Fernando Alonso at Suzuka (2010)

Grand Prix Reveal

This weekend marks the beginning of the 2014 Formula One season, the 65th running of the elite series of open-wheel motor-racing. As I write this, preparations for the first race of the year are taking place in Melbourne, Australia.

Attending races has increasingly become a regular part of my travel calendar. I’ve been attending one race about once every other year, beginning with my first race, the Monaco Grand Prix, in 2007.

In the grandstands at the 2007 F1 Monaco Grand Prix.

In the grandstands at the 2007 F1 Monaco Grand Prix.

I’m not interested in visiting every single circuit on the calendar; I only follow the traveling circus of F1 to locales that I’m genuinely interested in exploring beyond the racetrack. Luckily, there are plenty of options.

Going to the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka International Circuit was a highlight of my trip to Japan in 2010. The fans are extremely dedicated, and the circuit has bore witness to some of the most dramatic moments in Formula One history.

Flags atop the grandstands at Suzuka International Circuit for the 2010 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix.

Flags atop the grandstands at Suzuka International Circuit for the 2010 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix.

The Singapore Grand Prix, which started in 2008, has become something of an instant classic—greatly owing to the fact it is the only nighttime race of the year. I attended the 2012 race and it really is a spectacular event.

Singapore's futuristic Marina Bay harbor lights up for the 2012 F1 Singapore Grand Prix.

Singapore’s futuristic Marina Bay harbor lights up for the 2012 F1 Singapore Grand Prix.

This all begs the question: what’s next?

This year, I’m packing my Scuderia Ferrari hat to attend one of the series’ historic races: the Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, located just several minutes by train from central Milan.

Vettel in the Red Bull Racing RB7 during the 2011 Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, in Monza, Italy. Photo credit: Steven Tee/LAT Photographic.

Vettel in the Red Bull Racing RB7 during the 2011 Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, in Monza, Italy. Photo credit: Steven Tee/LAT Photographic.

The energy of the tifosi (fans) as they cheer for home favorite Ferrari is legendary. One of the great traditions of this historic track takes place after the race, when the Ferrariste storm the start-finish straight to stand beneath the podium—hopefully to celebrate as a Ferrari driver receives a first place trophy.

At the 2013 F1 Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso takes a selfie with the fans while standing atop the podium in second place. Source: instagram.com/alo_oficial

At the 2013 F1 Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso takes a selfie with the fans while standing atop the podium in second place. Source: instagram.com/alo_oficial

Over the years, I’ve found that it can be a challenge to find quality information on attending a Formula One race. It’s often scattered across official circuit websites and Internet forums set up by motorsports enthusiasts. Firsthand reports are scarce, much less ones with photos and/or useful travel advice.

While I’ve only recently started attending my share of Formula One races, I’m looking forward to sharing more about my past grand prix experiences. The focus of these reports will be the travel experience rather than sports news, so even if you aren’t a F1 fan per se (yet), my hope is that these upcoming posts will still hold your interest.

I’m incredibly excited to be attending the Italian Grand Prix this year. I’ve never been to Northern Italy, apart from a couple days in the Cinque Terre en route to Rome. This year is also shaping up to be an extraordinary season of Formula One racing, due to some of the most dramatic regulations changes in ages.

I’ll be sharing my trip planning and travel tips as the date draws nearer. I’d also love to hear any tips for traveling in this region of Italy, so please drop me a line or leave a comment!

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