The island is also home to a casino, a park... and a large number of groundhogs. These little critters have been known to walk on the track and disrupt the race, and every year a large number are rehomed before the event. A week before the race, workers paint the lower walls and barriers with liquid cayenne pepper to try and keep the remaining ones who have escaped capture off the track.
We had decided to buy the basic general admission ticket, and just for the Saturday rather than the three days. We could have gone for allocated seats and for all three days of the event, but we would have had to pay through the nose for the privilege; a waste seeing as we are not massive fans.
Without a clue where would be the best spot for trying to view the race, we wandered around and eventually found a place to stand on the grass where we could actually see the track, and watched the final laps of the Porche GT3 Cup Challenge. (They seemed pretty fast to me…)
Whilst there was a break in proceedings before the F1 Qualifiers took place, we took a walk around the limited area we had access to (good ol' basic tickets...) and kept meeting clusters of people walking around with a coffee from that huge fast food chain with the golden letter logo. Mmm...coffee...
We came across the company's trailer, with ‘Gratuit’ plastered over the front. It was one of those moments when I knew what the word meant, but I couldn't believe it to be true so then doubted my French language ability. Surely it could not be 'free' - there must be a catch? But no, they were giving away free coffee, no catch!
Armed with our paper cups of caffeine, we returned to our quiet spot to watch the beginning of the race. After about a quarter of an hour we decided to walk on and find another spot to try and get a better view – we had limited sight of the track, and by the time the cars whizzed past (they were somewhat faster than the Porches...) we didn't really see them! After walking in the rain for about fifteen minutes, we eventually stumbled across another viewing spot, and this one was equipped with a big TV screen as well, which meant we could see what was happening elsewhere on the track. Much better!
It was a good experience. I wasn't totally taken by it, but I am sure this was not helped by the fact I was feeling tired and ill and the Grand Prix featured many elements which the ME makes me struggle with:
- Loud noises - when a cat purring sounds like a pneumatic drill when I'm having a bad ME-day, an F1 car - even when wearing earplugs - is pretty torturous! Then there are the 'quieter' - on the degree of the F1 scale - sounds of music blaring out from stands, people shouting etc... I was tempted to wear the ear plugs all day!
- Crowds - tens of thousands of people chatting, pushing, mingling, they suck out any spare energy I have (and on those type of days, my spare energy is very much needed for such trivial things as standing, walking, eating, talking etc).
- Queuing and generally standing around - I like standing. I am a stander. But boy is it tiring. Especially for hours on end.
- Smells - of petrol, burning rubber, and fast food. On a 'fragile' day such as this one, they are so intensely strong and it meant with every breath I inhaled, I wanted to be sick.
So, all in all, I was not in the best position to pass judgement on the Canadian Grand Prix experience!