A Winning Formula

How the Grand Prix could be your next favourite holiday

Issue: Sep 2010

F1
Thrills and spills for everyone - F1 fans make up a broad demographic today
Photo credit: Australian Grand Prix Corporation

If you are ever at a loss for ideas on your next vacation, combining a major sporting event like the F1 Grand Prix with your travel plans could be a winning formula.

Traditionally held in Europe where all the teams are based, the Grand Prix races are now held all over the world. This year, the Grand Prix tours 19 destinations, beginning in Bahrain and finishing off in Abu Dhabi.

Over in the Asia Pacific region, you might just be speeding off to thrills and excitement not limited to the circuit when you plan an F1 trip to Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur or Melbourne. Although the 2011 F1 calendar has yet to be released, the races in these three cities are typically held early in the year, in March and April.

Shanghai International Circuit
The purpose-built Shanghai International Circuit can accommodate a whopping 200,000 spectators
Photo credit: Emily Walker
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jemsweb/5548205/

Flag Off in Shanghai

The Shanghai International Circuit was the venue of the inaugural Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in 2004. Like many other new Formula One circuits, it was designed by Hermann Tilke and took just 18 months to complete.

Chinese Grand Prix in 2004. Like many other new Formula One circuits, it was designed by Hermann Tilke and took just 18 months to complete. Coincidentally, the 3.387 mile track layout resembles the Chinese character shang (上), meaning 'above' or 'ascend', which is the first character in the city’s name.

Ascott Huai Hai Rd
Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai: Dark wood fittings contrast crisp white tones in a spacious apartment with a colossal flat-screen TV

The track has a demanding mix of long straights, high-speed corners and harrowing hairpins. Drivers need to negotiate seven left- and nine right-hand turns, and reach speeds of 200mph at a 0.7 mile straight. Notable features of the track are a 270 degree turn and the possibility of overtaking.

But that’s not all the highlights you can look forward to. Shanghai showcases more than just the largest F1 circuit in Asia - it is known for its spectacular skyline and historic landmarks.

Bridging the old and the new, ‘must-see’ attractions include the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Grand Theatre and The Bund, which offers a spectacular view of the river and Shanghai Tower at night.

Check in at the newly-opened Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai to enjoy a relaxing stay in spacious and well-appointed apartments. The residence is situated in the Luwan District and has immediate access to the business shopping and entertainment.

In the vicinity are Lippo Plaza, Shanghai Central Square and Raffles City Shanghai while the famous Xintiandi, which boasts the city’s best restaurants and high-end entertainment, is only a short stroll away.

Sungei Wang Plaza
Located close to other popular attractions, Sungei Wang Plaza is well-known for its quaint shops and amazing retail variety

The Perfect Pit Stop

They say that it takes a pit crew about 15 seconds to refuel and change tyres in a pit stop. Crews need to rehearse for hours before every Grand Prix to keep their precision and speed in check.

Like race cars, we all need a chance to recharge every now and then. If you like the warm sun and blue skies, head for Kuala Lumpur to catch the Formula One at the Sepang International Circuit.

The purpose-built track in Sepang is 3.444 miles long and has 10 right- and five left-hand corners going in a clockwise direction.

Coupled with high humidity levels and temperatures close to 40°C, drivers and their cars have to deal with more than the technical aspects of the track. They need to keep hydrated as they lose over a litre of fluid per hour during the race!

Whether you are a fanatical fan or a first-time spectator, there is plenty to see and do in vibrant Kuala Lumpur. The multi-ethnic culture of the country is reflected in the fascinating sights and gastronomic delights of the city.

Shopping is a favourite past-time among locals and visitors. Grab great bargains at the quaint shops in Sungei Wang Plaza or treat yourself to designer retail therapy in the world’s tallest twin towers at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre or KLCC.

Steer South to Albert Park

Unlike the circuits in Shanghai and Sepang, the 3.295 mile track used in the Australian Grand Prix is a temporary circuit that uses everyday sections of road that circle Albert Park Lake in Melbourne.

Casa Batllo
Albert Park transforms into a Grand Prix circuit during the F1 season
Photo credit: Tim Serong

The trackside fencing, pedestrian walkway, grandstands and other infrastructure are built only about a month before the four-day Grand Prix event each year.

While the course is said to be relatively easy to drive, the flat terrain around the lake with few true straight features in the track mean that the circuit is not conducive to overtaking.

Even if you visit Melbourne with the sole purpose of fuelling your Formula One fantasy, you may just leave with a new obsession.

Melbourne is a city that knows how to keep its visitors busy – international cuisine, fine wines, rock gigs, musicals, plays, and festivals all taking place across a city full of parks, modern buildings and historic architecture.

Citadines Melbourne on Bourke
The newly-opened Citadines Melbourne on Bourke is designed with a contemporary feel and within walking distance from the Parliament Station and tram stop

And to make you feel right at home, look for the spacious comfort of a serviced residence. Citadines Melbourne on Bourke, Somerset Gordon Heights, Somerset Gordon Place and Somerset on Elizabeth are all nestled in the heart of the Melbourne city centre.

Attractions like the Melbourne Museum, Chinatown, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne Observation Deck are especially popular with those travelling with family.

So get geared up and race on to your first Formula One destination today!

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