Each Grand Prix, a limited number of journalists are granted the right to walk on the starting grid in the hour before the race, when the cars take place. The two reporters from La Presse have been selected and give their impressions following their experience.
Any Formula 1 enthusiast dreams of spending even a few minutes on the grid while all the cars are there – standing still, of course.
My passion for Formula 1 may still be young, but I was genuinely enthusiastic when I saw my name, and that of my colleague, on the list of journalists who had obtained their access. And it would be a lie to say that my only motivation was to tell you about my experience – unlike my colleague, whose interest in F1 I work hard to develop.
It’s around 1:00 p.m. when the doors open and we step onto the gate. Around us, the teams are starting to arrive. Here and there, mechanics drag their carts of tires to their starting square.
From minute to minute, the grid fills up and the teams roll their vehicles to their places. Max Verstappen’s Red Bull up front, of course. Here, the surprising Haas of Nico Hülkenberg in 5th place. It’s still fascinating to see these vehicles whose front spoiler alone is worth more than my 2019 Honda Civic.
There comes a time when there’s so much going on that I don’t really know where to turn. To my left, Red Bull boss Christian Horner greets world-famous DJ Martin Garrix with a handshake. To my right, Verstappen gets out of his racing car.
As I wander through mechanics, cameras and celebrities, my gaze is drawn to the crowded stands, from which unanimous shouts come. I am looking for the reason for this burst of euphoria. Ah, there you go, it’s Gordon Ramsay coming in the opposite direction. It’s bigger than I imagined.
The further down the grid you go, the less crowds there are and the better you can enjoy the moment.
When it’s time for the national anthem, the drivers come one by one to the front of the grid, under the huge Pirelli logo. To my dismay, my colleague decides to leave. No way am I following him; I intend to live the experience to the end.
On my way to the exit, almost an hour after entering the grid, I again pass Verstappen’s Red Bull. The double world champion is motionless, looking at his car. Car that will later win this Grand Prix…
Alright, come on, time to head back to the media center. There’s a race to watch!