Monday, April 21, 2014

MALAYSIA F1 GP 2014 - PRE-RACE ACTIVITIES

A good friend went to the Sepang Ciruit in 2013 and told me about this awesome race track and the great experience she had. So I had to check it out in 2014! Second race of the season seemed like a good opportunity. 

First surprise was the cheap...REALLY cheap ticket price...when you buy early bird tickets. And seats they were! Best seats I have had so far, with the exception of the Paddock Club tickets a few years ago. 

Sepang, the race track, is far south of Kuala Lumpur. I had hotels reserved down there at first, but decided to cancel them and re-book in K.L. instead. I will do an extra blog on the Hotel experience later. 

Going to the Sepang Ciruit on all three days was on my "to do" list after I arrived in K.L. and I quickly found a friendly lady selling tickets at the K.L. Sentral Station. Direct Bus Service to the Circuit for RM 30 round trip! That made RM 90 for three days. Buses left every 15-30 mins outside the station and took about 1 hour and 15 mins. 

After I bought the tickets, i also saw a sign for another option which would have been the KLIA express train/shuttle bus combination ticket, which was RM 120 for the three days. Too late! 

Pre-race activities were hard to find. I asked several times at the booths the race organizers had set up at the K.L. Sentral Station and in the KLCC Petronas Twin Towers, but either people didn't know anything about it, even a few days before the race, or there just were no activities planned. They even just sold T-shirts from past year! But they still sold tickets to the race.

A nice booth was set up in the middle of the KLCC and some show cars where floating on the ceilings of the basement floor. I did have to go back several times to see if anything went on and I got lucky two days before the training sessions. A long line of people waiting circled around the show booth. The last guy in line (friendly bloke, who still has not written yet, so I could give him his photos with Lewis Hamilton) told me that Lewis and Nico were doing autographs soon. So I waited as the line behind me got longer and longer. I actually had to wait 3 hours! But it was a good wait with a DJ and some locally known guys giving out tickets and give-aways to the crowd. 

When Nico and Lewis finally came, we were told that we should just have ONE item for each to sign and that the line would move rather quickly. And it did move, despite the fact that some people brought their own photos with the drivers from a past race and had them sign that. It was an interesting crowd! People who seemed to go to every race, fully equipped with photos, caps, T-shirts of the drivers, but also some tourists who just happened to be there. 

I finally got both Lewis and Nico to sign their caps for me along with an autograph card and a smile...Well, Lewis smiled and seemed really friendly. Nico was kind of neutral, even though I spoke German with him. 

Next day I went to Bukit Bintang, where the shopping malls are and saw that a booth was set up for the Caterham drivers in the Pavilion Mall. Of course their autograph session happened the day before as well, but merchandise was available at a really low price. As for the drivers only a pop-up model was there, along with two cars. 













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