. 

 

But then we disembarked, right under the shadow of the Paddock Club. And everywhere we turned there was some official or another barring our way "mais non, Monsieur, pas par la!" It took us 45 minutes of uphill and downhill, turning back on our tracks until we finally found the ticket office. "How much for 2 people for the nearest stand to here?" The ficking comedian smirks and says "dix mille euros monsieur". But then he caught the expression on my face and muttered "one hundred and fifty euros, your excellency". Hundred and fifty euros to watch an hour and half of FP2? Really? I peeled of the notes, with a filthy at the comedian. Haha. Bit then without further ado we found ourselves trackside in stand K as FP2 started.  At the first whoosh and roar of a passing car - actually it was a Sauber -  the wife caught her breath, her eyes misted over, and she became an F1 disciple....

 

We had a lovely time. My only regret is that in real life as opposed to on the telly, it is really VERY bloody hard to identify a driver in his car as he hurtles by, We watched the whole of FP2, and then before the Porsches could start, 80% of the fans ****ed off. I don;t know about you but I thought this was a wee bit disrespectful to the Porsche drivers, who I thought were really great - and I LOVED the livery on those cars. Which reminds me, I was staggered how much more vibrant the colours of F1 cars are than what you see on the telly.

 

Anyhow, we eventually found ourselves on the speedboat back to the Meridien, and I found myself  next to a Ferrari crew member, and we had a lovely chat as we crossed Monte Carlo bay, the spray in our faces. Nice fellow, basically a huge fan of F!, and extremely sensitive to the doubts that the fan base is expressing over the current state of F1.

 

Then a lovely dinner in the sunset on the balcony of the hotel, and after 24 hours without sleep bit with some hugely vivid images of car racing in the streets of Monaco - off to bed, Tomorrow is  another story........



#47 Eastern

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 14:46

Day 2. Free day, haha! The Moneguasque officialdom was just as officious as on a racing day. To get to a spot that was only 50 feet away from where we needed to go - "mais non Monsieur, c'est pas permis, faut aller par la". Par la entailed a bloody route march uphill and then downhill like Marines stomping in the sunlit Brecon Beacons on the Cote d'Azur - and this to celebrate my 70th....

 

However. We got to try out a selection of stands, and I think we ended up liking K1 the best: you could see the cars coming down from the tunnel, the chicane and then a huge burst of speed down the straight into the left-hander to the piscine. Very exciting stuff, and I am sure the wife found it all very erotic. We watched the Porsche qualy from a stand just by the chicane before Rascasse: one of them took too big a bite out of the kerb, all four wheels off the ground, he took off like from a ski jump, and when he came down there was an awful lot of smoke and bits of Porsche all over the track. Red flag of course.

 

And then we watched race 1 of F2. Guys, this is maybe heresy, but I thought the F2 cars were FAR prettier than the F1 cars. Beautiful sleek lines with a minimum of busy and visually abhorrent appendages. I thought they looked like F1 cars did 20 years ago, really beautiful, and stunning liveries. And guess what? You could actually see the numbers on the cars so you had a vague idea of what was going on. When we watched the F1 machines yesterday, to be frank I could never tell who the drivers were in each of the team cars.

 

It was a great half day, and we were able to find a very fine quiet Thai establishment down a side street where we quaffed a pichet of very cold white, with a plate of dimsum. Our trip organisers had messed up and not got us sea view rooms at the hotel. Not such a big deal, but to make up for it they gave us two free pit lane passes for the afternoon. Great we thought, and replete with our dimsum and white wine we staggered off to the pitlane entry. And then it all turned to ****, and the Monegasques were presented with yet another opportunity to show off their authoritarian incompetence and total disregard for the fans. There must have been 2 or 3,000 of them who had queued for up to an hour for the pitlane to open at 2.30. When finally it opened closer to 3.30, the mood was then already turning a bit ugly. And then when the gendarmes arrived to move everyone on, because in fact the fans should have been queueing from the pitlane EXIT......the mutterings turned into a roar. One rozzer on a dinky little vespa was barking orders at us all as if we were prisoners taking part in a prison riot, scowled like a bear at a granny from Macclesfield standing next to me, and even put his hand on his holstered penis gun. Dear me, I survived several revolutions in the middle East, but would I survive the opening rounds of a Monaco weekend??

 

So we bailed out, tore up our precious pit passes, and ran the gauntlet of more monegasque officialdom to finally make it to our dinky little speedboat jetty just by the Red Bull Pleasure Palace. We roared once more back across the Bay to the Meridien, where we were confronted by the now complete Amber Lounge, together with the catwalk for tonight's F1 fashion parade. We are not invited, but it is just as well, because in an hour's time we are going to a F1 Legends cocktail, scooped up and deposited there in the back of a capacious Mercedes: the evening is hosted by Coulthard, Brundle and Di Resta, and we are supposed to meet other F1 personalities.

 

Oh I almost forgot. As we were being herded like sheep away from the wrong end of the pitlane, there was the vicious bark of a powerful motorbike gunning its engine behind us. As, slowly like sheep, we parted to allow the bike through - who was the rider that passed by so close I could almost smell his armpits? Well, it was Lewis of course, on the biggest bright red mother******* bike you ever saw  :eek:

 

So. After the F1 legends party we are walking from the Hermitage Hotel to the quayside where we are going to party like only an old hippy septuagenarian can party all night, on a bloody big yacht. Google it, is called the Baron Trenck. And tomorrow, David will scoop us up in his car and take us to spend the whole day on the Baron, watching F1 qualy and all the other events on track. 

 

I can'r wait.



#48 Eastern

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 23:02

I am not sure whether to continue with this narrative, it is all too surreal.

 

So we did go to the F1 Legends presentation. David picked us up in his monstrous Merc, and took us through Monaco's swirling and swooping streets including a a decent portion on the track itself, until he dropped us off at the Hermitage Hotel. We were greeted by a chap with a clipboard who checked our names and sent us in a lift into the dungeons of the hotel there to sit in a dark and intensely gloomy conference room facing an empty dais, wondering what offense we had committed to be treated so. Mrs E's spirits were lifted somewhat when a liveried waiter approached with a tray and murmured "champagne, Madame?". Her eyes lit up and gratefully she murmured to him "and is the Pope a catholic?" And then our new Finnish friends Heiki and Ingrid showed up and in no time we were chattering like sparrows in the gloom, when in stomped - in single file - our hosts. In line astern, Coulthard, Di Resta and Brundle. And two young lads looking very spare. In fact it was Harry Newey. son of Adrian, and another whose name I am ashamed to say I have forgotten, but he drives in GP3 if I recall rightly. Later in the evening, Mrs E, by now thoroughly mellowed by the product of Reims, cornered him, and upon learning that he was only 19, exclaimed "what is your mother thinking of, allowing to get into those dangerous machines?" 

 

Oh while we are on the topic of Mrs E and her first experience of F1, she was totally enjoying the opening laps of FP2, shivering with delight at the energy from the passing cars that assailed her senses, when suddenly she sat bolt upright and exclaimed wtf?? "That car was pink! PINK! That is not a colour for a racing car, it's a colour for pussies!" 

 

So henceforth dear friends Force India has been renamed The Pink Pussies.....

 

Anyhow. I mean no disrespect, but the older trio sat there with expressions on their faces as if someone had welded butt plugs to the seats of their chairs, and held forth about F1. To be fair, DC did crack a few jokes, though there was a slight time lag between his delivery and his audience's reaction. Bit kind of internetty really: living in Egypt I am very used to it. Anyhow he came out with an opening remark about what great lovers we must all be, infused with the passion for motor racing. Later on when they were taking questions I shot my hand up and informed DC that he was absolutely right, that my wife and I were Formula 1 virgins, and that when Mrs E first heard the roar of a racing car engine and smelled the whiff of rubber and benzine, a certain expression came over her face - and I felt that if all went well I might get lucky a bit later in the evening. Mrs E was not amused and spilled her champagne bashing me over the head with her programme.

 

But I did take the time to compliment the young guys. I had been so pleased to spend the first two days exploring the stands, sitting next to real fans, and watching the "junior" series. I thought they were bloody great, terrific racing and wishing them well in their careers.We then had a Q&A that I am afraid was a little pedestrian, and at the end Brundle announced that the three of them would be available for autographs and photos. Not many people took them up on it, Coulthard ****ed off immediately anyhow, but I did catch a glimpse of Brundle standing in front of a camera, barely nudging shoulders with a lady of indeterminate age from Louisiana, with a look on his face as if the weld on the dildo had failed when he stood up from his chair. The two youngsters on the other hand remained and chatted very graciously to all and sundry.

And then off we went on foot to the Baron Trenck. In no time at all we were partying. Great band on the foredeck, waiters everywhere with canapés and bubbly, new friends being made, and wall to wall bimbos: Mrs E kept very close to me. The sun went down on the harbour of Monte Carlo as every boat there was partying. I swear the surface of the sea was simmering and shimmering from the sound waves of rock music, the laughter of ladies and others members of the female sex,  and the burbling roar of supercars cruising the quays moving on from party to party.

 

Absolutely wonderful, the years fell away from me, and I was in no time at all  I was showing the young ladies how to dance the twist....

 

And then, when we finally got tired, I called up faithful David on the cell phone, and in a trice he glided up to the stern of the boat, and ushered us back to the Meridien. And you might have thought that was that. But.

 

When we reached the Meridien, we found the place absolutely heaving. The fashion parade had just ended, but the Amber Lounge was just getting started, and the disco on the beach - Sunset -  was going full blast with heavy bass trance music echoing off the mountains. Mrs E perked up like a gundog and with eager gait headed straight for the Amber Lounge. However when the heavy outside the door informed her - exceedingly politely it must be said - that the tickets started at €1,000 each, she scowled and muttered sod that for a game of soldiers, grabbed my hand and we headed to the lifts.

 

And......before you ask the question: a gentleman never tells.

 

A small footnote. The next morning, well this morning, I was drinking a nespresso on the balcony shortly after the sun rose, and my eyes were drawn to a Bentley parked outside. It was painted in bedroom scarlet, with some kind of special lacquer that made it sparkle in the morning sunlight. The day was starting its normal routine, the Monegasque rubbish collectors came by, clattering and banging their way down the street, and my eyes were rivetted to this automotive wonder. It was SO vulgar, and yet SO seductive. What can I say?

 

Then this young and pretty young woman came down the street, ash blonde hair down to her pert little bottom barely covered by a miniskirt not much wider than a belt, and swinging her little evening bag in carefree manner. This is 7 am you understand, and she was still in her party gear. Anyhow she walks past the Bentley, and before my disbelieving eyes, she walks around it, round to the driver's door, beep beep opens it, climbs in, fires her up and ****s off home for breakfast, leaving two black lines on Monaco's favourite asphalt.....

 

 



#49 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 11:32

Fantastic as always, Eastern  :rotfl:

 

Race day write up going to be worth the 2 day wait?!



#50 Eastern

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 13:43

Fantastic as always, Eastern  :rotfl:

 

Race day write up going to be worth the 2 day wait?!

 

 

Damn, I am so sorry, yes I will write it up. We are currently in Nice and Madame is dragging me shopping, followed by lunch at the Negresco. She also wants to go house-hunting, she has decided that she really rather likes the sybaritic cote d'azur lifestyle. The bank manager doesn't agree....