It was 26th of September and the highlight of the Singapore sporting calendar for this year has arrived. It was the Day 1 of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix (GP), the first ever night race in the FIA’s history. I knew that Day 1 is the practice session for the different racing teams. Also there were BMW Formula Asia, Aston Martin Asia Cup and Porsche Carrera Asia Cup races being held at the circuit. It was all electrified.
It was Friday and I had a deliverable at the office which I had to complete by three and leave for the race. But it was already three and I was still in the office while I heard some roaring sounds of the cars. The BMW Formula Asia tournament has started. From my office building we had a great view of the race. Everybody on the floor was stuck to the windows to watch the live action. I guess I was the only person who was not interested to stand at the window but to complete my work as I wanted to see the whole race as closely as possible.
At around 3.30 I changed my dress in office and wore my favorite team Ferrari’s T-shirt and walked as quickly as possible to reach the MRT. Took a train from City Hall to Lavender and from there we had pickup bus to the Gate 1A. By the time we were taking the last turn in the bus at Gate 1A, I was already hearing the sounds of the engines. Got down the bus and swiftly walked to the Gate where there was a bag check and some security checks done.
Once I went inside the gate it was a great feeling. As soon as I entered the gate I bought the $2 worth ear drum protection and a protection from the rain. I heard that this amount would go to some charity. The F1 practice session was scheduled to start at 7 pm. So before that I wanted to go around the circuit area and see what are the important things to see.
I took out my camera and started clicking pictures. As I further went into the circuit area, I could see the official F1 merchandise shops, team merchandise shops, ATM’s, Restrooms, Performance area etc. Just after going some more deep into the area, I heard some drum beats. There I see the Go-Go dancers dancing to the tunes of those beats. People were enjoying the dance and at the same time they were posing with the dancers for the pics. It was fun.
I went further and came across the food and drink bars. Also have seen an ice cream parlour. I wanted to go there first, but I thought I shall go and check my seating and then go ahead with other things. My Seat number was 19 in row 6 in block A11 in Pitstop Grandstand. As I entered the grandstand, it was a great feeling. I could see the pit stops right before me. My seating was just before the Force India pit stop. Meanwhile the other races were going on and I was listening to the beautiful sound of those engines. The problem at the seating was that I can see the cars and the race but cannot take the pictures properly. So I went forward to Block A27. From there I could take the pictures of the cars at the 23rd turn of the track. I got some very good pictures.
Now as the clock hit 7 sharp, The first race car zoomed past the start line. Till now I had no problem with the sound of the cars. Then the second car and then the third car. Now I realised the importance of those ear drum saving buds and immediately wore them. The whole crowd in the grandstand cheered them. Most of them were standing to their feet to watch the live action. I was even more excited and stood up on the seat when the Ferrari car went past.
Kudos to the organizers and the staff at the circuit. The crowd management was very very good. The spectators had no problem in entry and exit to grandstands and the walkabout the circuit. There were food stalls for people who are hungry, there was entertainment programs for people who were getting bored waiting for the race, there were health centers for people who got hurt and there were many many many staff people to guide us to the right place at the right time.
The noise emitted from each car was bearable for most of the time, but as more and more cars zoomed past, it was so loud that it drown out the “live” commentary from the giant projector TV just in front of me. As I had my ear plugs, I thought the noise was bearable for most of the time. Overall the action was so much closer and the experience is a must once atleast in a life time. I shall update the day 2 very soon.