This afternoon I took my family (my parents, Scott & Grace) to the free practice of the Formula One. For days Scott had been talking about it and when we picked him up from school during lunch time he was very excited. Within 45 minutes we arrived at the Shanghai Circuit and my driver found a parking space very close to the entrance of the race track (there were not many cars yet).
We had Grandstand tickets, but because we were about an hour early we had enough time to check out some other locations of the track first. 15 minutes before the start of free practice we sat down at our seats and looked at the activity in the pit lane. We were seated right across from the Massa and Alonso’s cars (Ferrari), an excellent location. We put Scott’s ear protection on, but he didn’t like it too much. However, after the first cars started to leave the pit lane he was so shocked by the loud noise that he did not want to take it off anymore.
Scott was watching completely fascinated by the racing cars. It was impossible to communicate with him, not only because he was wearing his ear protection but mainly because he was fully focused on the action. Not sure if he really understood what was going on (probably not), but he seemed to enjoy it.
After watching the free practice for 45 minutes I went to meet with Alexandre Imperatori, one of the race car drivers in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. His next session would start at 4 pm, so he still had over an hour time, and he came to meet Scott and me to show us the Porsche pit area on the inside of the race track. Scott got a chance to sit in his car, but he was a bit afraid and wanted me to hold him, so that didn’t work out. Alex quickly introduced me to his team manager and some other people, and then he had to start preparing for his next track performance.
In the mean time Ho-Pin Tung (reserve driver for F1 Lotus Renault GP) contacted me. He had seen on my Facebook that I was at the racetrack and he invited me to the Lotus Renault pit area. He came to pick me up at Porsche and we walked over to the pit lane. However, because I had Scott with me we could not get into the pit area, because we had no ticket for him Actually at Porsche we had been lucky, only after we entered we found out kids are not allowed there. So Ho-Pin and I just had a chat, and I heard some very interesting news from him that I won’t be able to blog about here – at least not right now. Then Scott and I said goodbye to Ho-Pin (I will see him again tomorrow at a dinner) and walked back to the public side of the track.
Scott was very happy, despite being tired (no afternoon nap today) he was jumping, running and talking about the fast cars the whole time. We stopped for a few minutes at the Mercedes-Benz AMG test area where professional drivers took clients on test drives on a parking lot. Very cool to see their skills up close and to see what they can do with their cars. By that time Scott was so tired that we decided to call it a day and take the car back home. It was a great afternoon at the Formula One race track, I’ll be back on Sunday for the F1 Grand Prix!