Our love story with F1 is as old as we are. Since 19 years ago when we met, we started to watch it regularly together, like a ritual on Sundays.
He was a Schumacher fan, I was a Senna and Alonso fan.
We went to Hungaroring to see the world’s champion and one of the best drivers in history (Lewis Hamilton), a new contender to the history books maybe (Verstappen) and Alonso in what I thought was his final F1 year (he since signed another contract).
And after 2 failed tries where we had tickets (Magyar Grand Prix 2020 without spectators due to Covid in 2020 and a sickness in 2022 causing us to miss Barcelona)…
…we finally made it there.
So we thought to give you some tips&tricks just so you can have the best experience in your first F1 race. Or maybe some tips for your Hungaroring F1 race.
How to get ready for your first F1 race or for this track –
our experience at Hungaroring 2022
Getting ready for your first F1 race:
Some things to take into consideration before buying tickets, especially if you have a favorite driver or track:
- check the schedule and follow the F1 Ticket Store, because the schedule for placing the tickets on sale is chaotic. This year, just after the Hungarian GP the tickets for next year are available. But for Italy in September the tickets became available only in June of this year. Covid and other restrictions (Rusia canceled) can make the schedule change.
- if you can, get tickets for all 3 days but make sure to come a day earlier. Some tracks provide a free track walk in Thursday and you can see the garages and maybe meet the drivers.
- the prices are better if you buy tickets a year before and better on Black Friday. The risk is that waiting for Black Friday can mean no more seats at the spot you want.
- with the tickets make sure to book a parking place, as some need reservation. At Hungaroring there are Free parking areas, but also some that need a certain type of ticket.
- we purchased the tickets in January for July and couldn’t get the ones we wanted initially (Silver 4, that we got in 2020). Almost everything was sold out. But we were lucky this time, as Gold 3 is amazing for all the action on this track and almost all of the 68 overtakes took place left of us and the start action was right in front of us.
- ALWAYS buy tickets from authorized sellers or the tournament page directly. Also, check the viewing availability (use the “map view” of individual seats to get an impression of what the view looks like).
- They encourage you to print your ticket, so have it in print, but also on your phone, for reason explained below.
When choosing a seat at your first F1 race, think about this:
- Will there be sun or rain? What was the past like? Be mindful of the track. Some races can be canceled because of the weather. (see Spa 2021, a huge mess of a race canceled after 3 laps because of the rain).
- As a general rule, stay a little higher for a better overall track experience, but lower if you want to see the TV where you can watch all the action and the classification live (what people see on TV).
- There are seats and stands special made for people with disabilities. (Gold 3 is one of them at Hungagoring).
- Where are the best places for what you want to see? What do you want to see? Overtakes, accidents and mistakes, speeeeed? Chose your poison and then look for the seats best for what you look for. You can take notes during races from the years before or search the internet for opinions from fans.
As I said, we got lucky with Gold 3 still available. We wanted Silver 4 because of the high-ground positioning and the price. But they were sold out.
General admission is a great option for Hungarian GP, much like Barcelona GP, because of the natural hills surrounding the track.
The Bronze grandstands are on the opposite side from were we stood and the track is so long it was impossible for us to walk there to get the feel of the place. But some sites recommend Bronze 2 if you chose a Bronze. Remember that that walk to the main action site on the straight and the entry is long.
The Silver grandstands are along the straight, with Silver 4 being the highest one and offering the best overall perspective. It’s recommended by experts and fans.
Gold 3, our seats, is close to the entry, close to food stands and toilets, close to 2 big screens and close to the best point of interest, the turn 1. It’s not recommended so if you find them, buy tickets at Gold 4, closer even to the curve and with a clearer view of the start. If Gold 3 was so cool for us, I can only imagine what the thrill is in Gold 4.
At your first F1 race: how to dress, what to bring, what to do, what to know.
- The merch at the circuit is more expensive than online, on the official F1 store. But the experience of getting the favorite cap or shirt at the track is priceless. As a note, some tracks have special merch, as the teams release special editions for those races. This year, the neon cap of Lewis Hamilton from the Silverstone GP was sold out online and at the track in less than 1 day.
- Come early, as it can take up to 2 hours or more to get inside the parking. As an advice, get accommodation in Mogyorod and start from there on foot to the entry. Follow the map to gain entry closer to your sector, as the main gate can be crowded. We were in in about 10 minutes at gate 8.
- To enter the Hungaroring you must pass through a security check at arrival. Glass and some other things are best left home. Check the email from F1 informing you of the rules and policy for the track.
- Bring sun screen for the heat and rain protection. This year the temperature on Sunday was 16 C, and it rained here and there. The rain poncho we had was a stroke of genius.
- Bring food, because the lines at the food stall are huge and the food itself is meah, but some people at the entry make you throw it away…it’s a game of chance I think.
- Outside the track at Hungaroring, there are merch stalls but the prices are the same as the ones found inside.
- If you want to buy something, do it in the morning, as the people gather latter in the day and that all want to be dressed for the main race.
- As at the cinema or theatre, when you pass someone on your row, do it facing them, not turning your ass at them : )
- You can bring flags and other homemade messages on paper or cloth.
- Binoculars are a good idea, for following the racers on the other side and the screens for the action and classification, because at some point, after the first tire change especially, the order is hard to guess.
- Every entry into the grandstand means someone will scan your ticket, even if you go to get food. have your ticket with you and a pic of it on your phone.
- Get ear plugs ig you have a problem with extremely loud noises. For me it was heaven, but some people were constantly with fingers in ears.
- Don’t lose the driver parade half an hour before the race start.
- take a pic with the drivers at the special panels with their pictures.
- If you want to be there for the awards ceremony, leave your seats 5 laps before the end and get to the pit entry. They will open the gates and let people onto the track at the end. Be careful, the crowd is massive.
- Don’t hurry on your way out, or be the first: the parking areas are manned by police and they will release you slowly and in an orderly fashion. This can mean that, like us, you can lose up to 2 hours in traffic just until you reach the exit.
Thoughts and Fun facts:
- Explore the circuit and take notes for the next visits, pics for perspective and get involved in the games and events offered by the organizers and sponsors.
- Show respect to other fans. In Hungary some Max fans set Hamilton merch on fire. 🙁
- Don’t boo a driver or cheer a crash. These are real people, doing really risky stuff for your entertainment.
Fun fact> It was such a joy to root along thousand of people, the atmosphere is one half the spirit. The rest is the otherworldly smells and sounds. You anticipate the speed, but it still feels incredible watched in person. It was one of the best experiences of our lives and 100% worth it to witness. I can only imagine how those sounds were a few years ago, when Formula 1 was even rawer.
Not so fun fact>With all the Covid in the world, the rules will bend a lot on these events, so take care of yourself.
Interesting fact> Merch tip: before buying something branded with your driver, ask yourself this: will your favorite still be with the team in 1 year or 2? (See Alonso, who moved from Alpine to Aston) Lucky I didn’t buy any memorabilia in pink and blue.
Thank you for reading. Can you recommend another track that’s even better?
Happy moments, The GALs, Catalina&Florin
More pics and travel tips on my Instagram – click here.
”We’re a couple in love with travel and living the moment. We hope to give you some good tips from experience so that you can have the best of times.”
Decide on a trip to Hungaroring>TICKETS
- What I recommend as a must-have is rain protection
- A pair of binoculars>Like these
- Bruch up on your F1 knowledge with Formula 1: The official History by Maurice Hamilton
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A video from our first F1 race, Hungarian GP 2022