The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix produced a great result for Ferrari. There was still work to be done and there was no better way to test some new upgrades then at the In-Season Tests in Montmelo after the Grand Prix. The Test was held on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scuderia Ferrari Club of Denver ( of which I am a member ) offered the chance to attend the sessions as a team guest and I decided to attend Day 1. Sebastian Vettel was testing for the team on day 1 and this is a small write-up of the experience.
Enroute to the Circuit :
Many of the Trucks had left for their next destination i.e. Monaco and the Paddock felt so silent on a Testing day. Security was still strict about access but the atmosphere was a lot more relaxed.
Paddock Walkthrough ( Video Link ) :
Dani Clos, Driver of now Defunct HRT Racing F1 Team :
Shots of the Pitlane from the Ferrari Garage :
Cars roll out for the First Half of the Tests :
Lynn and Ricciardo returning to pits ( Vieo Link ) :
Gasly, Ocon and Rosberg returning to the pits ( Video Link ) :
Scuderia Ferari F1 in the Session :
Sebastian Vettel being interviewed before Lunch :
Start of the Post - Lunch Tests :
This was the Paddock Club on Sunday. Everything is dismantled and gone by Tuesday.
Shots from the Pit Lane Level :
Scuderia Ferrari F1 continuing the tests :
On the way back to the Hotel :
It was quite a different experience being at the Race Track on a Testing day. The Paddock is very relaxed and one enjoys a closer view of the cars entering and leaving the Pit Boxes. However I would still prefer a Race Weekend over a Test Day.
A Big Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari Club of Denver for arranging the passes for the day!
2015 Belgian Grand Prix was the 2nd race of the season that I had the opportunity of being at. Austria had been brilliant barring the result for Kimi and I was really looking forward to Belgium. Kimi Raikkonen has won here 4 times and I was really hopeful for a better outing here.
I stayed at the Novotel in Maastricht, Netherlands. Spa Francorchamps was only 45 minutes away by car.
I Start of with the Friday ( Day 1 ) experience in the Ferrari F1 Club.
Enroute to the circuit :
I had to enter the town to pick up my passes and I must admit, it was a beautiful detour!
Shots from Spa, the Town :
Ferrari F1 Club Passes for the weekend :
After the drop off, it was quite a long walk to the Parking Lot. A message to those planning a visit. A Parking Pass is a MUST here. The Walk can be very confusing and its very easy to get lost.
Walking up to the circuit :
I reached the parking lot after a 20 minute walk and hopped into one of the Paddock Club Shuttles to the Paddock Club entry.
The Time for the first pit lane walk was over and I head straight to the Suite.
The view from the Ferrari F1 Club :
Shots of the GoPro Hero4 Black :
I had a quick coffee and a croissant before getting ready for Free Practice 1.
Shots from Free Practice 1 :
Scuderia Ferrari F1 in Free Practice 1. I also got to visit the garage during the session :
Shots from FP1 from another angle :
The Pit Walls busy during the session :
Chequered Flag - FP1 :
Nico Rosberg topped the practice session with Lewis Hamilton a close second. Kimi Raikkonen & Sebastian Vettel were P4 & P5 respectively. A great session for Scuderia Ferrari.
With FP1 over, we were joined by Ferrari Test Driver, Marc Gene
Marc Gene in the Ferrari F1 Club :
Marc Gene discussing about the team's chances in the Ferrari F1 Club. Video Link :
Marc Gene on the new start procedures. Video Link :
Marc Gene left and it was time for the GP2 practice session.
The GP2 Practice Session in progress :
I was soon ushered down to the Paddock for a visit to the Paddock area and the Team Garage.
Shots from the Paddock Tour :
Ferrari completes 900 GPs in F1 and had their Motorhome adorned with the signs :
Shots from the Paddock :
Scuderia Ferrari Mechanics working ( from the Garage Tour ) :
Shots with the GoPro Hero4 Black from the Garage Tour :
I returned to the club and I was famished. Thankfully it was time for lunch!
A Quick lunch and it was time for the 2nd Pit Lane walk of the day!
Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :
Shots with the GoPro Hero4 Black :
I was walking back from the Pit Lane Walk and got to meet Johnny Herbert again!
Free Practice 2 followed shortly after :
Scuderia Ferrari F1 during FP2 :
Shots with the GoPro during FP2 :
Kimi Raikkonen's Engineer holding the Pit Board for him :
Nico Rosberg suffered a high speed rear-tyre failure and it halted FP2 for sometime.
The Helicopter Cam doing its rounds :
Cars coming into the Bus Stop Chicane :
Kimi Raikkonen & Sebastian Vettel into the Bus Stop Chicane!
Some more shots from FP2 :
Chequered Flag :
Nico Rosberg stayed on top in the session. However he lost out on some valuable time for race simulations. Raikkonen was P5 and Vettel P10.
FP2 finished and it was time for Esteban Gutierrez, Ferrari's Reserve Driver to visit the guests in the Ferrari F1 Club :
To commemorate 900 GPs, Scuderia Ferrari had a twitter campaign with the handle #redseason and it was a pleasant surprise to see my post on the Ferrari Wall.
The models of all the Tyre Compounds used by Pirelli for the 2015 Season
GP2 Qualifying Session :
The Ferrari F1 Club in the evening :
As I left the club, I chose to stop by and take some shots of Paddock from the Club :
GP3 cars negotiating the latter half of Eau Rouge into the Kemmel Straight :
Trying a hand at the Simulator in the General Hospitality area :
Returning to Maastricht :
It was a great Friday for Scuderia Ferrari and hopes were high for Saturday and the rest of the weekend.
I enjoyed the Hospitality extended to me by the Hosts of the Ferrari F1 Club and Scuderia Ferrari.
A Big Thank you to Edge Global Events for making all the arrangements for the weekend.
The GoPro Hero4 Black with the Smart Remote and the LCD BacPac is a brilliant piece of equipment be it selfies or videos.
The Sony HX400V never disappoints in capturing stunning shots of F1 Cars at High Speeds.
The Saturday Experience coming soon, so watch this space!
Raceday finally dawned and the big day had arrived!!
An early start to the day as usual, Sunday was going to be fantastic again!
Enroute to the Circuit :
I took a new route again on Sunday and this time I passed through camping sites.
Some shots enroute :
Enroute, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Vintage cars that were to be used for the Drivers' Track Parade :
I reached the Paddock club and we were soon joined by Paul Hembery, Pirelli's Motorsport Director.
He discussed the strains that the company faces in delivering the required number of tyres over a season and how each tyre compound is designed for varying conditions.
His departure was soon followed by the one and only KIMI RAIKKONEN!! Kimi discussed about his chances for the weekend and for Ferrari for the remaining part of 2014.
Video Link for Kimi Raikkonen's Interview :
Kimi Raikkonen left and we were joined by the Ferrari Test Driver, Marc Gene.Marc is a great human being and a very talented driver. It was a privilege meeting him!
Before the Final Pit Lane Walk I was taken downstairs for a quick Garage Tour.
Shots from the Paddock :
The Ferrari F14T Firing up and being readied for the race. Video Link :
Shots from the Garage :
I made a quick run back up to collect my Autograph Booklet and rushed back downstairs for the Final Pit Lane Walk of the weekend!
Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :
Scuderia Ferrari F1 getting ready for Battle :
A Moment with Andrea Stella, Fernando Alonso's Race Engineer :
The Track Parade was an amazing experience! The People dressed up in their Regional Clothing with their Regional Flags containing their Coat of Arms and marched to a melodious drum beat.
Video Link :
Sky Sports F1 getting ready for the Pre - Race Show!
I headed back upstairs and it was time for a Quick Lunch before the Race Start :
The Cars soon started rolling out of the Pit Lane as the Pit Lane opened to start preparations for the Grid for the Race!
Preparations in full swing for the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :
Mechanics make their way to the Grid to wheel the cars into their Grid Slots :
The Fans building up the traditional European atmosphere for an F1 Grand Prix.
A Big Rule Change came into effect :
Two weeks before the race, the FIA announced an immediate ban on the Front-and-Rear Interconnected suspension system (commonly abbreviated as FRIC), effective as of the German Grand Prix, arguing that the FRIC system qualified as a movable aerodynamic device under Article 3.15 of the technical regulations. ( Source - FIA )
There were some changes to the grid. Gutierrez qualified P14, but dropped three places for causing a collision at previous round. Lewis Hamilton opted for a gear box change and earned a 5 place grid penalty to start 20th. Ericsson failed to meet 107% requirement but raced at stewards' discretion
The Formation Lap - 2014 German Grand Prix. Video Link :
The Cars line up for the 5 Red Lights and Race Start!
Race Start - 2014 German Grand Prix. Video Link :
A Huge Incident at the First Turn of the First Lap meant that the Safety Car had to come out. Kevin Magnussen got a good start but Felipe Massa turned into the him and the contact caused the Brazilian's Williams to flip over thrice. The Safety Car came out until the debris cleared.