For those who had no idea, yes I am a Formula 1 fan, since I was a child for that matter. Once in a while you will see me writing about a Formula 1 Grand Prix I have been to; I will not only share my personal experience, but also give you tips about an specific Grand Prix and the circuit, just in case you are planning to go to one or have curiosity to know how it is. So let me begin with the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Budapest, at the Hungaroring circuit, which happened last weekend (July 25th-27th, 2014).
This was my first Grand Prix in Europe and also the first time I bought the General Admission ticket. Me and W. drove to Budapest on Friday morning from Munich and arrived there sometime around 1pm. We decided to enjoy the rest of the day to take a walk around the city and celebrate his birthday (you will see this part of the trip in a next post).
Our ticket included a Pitlane Walk on Thursday – unfortunately we couldn’t make it there – the training sections of Friday, the Saturday qualifying and the race on Sunday. As holders of a General Admission ticket we didn’t have siting places – in this case it was the grass – but you could choose to stay wherever you wanted within the permitted area.
The Hungaroring circuit is – without interruption – part of the Formula 1 calendar since 1986, and I have to say it is well prepared for the once a year event, especially when it comes to infrastructure. In the circuit there is many food stands where you have many options to choose from – hot dogs, sausages, roasted chicken, ice cream, beer and much more – merchandising stores where you can buy the entire outfit of your favorite team, a stage where a band often plays and even a Game Station with simulators! So there is plenty to keep you busy while you wait for the machines begin their show.
If you hold a General Admission ticket, here are some things you need to know:
- Don’t expect to get the best view;
- Arrive early (I mean really early, when the gates open at 7am) if you want a nice place;
- Bring a mat or a blanket to lie on the grass; it will be more comfortable while waiting;
- Check the weather and be prepared: it can rain badly or it can be really hot;
- If you are short like me, bring something you can stand on so you can have a better view;
- The best view of the circuit in the General Admission area is at the turn 14, as you can see on the official map of Hungaroring:
General tips for the circuit:
- You can check the prices here;
- Buying the tickets 1 year ahead is way cheaper, and in case you can’t go you can always sell it!
- It will take you approximately half an hour to get from Budapest to Hungaroring;
- Parking: some people will want to charge you between 8-10 Euros to park your car, but these parking lots are normally far from the gates and there is free Parking offered by the circuit;
- If you don’t have a car or prefer not to drive to the circuit, you can take a taxi or a bus – you can find the timetable at the circuit’s website;
- Bring money along: the food stands don’t accept credit card and there is no ATM at the circuit;
- If you don’t want a General Admission ticket, I would highly recommend you to stay at the Silver 3, Silver 2 or the Red Bull area: they are right in a turn and from there you can see the pit stops and the start, many take overs and you will have the view of 2 big screens;
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and umbrellas (only one place is covered at the circuit: the Super Gold area);
- On the race day there will be over 3 times more people than on Saturday;
- Just outside the circuit there is a camping space, in case it interests you.
Highlights (apart from the race of course):
When we arrived at the circuit, as it was really hot, we received little packages with drinking water from the Red Cross:
And while waiting for the race to begin, some people gathered in the middle of the square and paid homage to Michael Schumacher; and I couldn’t help the tears in my eyes:
The event was very organised in every way, especially regarding traffic, parking and signs, we had no problem at all leaving, getting there or parking. And for those who watched or heard the news about the race, already know it rocked! It was pretty exciting and a lot happened; the best race of the year so far! At the end of the race, they were already handing in next year’s program.