Les récits de GillGalad

Les récits de GillGalad

Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix 2012 – Part 1

Part 2



Holidays are sometimes very useful. They give you the opportunity to not work and do something else instead, like going fishing, reading a book or counting the walls in your room. For the Pentecost weekend I wanted to get some excitement, so I went to the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix.


Being lucky, I happen to have family living down in the south, in Nice to be more precise, so it didn’t take me long to decide where I would stay or how much I would spend on hotels. A month before the event, I went on the Grand Prix website and looked for a seat I could afford. Since I couldn’t afford any, I chose a ticket on the Rocher where you can sit, stand, crouch, lie down or do whatever you want to do during the race. Of course, you have to bring a chair if you want to sit, because the Rocher being the least expensive place to be for the GP, you only get access to the area, nothing more, nothing less. Everything else depends on you, really. But more about that later.


Friday was a very sunny day in Paris, so I hoped it would be the same on the French Riviera. Unfortunately, the sky got milky as soon as the plane reached the Alpes-Maritimes. Apparently the Sun had been playing crazy the whole week, showing off in the morning and crawling back into its cave in the afternoon. I was pretty confident, though, we would be granted a special extra-long shining presence for the weekend.


Some friends of mine were staying in the area, so we decided to meet up and go to Monaco on Saturday to see – listen to, should I say – the qualifying session. It was a good decision, because I could pick up my ticket a day before the race and I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to pick it up just a few hours before Vettel and co started their engines.



As we left the train station, we could tell something big was going on. No, I mean really, really big. No matter what direction you were looking at, booths were overtaking streets and sidewalks, sucking tourists and F1 fans into their lairs and releasing them once they bought at least one T-shirt. People buying that stuff don’t always realize how essential they are to the well-being of this sport. Merchandising brings in millions of Euros and may be even more relevant than ticketing, just like the Cayenne, sometimes seen as untrue to its blood, is an immense source of capital which helps Porsche finance the development of the 911 series, their flagship product.


That being said, I immediately got my official 2012 Monaco GP T-shirt. To fit in the crowd, you understand.

The organizers are doing their job very well, as people without tickets have next to no chance of catching a glimpse at the track, thanks to a wall of plates. This I don’t understand, since tickets are sold out anyway. Letting us watch through open fences wouldn’t change anything to their revenue, because people coming from far away, who represent about 70 % of the spectators (a pure guess on my part), will always, always buy tickets. The few ticketless ones around are rarely looking for tickets, especially since you can only buy them online. This means they can’t be considered as potential clients, regardless of plates being there or not.



So we went up the stairs on the remote part of the Rocher, trying to find a weak spot in the system. We did actually find one, so we stayed there throughout the whole qualifying session. Yes, the single-seaters were the size of ants. Yes, standing on your toes hurts after a while. But what a sound… You can hear the pistons endlessly moving up and down in their cylinders, screaming and blasting aggressive sound waves at your ears, creating a symphony of ascending and descending high pitched tones synchronized with the gear changes in the cars. What a joy, what a pleasurable feeling of raw power and performance. It penetrates you, leaving an intoxicating desire for more. More speed. More acceleration. More thrust. More fun. More thrill.


Did I mention the astonishing view? Countless buildings form an arch around the port, with mountains surrounding the principality and giving the scene a majestic touch. I don’t know where I’d want to be more.

The qualifying session ended with a victorious Schumacher who was sadly relegated to sixth place because of his previous collision with Senna in Spain. Webber inherited pole position, i.e. the place to be for the Monaco GP and Grosjean, our national hero, became fourth.



I really hoped Sunday would be fun. Turns out it was.



To be continued...

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