The 2014 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Quebec was my first time at an international sporting event of such scale and grandeur. Consequently, there were lots of things I wish I had known or were thankful to know before attending:
1. Do your research
If you are, much like myself, either unable or unwilling to part with a large, lump sum of money for grandstand tickets, it’d be best to research the circuit in question. In fact, I’d recommend researching it even with grandstand access. Some positions along the track may support a better vantage than others, so you’ll want to make a rough estimate of your ideal location and the route leading to it, prior to the big day.
2. Go early
There’s no point in choosing your ideal location if everyone else has the same idea and beats you to it! So it’s rise and shine, sunshine – the early bird catches the worm! Oh, and don’t forget to inquire about the correct way to pick up your tickets if you don’t already have them; we learnt this though experience.
3. Bring chairs
The main event traditionally isn’t until the afternoon, so if you took heed and followed steps 1 and 2 like good boys and girls, you’ll have some time to kill. That isn’t to say there isn’t enough to keep you occupied though, with additional races and competitions occurring throughout; but it’ll be hard on your feet, and it’s good to mark your territory to avoid your spot getting taken (again, from unfortunate experience)
4. Bring food and drink (if possible)
Boy, all that excitement sure does make you hungry! Although there are dozens of vendors at your disposal, sometimes it’s nice to save a bit of money and eat what you want to eat, as opposed to restricting yourself to greasy pizza, fries or overpriced beer. Policies on outside food and beverages vary from circuit to circuit so it’s best to educate yourself on prohibitions early.
5. Go for the weekend
Now this isn’t to say gain access to the circuit the entire time – this is to your discretion – but I’d encourage experiencing the local environment and nightlife prior to race day because the city-goes-wild. Street parties and festivals scatter the map and if you are lucky, you might see a few famous faces. Remember, anticipation is often the greatest adventure.