There is motor racing and then there is Formula 1. It stands at the technological pinnacle of all motorsport and, combining ridiculous amounts of money with an overdose of adrenalin-pumping thrills and glamorous Champagne parties in F1 entertainment Paddock Clubs at race tracks around the globe, it is the most-watched sport in the world.
With more than one world record within reach of one charismatic driver, the COVID-19-impacted 2020 season has just become a lot more interesting.
The Lewis Hamilton Affect
Lauded for furthering the global intrigue of Formula 1 by means of his appeal to a broader audience outside of the sport, Lewis Hamilton exponentially raised the bar when he equalled the great Michael Schumacher’s world record of 91 wins at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix on Sunday, 11 October at the famed Nurburgring in Germany.
Not only is Hamilton the first and only black Formula 1 racer in the history of the sport but he is also a single victory away from becoming the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time. Moreover, the Billion Dollar Man (as he is also known) may also win a record-equalling seventh World Championship at the end of the season, and join Schumi as the driver with the most World Championship trophies in the trophy cabinet.
There is no better place to take in the action and follow Lewis Hamilton’s quest than the Paddock Club.
Imagine having the best seats in the house, then eating gourmet meals, drinking premium whiskeys and luxury Champagne in open bars while celebrating post-race race under the legendary skies of the Algarve, Emilia-Romagna, Istanbul, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
While coming up with creative ways to realise your Formula 1 dream – whether contemplating selling a kidney or downgrading the Mercedes G-wagon to a family sedan – why not lock in the remaining six 2020 Grand Prix dates and create your own Grand Prix experience at home?
An F1 Entertainment Experience Of Your Very Own
With the right tools for the job, you can create a top-notch shindig with (almost) all the bells and whistles of the real makoya.
You can decide whether you and your boys want to send the ladies to the spa and bring them back for the after-party or if you want to make it a boys’ night – the choice is yours.
Akin to the official Formula 1 Experience, the private, domestic version requires four elements to be fulfilled:
- race tickets,
- trackside hospitality,
- hotel accommodation
- and transfers.
Your DSTV subscription, 85” TV and home theatre system secure the tickets. Trackside hospitality should be different for every stop in Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
The Grand Prix returns to Portugal for the first time in 25 years and will be held at the legendary Autodromo do Algarve. Also called “The Algarve Rollercoaster”, the track is famous for razor-sharp turns, roaring straights and thrilling uphill and downhill sections.
Flame-grilled peri-peri chicken and man-sized espetadas washed down with ice-cold Portuguese beers like Super Bock or Sagres, a crisp Vinho Verde or chilled sangria will instantly transport you to Lusitania. For dessert experience, serve a ruby port paired with a cherry or chocolate-based dessert or blue cheese.
Emilia Romagna – Italia
A week later on 1 November, we gather in Italy for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodrome Enzo e Dino Ferrari – the former home of the San Marino Grand Prix and one of only a handful of anti-clockwise international circuits. It has an old-school feel with iconic corners like Acque Minerali and Piratella.
Although Italy forms part of the wine belt of Europe, it also brews a good pale lager. Stock up on enough Peroni Nastro Azzuro with back-up supplies in every portable fridge/freezer you can lay your hands on because 63 laps of nail-biting action is a thirsty business for F1 entertainment.
The trackside buffet can be crammed with a selection of pizzas and pastas, a hearty osso buco alla Milanese, prosciutto, saltimbocca and for dessert, a variety of home-made gelatos and tiramisu.
Middle Eastern Magic
The next three stops in Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, all have a distinct Arabic flavour and promises a tasty culinary adventure like no other.
Built between 2003 and 2005, Intercity Istanbul Park is said to be one of a German engineer, Herman Tilke’s best-ever designs with parts of it having been likened to sections of Francorchamps, Interlagos and Laguna Seca. Drivers will be put through their paces especially in the super-fast turn eight with its bumpy, multi-apex downhill left-hander.
Let your F1 entertainment hit the ground running by serving the Turkish national drink, raki (also called lion’s milk) as a welcome drink before settling in with ice-cold Efes Pilsen or one of the beers brewed at the Bamonti beer factory in Istanbul.
Turkish food contains a lot of wheat, yoghurt, vegetables, fish and herbs and popular dishes that are known and loved also by Westerners include kӧfte (Turkish meatballs), kebabs, pide (Turkish flatbread), dӧner (Turkish sub), yasprak sarma (similar to dolmades) and kuzu tandir (Turkish roasted lamb).
For the sweet tooth, the Turks have blessed the world with super-sweet baklava, tulumba and lokum (Turkish delight).
The Bahrain International Circuit hosts two Grand Prix races on 29 November and 6 November; the first on the standard GP track that provides for great racing and overtaking, a tight, downhill off-camber left at turn ten and a fast turn 12. The second takes place under floodlights on the more open outer track.
If you can get your hands on a bottle of arak – a white 50% alcohol anise-flavoured beverage – it could be a nice welcome drink. Food options include falafel, qoozi (grilled lamb, stuffed with rice, boiled eggs, onions and spices), machboos (meat or fish served with rice), or schwarmas.
The F1 Entertainment Finale in Abu Dhabi
The season ends in Abu Dhabi on 13 December on the Yas Marina Circuit, with its trade-mark 1.2 kilometer straight between turns seven and eight and tricky run through turns that force drivers to brake hard.
Lamb, mutton, fish and rice are popular in Emirati cuisine and dates are usually consumed with meals. Here the Weber comes in handy again for preparing charcoal-grilled Chelo kebabs.
Schwarmas and shish tawouk sandwiches offer easy street food options and for a healthy alternative, try fattoush, a salad made of fresh lettuce, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, mint leaves, onion, garlic, lemon and olive oil and served with Levantine bread.
For an off-beat beverage option, introduce the boys to a classic Arabian drink like jellab (a blend of grape molasses and rose water, topped with pine nuts and raisins) or a thick, apricot drink called qamardeen.
Hotel Accommodation and / or Transfers
Because of the nature of these DIY F1 entertainment experiences, we recommend that the third and fourth elements (hotel accommodation and transfers) be included.
Make up the spare rooms for guests to stay over and have an e-hailing service on call to make sure everybody gets home safe.