Your Dose of obsession from Formula 1, Flying, Travel, Football, Watches, Collectibles and everything inspirational everywhere in daily life

Posts for Tag: travel

McLaren F1 Team Gala Dinner at the Hilton!

There are trips that one remembers for a long time to come. There are experiences that stay with us for lifetime. 13th May 2017 was one such date.

I was busy attending the Spanish Grand Prix with Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team when I got to meet Mr. Wright, the co-host in the Pirelli Suite. Mr. Wright, a very gracious man invited me to attend the McLaren F1 Team Gala Dinner happening at the Hilton Diagonal Mar in Barcelona, the hotel I was staying at!

I started watching F1 in 1998 and have been a fan of McLaren & Mika Hakkinen since. 2007 saw Kimi Raikkonen leave for Ferrari so my loyalties became divided but McLaren are a team I always want to see do well.

It was impossible to resist such an offer. I rushed to the Hotel, got ready & down I was ready to attend the event! Hilton, sponsors for McLaren definitely know how to host events.

The event was attended by Sponsors viz. Hilton, Logitech, Reuters, Chandon & open to Fans & Guests of the team.

Logitech also tied up with McLaren to announce the latter's entrance into the e-sports arena, announcing World’s Fastest Gamer – the world’s most intense and demanding competition for virtual racers. It’s a contest that will see the winner offered the best job in esports – a role with the Formula 1 team as one of its official simulator drivers!

Time to give you a quick tour of how McLaren hosted its guests for the evening :

The Pre-dinner meet :

Cocktails, Hors d'oeuvres, Paella, Conversations & more!

The Host for the evening welcoming us ( Video Link ) :

The Host soon announced that we would be joined by a Former McLaren Driver & 2 Time World Champion MIKA HAKKINEN!


Mika Hakkinen Q&A ( Video Link ) :

Mika Hakkinen wished us well for the evening and he was soon followed by Fernando Alonso! The Evening just got better!

Fernando spoke at length about McLaren's chances for the weekend after his brilliant qualifying result which saw end up in P7 and also the preparations for Indy 500 which was to be held on the Monaco GP weekend. Fernando would head to the airport after the race to get onto a Private Jet to head to Indianapolis for the Practice Session.

Fernando Alonso Q&A ( Video Link ) :

I got the chance to get quick selfies with the McLaren Team Principal Mr. Eric Boullier & a rushing Fernando Alonso!

We were now invited into the Ball Room for dinner. The Ball Room in all its glory!

Dinner Service commences! Lip-smacking! One of the best Desserts I ever had!

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren joined us over dinner for a quick interview. The new boss has an elaborate plan to bring the team back to the sharp end of the grid and I like it!

Video Link of the Interview :

While we were enjoying our dinner, Mr. Pedro de la Rosa, Ex-McLaren Driver, Movistar TV Presenter & a thorough gentlemen entered the Ballroom to entertain the guests with his stories! What an amazing human being! He even handed out the latest gear of Logitech - G29 Gaming Wheel & Joystick to a lucky draw winner!

Video Links of his Interview ( Part 1 & 2 ) :

McLaren's hospitality didn't end with the Gala Dinner. The team were gracious enough to offer Signed Caps, Signed T Shirts & a Mega Prize of a 3 day 2 Night stay at any Hilton Property of the winner's choice! The audience were asked the questions, hands were raised & prizes won! I couldn't win any though :( :(

Mr. Stijn Bastiaens, Sr. Direction Loyalty Parternships for Hilton Hotels giving out the prizes :

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Stijn who was so happy to meet a Gold Member on HHonors!

Parting Shots from the night :

Saturdays on a Race Weekend are pretty quiet for me when I travel - head to the hotel, hot meal and a shower, get the gear ready and have a good night's sleep. 13th May was really special and I had no intention of making it an early night. I did try my hand at the Simulator which had the Logitech G29 Wheel and I must say its far better than my ageing G25 at home. The ergonomics, buttons' layout, feel, force feedback feels just about right and no I am not trying to flatter anyone. I highly recommend this wheel for gamers.

It was a pleasure meeting F1 loyalists who shared the table with me. It was great to connect with people who are as passionate as a F1 fan can be!

I would like to thank McLaren F1 Team
for their hospitality and a memorable evening. A big thank you to Mr. Stijn and the team from the Hilton Diagonal Mar for ensuring top class service throughout the evening. Hatsoff to Logitech for kick-starting the campaign which could open up new opportunities for gamers in the real world.

Finally a thank you to Mr. Wright from Right Formula for inviting me to this wonderful event.

I wish McLaren F1 & its Sponsors all the best for the season ahead! Onwards & Upwards from here!

The Flying Diaries : BOM - BUD - BOM ( Emirates First & Business )

Barcelona had been a great trip. Ferrari achieved a double podium and I couldn't wait to embark on a new journey - to a new track, a new city, a new nation. Budapest, Hungary and the Hungarian GP was the next stop.

I again chose to fly mixed class, i.e. First Class on the Outbound Journey and Business Class on the return journey.

The Flying dates were on the 20th and 29th of July. Emirates operates a solo flight out of Budapest. The afternoon departure meant an early morning arrival into Mumbai, similar to the flight taken to Brussels in 2015.

Mumbai - Budapest ( 20th July 2016 ) :

July is a relatively light in terms of passenger travel from Mumbai and the necessary formalities of check-in, security and immigration were completed in no time. It was time to relax in the First and Business Class Lounge.

Beautiful GVK Lounge hosting First and Business Class Guests :

A Lip-smacking spread. I tend to binge and at such odd hours, makes you really lazy!

The First Class Suite onboard Emirates! Never get tired of this!

An Air India that flies Trans Atlantic Routes :

Breakfast Menu :

Taxiing to the Runway :

Taking off from Mumbai International Airport ( Video Link ) :

I had a catch in the back and the Massage Function on the Seat was utilized heavily. Thankful for such a feature :

A quick nap and it was morning and time to land at Dubai International Airport. The Early Morning Flight really robs you of your sleep :

Landing at Dubai International Airport ( Video Link ) :

Dubai International Airport :

The First Class Lounge in Dubai. Unfortunately no Timeless Spa in this lounge :

A good meal and I was ready for my Flight to Budapest. The First Class onboard the Boeing 777-300 was as per the Old Specification and no Suites here :

Goodies kept separately :

Emirates, Emirates, Emirates everywhere :

Taxiing to the Runway :

Taking off from Dubai Bound for Budapest ( Video Link ) :

Breakfast, Lunch and everything in between. Eat until you land!

Nuts and an Orange Fizz to start it all off :

Lunch Service :

Enroute to Budapest ( Flight Info ) :

Flying over Europe :

Budapest beckons! Nearing Touchdown!

Landing at Budapest ( Video Link  ) :

Budapest Airport, small yet very beautiful!

My S Class awaits its guest. It still is the most comfortable Luxury Sedan!

Enroute to the Hotel

Budapest - Mumbai ( 29th July 2016 ) :

My Pickup, A Mercedes S Class :

Enroute to the Airport, taking in the sights of this beautiful city one last time :

First and Business Class Lounge in Budapest. Decent but nowhere near the level of more frequented European Cities :

Business Class in Boeing 777-300 :

The Pushback begins :

Well this is a First! Onlookers, Photographers busy watching planes and taking photographs of Planes taxiing to the Runway :

Bye Bye Budapest, Take Off ( Video Link ) :

Taking off from Budapest and taking in the sights of this beautiful city one last time :

The Menu for today!

Lunch Service Commences onboard :

Touching down at Dubai International Airport :

Landing at Dubai International Airport ( Video Link ) :

Business Class Lounge in Dubai :

Dinner onboard

Taxiing to the Runway :

Takeoff from Dubai ( Video Link ) :

Bye Bye Dubai, until next time :

Nearing Touchdown :

Landing at Mumbai International Airport in torrential rain, Amazing piloting skills! ( Video Link ) :

Mumbai International Airport on a Rainy Saturday Morning :


It was quite an eventful trip and I would remember this trip for various reasons for a long long time. Emirates left no stone unturned in offering World Class Hospitality onboard their flights. Its high time that they earn 5 Star status as an airline.

A special mention for the pilots of Emirates too who ensure smooth landings and takeoffs in challenging weather conditions

I continue to be a patron!

The Flying Diaries : BOM - BCN - BOM ( Emirates First & Business )

The First Race of the 2016 F1 Season that I had the privilege of attending was the Spanish Grand Prix. The Race was held on 15th May. I decided to opt for a Mixed Class Experience on Emirates since both the legs to Barcelona were Airbus A380 and the Return legs on the Boeing 777-300ER, so First Class on Outbound, Business Class on Inbound.

My Travel Dates : 12th May 2016 to 20th May 2016.

Mumbai - Barcelona ( 12th May 2016 ) :

Shots from the First Class Lounge :

The Spread in the Lounge :

First Class Suite onboard Emirates :

Aero Bridge retracting from Airbus A380 ( Video Link ):

Taxiing to the Runway :

Takeoff from Mumbai International Airport ( Video Link ) :

The Menu enroute to Dubai :

Croissants and Yogurt for Breakfast :

The Airbus A380 has a Lounge behind the Business Class and one must not miss the chance to visit it :

Nearing touchdown at Dubai International Airport :

Landing at Dubai International Airport ( Video Link ) :

Dubai International Airport :

Shots from the First Class Lounge :

After a quick nap it was time to board the flight to Barcelona.

My First Class Suite :

Taxiing to the Runway :

Takeoff from Dubai International Airport bound for Barcelona ( Video Link ) :

The Goodies Basket :

The Menu for Flight to Barcelona :

Savoury Snacks to start the journey :

Lunch Service commences :

Spending some time in the Onboard Lounge :

76 Business Class Seats :

A Mini-bar in First Class :

A Quick Walk-through the Business Class ( Video Link ) :

A Quick Walk-through First Class ( Video Link ) :

The Bed ready and set for the nap :

My First Class Suite ( Video Link ) :

I always choose to have a shower an hour before landing. The Washroom doubles up as a Shower Facility onboard the A380 :

Video Link for Shower Spa :

Some fruits before landing :

Approaching Barcelona. The Compass Feature is beautiful on ICE :

Nearing Touchdown :

Landing at Barcelona Airport ( Video Link ) :

Barcelona El Prat International Airport :

A quick exit from the Airport Formalities and a spanking new BMW 7 Series was waiting for me to drop me at Novotel Barcelona City.

Enroute to the Hotel :

Barcelona - Mumbai ( 20th May 2016 ) :

The Mercedes Viano Van for return transfer :

Driving to the Airport :

All formalities complete in record time, it was time to relax in the lounge, common for First and Business :

My Business Class Seat to Dubai :

Ginger Ale, not anything else ;)

Dinner Options on-board :

Taxiing to the Runway :

Takeoff from Barcelona ( Video Link ) :

The English Premier League Show. Fairy Tale Story of Leicester City FC :

Dinner :

Such a comfortable looking bed :

"Hitting the Apex" a Fantastic Presentation about Moto GP riders :