Last weekend at the Australian Grand Prix, I was given the opportunity to spend the day with the Shell and Ferrari team.
The day included a guided Ferrari pit tour including the Shell track laboratory, a 1-on-1 interview session with Shell’s Technology Manager, Guy Lovett, and the rest of the afternoon to relax and enjoy up FP1 and FP2 in their corporate hospitality suite.
Having a pit tour for any team would have been an incredible experience, but to tour a team like Ferrari and have a look at how their garage operates was phenomenal. I felt very significant as I was given a ‘Scuderia Ferrari – Shell Guest’ paddock lanyard and as I entered through the turnstiles into the F1 paddock, the whole moment became surreal.
Behind the security guards. Behind photographers trying to get a snap of the drivers arriving. Behind the tall picketed fences which were accompanied by more security, was the F1 paddock, somewhere I’ve dreamed of being in for a very long time.
We were ushered to the entrance of Ferrari’s garage, a small hallway filled with tyres in their blankets, being prepped for FP1. After walking down the narrow walkway, we entered Shell’s Trackside Laboratory where their Technology Manager, Guy Lovett, was there ready to take us through what sort of work they do in their small trackside lab.
It was a great experience listening to Guy, as he explained how they analysed fuel samples taken before and after a session, as well as how scrupulous he and his team have to be ensuring the fuel mixtures they provide the FIA with are the same, as the FIA can take a sample anytime throughout a weekend.
The tour continued as Richard Bracewell, General Manager of Shell’s Global Sponsorships, took us through the garage out into pit lane, where we had our photos taken as well as some general chit chat about F1.
I really enjoyed talking to Richard about F1 and his experiences travelling from circuit to circuit with the team. It was very intriguing.
The timing was great because just after we arrived, Dick Johnson arrived as a special guest, along with his son Steve and two drivers Tim Blanchard and Jonny Reid.
On the topic of special guests, Marc Gene, former F1 driver and Ferrari test driver, came in to talk about how fuels have an impact on the car. He also mentioned that Australia, along with Canada, has the best atmosphere in F1.
The rest of the day I took advantage of Shell’s Corporate Hospitality Suite to watch FP2 and the V8 Supercars. The suite was positioned right on turn 1 so we had a great view of the drivers trying to navigate themselves through Turns 1 and 2.
The day was such a great experience for me and one that I will definitely never forget. A special thanks to everybody at Shell and Ferrari for this incredible opportunity to go behind the scenes of an F1 team. I would especially like to thank Guy Lovett, Richard Bracewell for giving up their valued time to show me around the garage. Also a big thank-you to Gisella Spedicato and Jill Tenner for their great hospitality. Lastly thanks to RichardsF1.com for giving me this opportunity, I’m very grateful.