My Other Favourite F-Word… F1

Now I’m going to let you in on something…

Some people may be surprised to know that “food” is NOT my most favourite F-word.

Though food is a massive passion of mine, it’s not my #1 obsession – that would be Formula One motor racing. I’m a huge F1 nerd. If I was ever faced with a choice of spending a year dining at twenty of the best Mitchelin starred restaurants in the world or travelling to all of the Formula One circuits in a season, I’d choose F1. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So, you can imagine that when I visited Daniel Ricciardo’s race winning Red Bull at the new WA Motor Museum extension, I was totally giddy with excitement!

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Why F1?

My love of F1 started back in the mid-1990s, when I was a teenager and had been living in the UK for a few years. I’d spend hours on the weekend watching the race build up, driver interviews and religiously watched qualifying and each race.

So why the big obsession? To be honest, it doesn’t come down to just one thing. I love the excitement, speed, noise, glamour and drama of each race and season. What the drivers, team managers and expert pundits have to say absolutely fascinates me.

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My husband “Chef” will occasionally watch a race with me. He’ll shake his head when I insert a random nugget of info that I know – like Michael Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone in 1999 (at Stowe Corner) or an inconspicuous person sitting on the pit wall is Rob Smedley, one of the technical peeps at Williams – who incidentally haven’t been at their best for a long time (like, decades). Or I have to tell him to “calm the eff down” cos the F1 car is NOT on fire – it’s just brake dust or sparks flying from the undercarriage hitting the track. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve explained the DRS (Drag Reduction System) to him. My party trick is to name every F1 Champion and team (in order) for the last 25 years. As you can see, a lot of incredibly useless F1 info is swarming around in my head. Though I find it endlessly captivating.

In my 19 years of being a dedicated fan, I’ve not been to a race yet. It is top of my bucket list (in red, underlined AND highlighted). Distance and cost have been factors (gotta love living in the world’s most isolated capital city)! I am determined to get to an actual race weekend one day. Which one would I go to? Melbourne and Singapore would both be obvious choices and fantastic destinations for a foodie too! Monaco would also be an iconic race to visit. My first choice would have to be the Belgium GP. To watch an F1 car zoom up the sweeping Eu Rouge would be breathtaking.

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My Most Memorable Race

One of my all-time favourite F1 races was at Spa in 1998. It really cemented my love of F1. It was a crazy race where anything and everything happened (a bit like this year’s Azerbaijan race). Torrential rain caused a mass pile up on the starting lap, which took out about 13 of the cars. It was a spectacular sight and a wonder no one got hurt. Back in those days each team was lucky to have a spare car, so many of the drivers were still able to race at the re-start.

Cars were aquaplaning off the circuit left right and centre in the horrendous conditions. Michael Schumacher was winning by miles (he was the rain-meister after all). His Ferrari came up to lap David Coulthard in the McLaren and he ended up slamming right into the back of him, as visibility was so poor. He lost one of his front tyres and had to three-wheel it back to the pits. I remember chuckling as he stormed down to DC’s garage, it looked like there was going to be a punch up. In the end, after even more bingles, only 8 out of 20 cars finished and the bright yellow Jordan’s earned their very first race win, and a 1-2 at that (Damon Hill & Ralf Schumacher).

 

RB10 at the WA Motor Museum

At the WA Motor Museum (Whiteman Park, Western Australia) the RB10, Daniel Ricciardo’s race winning Red Bull from his break out 2014 season, sits proudly rotating on the turntable. This car is the real deal. It’s not a shell or a replica. Its Renault engine is hidden under the shiny Newey-designed chassis. Even the steering wheel, with its many buttons, is still in the cockpit.

This car took Daniel to his maiden Formula One victory in Canada and then wins in Belgium and Hungary later that year. And he’s been kind enough to loan his very special car to the museum, on a long term basis. We’re so lucky to have this here in Perth.

It blows my mind at how much it is worth, “seven figures” according to Daniel Ricciardo, that’s over a million dollars! In future, I’d love to see some more memorabilia at the museum on Daniel Ricciardo and other past Aussie F1 drivers.

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Anyways, I could go on about F1 till the Minardis come home… Of course Daniel is my favourite of the current drivers, but not just as he’s from Perth (and is wildly entertaining off track). He grabs every chance he gets with both hands and is so fierce. Given the right car (and engine), I have no doubt he’ll be our very first West Aussie F1 World Champion.

Did you know Danny Ric is a bit of a foodie too? He’s always hunting down the best food whenever he travels, Sushi in Japan, BBQ in Texas and he is a partner in a micro-brewery in the South of France with another of my F1 faves, 2009 World Champ Jenson Button. How cool is that! Blue Coast Brewing Co is just outside of Nice. I wonder if he’ll bring it to Perth one day?

And for now, we all have a little slice of F1 at the WA Motor Museum. How lucky are we!? Make sure you go down to Whiteman Park and check it out.

Here’s my Buggybuddys review of the Motor Museum. I was stoked to be able to write about cars for once!

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More on the WA Motor Museum here.