by Pam Fletcher
01st July 2011
The day started with what many people had expected to be a wet and rainy day. There were a few minutes of spitting rain on the way to the Sepang International Circuit located 60km south of Kuala Lumpur but when we arrived there, it was absolutely scorching. But this didn't stop the 65,000 enthusiasts who had turned up to support their favourite Formula 1 team on the last day of the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix 2011 and enjoy the palpable excitement that is part and parcel of speed races such as this.
I was part of the Brunei media participating in the Mega Familiarisation Programme organized by Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines and guess what? We got GRANDSTAND tickets! This was my first ever Formula 1 race and it certainly lived up to all the media hype that came with it. The super fast cars, the penetrating high-pitched sound of cars whizzing past, the world-class drivers and even their pit crew looking striking in their team colours gave the entire atmosphere a heightened sense of excitement. The total precision of the pit crew executing a tyre change with lighting speed was impressive and attracted quite a bit of attention from the grandstand crowd who were poised to capture the event each time a car pulled up to its pit stop. The entire race was played out on a giant screen right in front of the grandstand which gave a blow by blow account of the spectacular race as drivers overtook each other at crucial points to gain the lead position. The cars are really, really fast – as they should be – but to actually feel the speed as they whiz past is quite electrifying.
A few minor collisions and stumbles only made the race that more thrilling as the crowd held their breath and looked on in anticipation. The outcome was all good and the race ended on a high note for Team Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel who took the chequered flag followed by Jensen Button of McLaren and Nick Heildfeld of Lotus Renault respectively.
I've watched Formula 1 races on television before but seeing it actually happening in front of you is phenomenal. It was loud, fast, colourful and gripping – all the ingredients to satisfy the speed demon in you. The concourse from the entrance to the grandstand was festive with fans walking about in their favourite team colours, waving country flags and even dressing up in costume to show their enthusiastic support. The merchandise booths and food and beverage stalls were doing brisk business while sport activities like rock climbing and go-carting gave fans something to do while waiting for the race to start. Race day ended with a concert by popular Korean singer Rain, who entertained throngs of screaming fans with his energetic dance moves and charming personality.
The Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix 2011 was held from 8th-10th April and will be back again next year so make sure not to miss out on this truly awe-inspiring event.
The Mega Familiarisation Programme in conjunction with the Malaysia International Shoe Festival 2011 and Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix was sponsored by Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines.
A Place for All Seasons