Formula 1 Gran Premio d’Italia 2013 Monza

F1_Monza_2013 (43)With the famous Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix taking place at Monza this weekend, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look back at the 2013 race, which Any Given Reason attended. If you can’t be there in person you might as well be there in spirit, right?

F1_Monza_2013 (38)This post won’t attempt a blow-by-blow account of the race because you can find that elsewhere, written by far more knowledgeable and experienced scribes than myself. This post aims to give a glimpse of what it’s actually like to attend the Italian GP; information that doesn’t make the international broadcast.

F1_Monza_2013 (67)The Monza circuit is situated near the city of Monza, around 50km north of Milan in northern Italy. Below it sits Italy’s motor valley and the homes of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Pagani are all less than a couple of hours drive away. Around 30km north of Monza sits Lake Como, the gateway to the Alps and the rest of Europe. Monza is the spiritual home of modern Formula 1, and is the only circuit to have held a round of the World Championship every year since its inception.  Continue reading

Around Maranello and a visit to Museo Ferrari

Museo_Ferrari (86)Ferrari is a brand that captivates the imagination like no other. Careful cultivation and strong ties to the legendary racetracks and drivers of decades past means that the Prancing Horse holds an almost mythical status today, arguably outstripping the material value of the cars that wear its badges. These days the commercialization of the brand verges on cringeworthy – how many airport Ferrari apparel stores and red co-branded Puma shoes do you need to see before you’re left with no option but to run into the arms of some obscure hipster car manufacturer that nobody has heard of? I mean, who actually buys a Gumpert for any other reason than Ferrari escapism?

Museo_Ferrari (63) But who am I to comment? Ferrari is and always has been the be-all-and-end-all sports and supercar manufacturer for me. I know that some of them aren’t actually that good, aren’t that reliable and the wrong one can make you look like a drug dealer or attention seeking poseur, or both. But I don’t care. I dream of driving them, I dream of owning one. My pulse rises every time I see one. I regularly check Carsales to see what the cheapest Ferrari is, and then ponder the realities of dropping fifty large on a thirty year old hunk of rusting Italian steel with dodgy wiring. Would I? In a heartbeat if I could.

Museo_Ferrari (2)When I set out on my recent Vespa trip around Europe I had almost no plans – I didn’t even know what countries I was going to visit. The only thing I had was a small handful of places in the back of my mind that I wanted to experience, and number one was Maranello.

Museo_Ferrari (1) Because you don’t really visit Maranello – you experience it. Museo Ferrari is the hot-ticket tourist attraction, but the rest of the small industrial suburb of Modena, steeped in so much legend, sits there waiting to be discovered. Just around the corner from the museum are the famous factory gates, looking almost identical as depicted in period photos of the 60’s and 70’s. Continue reading

Formula One returns to the streets at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival Victoria Park Sprint

AMF_Victoria_Park 1427Adelaide’s Victoria Park once again reverberated to the sound of multiple Formula One cars at the recent Adelaide Motorsport Festival Victoria Park Sprint, held on a shortened version of the famous street circuit in the parklands fringing the CBD in mid April.

AMF_Victoria_Park 1427 (1)With Adelaidians still a little bitter over the brutal theft of our popular Grand Prix by the Victorian Government in 1995, the Adelaide Motorsport Festival provided an opportunity to relive those glory days and dream of the remote possibility that the top tier of motorsport may return to our streets one day.

AMF_Victoria_Park 1428But more on the Formula One cars later, because solely focusing on them would be selling the Adelaide Motorsport Festival short. Whilst our favorite open wheelers stole the limelight, there was a strong support program of classes jam packed with all manner of interesting and exotic machinery.

AMF_Victoria_Park 1469The Victoria Park Sprint formed the second day of the two-day festival and consisted of a timed sprint around the section of permanent circuit in Victoria Park. After negotiating the famous Senna Chicane, competitors turned hard right for a sprint up Wakefield Street before another hard right hairpin sent them back onto the permanent track and into Victoria Park once more. Whilst the cars were not out-and-out racing, very spirited driving was permitted and indeed encouraged.  Continue reading

Car hunting in Monaco

MonacoCarHunting 1312You don’t need to say it because I can already hear the calls. ‘Hunting exotic cars in Monaco, that’s a little bit like shooting fish in a barrel, isn’t it?’

MonacoCarHunting 1298Well, yes it is. But that’s no reason not to do it. I mean, what else are you going to do in Monaco? Unless you’re the kind of person who is happily granted entry to the Hotel de Paris or you’re a diehard Formula One anorak, there’s no real reason to come here other than to witness obscene wealth of others. It does have a certain charm, but Monaco doesn’t really offer anything that can’t be found elsewhere on the French Riviera.

MonacoCarHunting 1297However like most readers of Any Given Reason I’m into cars and boats and rally and Formula One, so Monaco was a must-see destination while recently traveling around the Riviera. And the cool thing about not giving a damn about obscene wealth is that I had no issue with attempting to fit in or looking like a tourist, which meant I had no issue with taking photos of the cars.

MonacoCarHunting 1322Because lets be honest – taking photos of nice cars parked on the street is probably the most un-cool thing you can possibly do. But I like interesting cars, so whatever.

MonacoCarHunting 1300The heart of Monaco and the centre of its ‘supercar barrel’ is Casino Square, the tourist filled block of land that acts as the valet area for the most opulent and exclusive hotels and casinos in the Principality. Continue reading

Adelaide Motorsport Festival Media Launch

AMF_Media_Day 905The upcoming Adelaide Motorsport Festival was launched to the media last week with a display of several important racing cars on the Victoria Park circuit, including two Formula One cars that raced in the Adelaide Grand Prix in the eighties.

AMF_Media_Day 909The inaugural event, to be held on the weekend of 12-13 April, has been described as a virtual ‘museum-in-motion’ and celebrates South Australia’s rich motorsport heritage. The event commences on Saturday with the (still to be confirmed) Windy Point Hillclimb, although Sunday’s Victoria Park Sprint will be the headline component and the one that draws the crowds. A section of Wakefield Road will be used to link up a complete circuit with the permanent section of the Clipsal 500/Grand Prix circuit in Victoria Park, creating the perfect setting for the competition vehicles to stretch their legs in the heart of the CBD fringe.

AMF_Media_Day 893Ten Formula One vehicles have so far been confirmed for the event, including the first ever Lotus F1 car from 1957, a 1974 March, the Beatrice Lola Hart driven by Alan Jones in 1985, his 1980 World Championship winning Williams and the car’s shown here. It will be a rare opportunity to not just see these cars, but to hear and experience them being properly worked as their designers intended. Continue reading

John Blanden’s Climb to the Eagle 2013

DSC_0103All good things must come to an end, so the maxim goes, however hand-in-hand with the negative is the positive that regeneration occasionally spawns new traditions. I’m not going to stand here and say that we’d rather have the Climb to the Eagle over a return of Formula One to Adelaide, that would be crazy, but in it’s absence this is a mighty fine way to spend a sunny Friday.

DSC_0031The tradition began back in 1985 when a freshly retired John Blanden suggested to the Australian Grand Prix corp that there should be a classic car component to the first Adelaide Grand Prix. They were extremely receptive of the idea but not to making it a reality, and informed Blanden that if his dream was to come to fruition, he must organise it himself.

DSC_0037With the help of the Sporting Car Club of SA, Blanden turned his idea into one of the highlights of the event and the crown in his classic car roster was the Climb to the Eagle. Held on the Friday morning of race weekend, a traditionally quiet time at any Grand Prix, a large contingent of high quality cars would depart from the start line and navigate their way through peak hour traffic with a police escort before a short blast up the twisty old freeway to a morning tea at the Eagle on the Hill Hotel, just 10km away but with sprawling views of the metropolitan area. Continue reading

Red Bull Hangar 7 at the Salzburg Airport

DSC_0084Most Australian Formula One fans probably share my distaste for the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team. It doesn’t seem to be run in an exactly sporting manner, and the treatment given to Webber in his final seasons in the sport leaves a lot to be desired. But… put all that aside for one moment. There’s a whole lot more to Red Bull than Formula One, and it is all on free display in the excellent Hangar-7 complex at Austria’s Salzburg Airport.

DSC_0236The personal project of energy drink tzar and aviation/motorsport enthusiast Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian genius who made it big by marketing a little known Thai energy drink to the world, Hangar-7 houses his collection of aircraft (called The Flying Bulls) and an assortment of Red Bull sponsored racing cars and bikes.

DSC_0056But just leaving it at that would be selling it short, as Hangar-7 is much more. In addition to the cars and the planes and the bikes it is full of art and sculpture, and functions also as an entertainment space, concert hall and gallery. Continue reading