And perhaps surprisingly, it isn’t the names of the ten ladies sitting with Mark Webber there! With the British Grand Prix only just over the horizon, and Goodwood’s Festival Of Speed fast approaching, I thought it would be good to list some of the most essential items you need when venturing out to a circuit. As it is at the moment, the UK weather is fairly unpredictable, so I imagine it can be in other countries too. And with circuits often located in the middle of nowhere and simple necessities costing around about the same as my mortgage once inside the track, you don’t want to be forgetting anything.
Bottled water or hydrating drink are top of the list for a reason – they cost a packet once inside. Not all venues allow such items to be taken in (often outside music gigs), but I’m yet to get stopped at a circuit for taking a bottle of mineral water in with me. The benefits of having water are obvious, particularly if the sun decides to come out and play.
Strong, comfortable shoes are another essential. People often don’t realise just how much walking they have to do once at a circuit. The car park is usually a hike all to itself, and once inside there is likely to be a long trek to wherever you need to be.
Be sure to pack a lightweight waterproof. The worst thing about being outside is when it starts to rain. Great for racing, less so for health and happiness.
- Sun Protection
This includes sunglasses, hat and lotion. It’s no good being at a race but unable to see anything because of the sun’s glare, and I think lotion is pretty much common sense these days. What is it the Australians say? Slip, slop and slap!
The mobile phone has become an essential in this day and age, and just about everybody owns one. If your in a group at a large crowded place, means of communication is a no-brainer, and mobile phones these days often come with built-in cameras and radios. Tune it into Radio 5Live if you don’t have the next thing on the list. Also, some mobiles have internet access so you can keep up to date with breaking news while at the track.
- Kangaroo TV
Okay, strictly speaking you need to get these at the circuit, but according to Sidepodcast, they are simply awesome. Go listen to their podcast which details their experiences of the device at Silverstone last year. And I’ve just found you may be able to reserve one online. Check out their website for more details.
It’s low down on the list because these photographs are available on the internet. But sometimes there’s nothing better than taking a shot yourself, even if you aren’t as good as Darren Heath. A word of warning though; be sure to know how to use a camera before taking it to a race. Practice taking photos fast moving objects, like cars on the road (bear in mind your safety) and get used to how your camera behaves at taking these pictures. Also, depending on where you are sitting, a zoom function or lens might prove useful.
A grand prix is never just a grand prix. There’ll be support races, stands, stalls and just about anything else you can think of. The programme will tell you when certain events are running and they almost always include a map of the circuit detailing where everything is. Also, when the action gets boring you can amuse yourself by reading a silly team and driver biographies they have in them. For extra amusement, head over to a Red Bull stand early to knab yourself a copy of the Red Bulletin.
It may sound silly, but you don’t want to be queuing up for a burger just as the formation lap begins. Obviously used in conjunction with the programme.
Because there’s nothing more annoying than driving halfway across the country before realising you’ve left your entry passes on top of the TV.
For an interesting read and insight into travelling to and from a circuit, read F1Fanatic’s post on his visit to Istanbul Park in 2006. Oh, and I’ve probably missed something from the list, so feel free to add your pearls of wisdom in the comments below.