The first three races of the 2017 Formula One season have already taken place and, as I type, the Sebastian Vettel, in a Ferarri, is the leader, heading to the race track at Sochi in Russia.
Formula One is truly a global competition and fans travel thousands of miles to follow the Grand Prix action.
Race fanatics in the US, for example, have had to travel further than most, as home races have not been held every year – with no races held in the four years prior to 2012 with similar droughts in the 80’s and ’90s.
Not only that, many of the races are in Europe and Asia – only 4 are held in the Americas in 2017 (Canada, USA, Mexico and Brazil). So whilst it is easy for the UK race fan, just travelling around Europe to satisfy their need for speed, fans from around the world may not be too much to blame for taking the easy option of watching it on TV.
But nothing can compare to travelling to another country and experiencing the event for yourself: the sights, the sounds, the smells, the excitement!
With travel companies offering packages ranging from the cheap and cheerful to champagne-infused hospitality packages as expensive as, well a formula one steering wheel alone can cost $28,000, it is easy to follow your passion – if you have the money. Of course you can also arrange it yourself: it is cheaper than using a hospitality company and it is no harder than booking a flight a hotel and a ticket: ready, steady, GO!
If you have already managed to enjoy a Grand Prix this season, in Australia, China or Bahrain, then you will have become quite knowledgeable in how to arrange, transport and accommodation around the globe. And, if you are off this weekend, you will already know where to get a visa in Los Angeles, or London, for travel to Russia!
Tickets are all available on the F1 site, formula1.com. They can vary in price enormously. In Azerbaijan, you can get a three day grandstand ticket for $167. In Monaco, raceday-only grandstand tickets start at $500.
Of course you should plan ahead. Availability is better, accommodation is more readily available and, like the first four races of the season, US and UK racegoers alike, will need time to sort out visas, just as the teams have to (imagine THAT headache!)
Another way of saving money is to travel out and back as early and as late as you can. Miss the crowds flying in for final qualifying by turning up a few days early and you not only pick up cheaper flights but you can give yourself the time to explore a little of the country.
In Australia I turned up the week before and worked for a charity to earn the money to buy a general admission ticket on the day – although that is not always possible so late in the day.
“Come to the match, stay for the weekend” has become a catchphrase amongst many travelling sports fans and it is just as valid a concept for Formula One fans travelling around the world.
So make the most of your travels and enjoy the cultures that are behind some of the most famous races in the world.