Thursday, 5 October 2017

The last race has been run...

The final race for the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit was run last Sunday. The race was won by Dutch driver Max Verstappen for the Red Bull Racing team.

I watched the full race on television, which was something I have not done for a few years now because my interest in F1 racing has waned. However, I thought that it would be nice to view this so-called finale just for the memory. As it turned out, Max won his second victory in F1 on the day after his 20th birthday. That was something of a feat. At that age, I still had not possessed a driving license. Of course, that's not a reasonable comparison. Max comes from a racing family. He started driving go-karts when he was just four and a half years old.

Max is trained by his father, Jos Verstappen who was a Formula One driver himself. Jos was relatively unsuccessful in the sport, having achieved only two podium finishes (3rd place in the Hungarian and Belgian GPs in 1994) in a total of 107 races. His drive for success did not diminish and he turned to mentoring his son to achieve what he had not managed to do. That takes some dedication.

I have not actually watched a live GP race at Sepang before. The tickets are too expensive for me. Furthermore, I think there is more knowledge to be gained by watching the race on TV where the informative commentaries tell you plenty more than you get by sitting in the grandstand and looking at speeding cars running around in circles. But that's just me.

Nonetheless, I can tell you that I have been to the Sepang Circuit once. It was at the official opening ceremony of the race track on 9 March 1999. A friend of mine who worked with Malaysia Airlines had managed to get some free passes from his friend at Malaysia Airports Berhad (who at that time, was the owner of the project). The ceremony was held in the evening, around 9pm if memory serves me right. Having said that, I can't remember much else of the event except for the final fireworks at the end. It was quite an impressive display, as fireworks shows are meant to be. I was seated in a reserved area of the grandstand together with some employees of MAB.

As the fireworks sputtered the final flashes of lights, I overheard an MAB staff next to me wistfully mutter, 'There goes our bonus for this year. Up in smoke..."

With the final F1 race run after 18 years, let's see what becomes of the Sepang Circuit from now on. Let's hope that the whole investment does not go up in smoke.

The sticker pass that's still stuck to my car's windshield to this day


Andrea said...

My BFF and I used to be absolutely crazy over F1 racing. She used to get corporate grandstand tickets but there was a year, just for the heck of it, we decided to rough it out on the grassy hills. The hills were where the diehard fans were - the groupies who traveled from circuit to circuit soaking in the sun and waving their team flags. For me, that was the best F1 experience ever. It was a heady mix of camaraderie, ratcheting noise and sweat. But not for my BFF, and there was nothing I could do in the subsequent years to persuade her to go on the grassy slopes again. I stopped following the F1 races three years ago after my BFF passed away. Just couldn't bear the thought of watching it without her to this day.

Oldstock said...

Sorry to read about your BFF, Andrea. Some things are meant to be done with friends, like watching live sports events.