A beautiful sunny Wednesday afternoon in February, sat in the McLaren brand centre having a cup of tea. To my left, a friend I travelled to F1 Testing with and to my right, Lando Norris’ mum watching her son dance around Catalunya.
My first ever time seeing Formula 1 cars up close and personal, at a real race track and I can only describe the experience in one word: incredible.
I decided to go to F1 testing with a friend, and meet some people I’d met on twitter along the way. On the first day, getting ready to go to my first ever trackside experience I felt the same way I do before every race day, nerves filled with excitement. I got to the track and was speechless, its a feeling that will never compare. I met some friends and stood above the pitlane, right above McLaren.
Stood watching the world go by, with the sounds of the 2020 F1 Cars zooming past, I look down at my phone to a direct message notification from twitter. Open it up and to my absolute disbelief, it’s from McLaren asking if I would like to have a tour of the garage that afternoon!
The answer was of course YES! I was ridiculously excited, my first F1 Experience and it was only getting better. I was asked to meet them outside the paddock at 2:15pm just after lunch, the perfect time to see one of my favourite drivers head out onto track for his first run in the afternoon session. Sarah and myself got there way too early, eagerly waiting for the chance to be unleashed into the paddock and straight into the McLaren Garage.
We were soon picked up by one of McLaren’s Social Media Team, and someone from their Digital Team who informed us they’d be filming our visit for the McLaren App! The walk up to the garage through the Paddock was amazing, the excitement just built and built. Walking in, you could hear the hustle and bustle of the garage getting the car ready to put some laps in. It was so loud I couldn’t hear anybody speaking to me, but that was okay.. because all I wanted to do was take in my surroundings in one of the most amazing places I’ll ever go to.
Before we knew it, Lando walked into the garage and we watched him get into his car, our whole reaction to the fire up was filmed for the app and McLaren’s Instagram stories and you can just tell how amazed me and Sarah were. After he head out onto track, Mark and Charlie took us to the McLaren Brand Centre for a cup of tea – and the building is almost as amazing as the MTC (okay not quite, but still very very cool). When we were having a little tea break, Carlos walked out of his room and shot us a little smile and wave before heading downstairs and across the paddock into the garage.
We were asked to do some speaking bits for social media – I say we, Sarah did the majority because I just couldn’t find the words to describe this experience, and it was much too short notice to write up a script to rehearse. We left the paddock feeling ecstatic, overwhelmed, speechless. It truly was an experience I will never forget.
Thank you, McLaren.