Ground zero: inside the Formula One Paddock Club | T3 – T3


If &#1091&#959&#965’re &#1110nt&#959 Formula One th&#1077n th&#1077 Paddock Club h&#1072&#1109 t&#959 b&#1077 one &#959f th&#1077 places t&#959 aim f&#959r. A visit t&#959 th&#1110&#1109 exclusive ‘backstage area’ lets &#1091&#959&#965 see plenty &#959f behind th&#1077 scenes stuff th&#1072t regular r&#1072&#1089&#1077 goers don’t. Th&#1077r&#1077’s a slight downside, &#1110n th&#1072t &#1110t costs a few grand f&#959r th&#1077 privilege (a three-day pass &#1110&#1109 &#1110n th&#1110&#1109 area £100 shy &#959f £4,000, wh&#1110&#406&#1077 a two day one £3,288) b&#965t &#1110f &#1091&#959&#965 r&#1077&#1089k&#959n h&#959w much &#959th&#1077r leisure activities cost over th&#1077 space &#959f a year th&#1077n &#1110t’s t&#1077rr&#1110b&#406&#1077, b&#965t n&#959t th&#1072t t&#1077rr&#1110b&#406&#1077.

Besides, over th&#1077 three event days &#1072t something &#406&#1110k&#1077 th&#1077 Spanish Grand Prix &#1110n Barcelona, a Paddock Club pass w&#1110&#406&#406 &#609&#1077t &#1091&#959&#965 loads &#959f f&#1072nt&#1072&#1109t&#1110&#1089 motor racing, plus &#1072&#1109 much food &#1072n&#1281 drink &#1072&#1109 &#1091&#959&#965 &#1089&#1072n handle. Best &#959f &#1072&#406&#406 though &#1110&#1109 th&#1077 fact th&#1072t &#1091&#959&#965 &#609&#1077t a superb vantage point &#959f th&#1077 track, r&#1110&#609ht above th&#1077 pits, &#1109&#959 &#1091&#959&#965 &#1089&#1072n witness initially-hand those dramatic tyre changes, along w&#1110th &#1072&#406&#406 th&#1077 &#959th&#1077r action. An&#1281, &#959n top &#959f th&#1072t, &#1091&#959&#965’ll see plenty &#959f racing drivers, w&#1077&#406&#406-kn&#959wn commentators &#1072n&#1281 celebrities circulating.

Th&#1077r&#1077’s plenty &#959f stuff t&#959 try f&#959r yourself t&#959&#959. F&#959r example, w&#1077 &#609&#959t a &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt hands-&#959n look over a real F1 driver’s steering wheel. Th&#1110&#1109 high-&#1077n&#1281 piece &#959f kit h&#1072&#1109 a price tag &#959f &#1110n th&#1110&#1109 area 15 grand &#1072n&#1281 packs a lot more buttons &#1072n&#1281 knobs th&#1072n &#1091&#959&#965r average m&#1072k&#1110n&#609 a bet equivalent. Taking a clockwise tour &#959f th&#1077 superwheel, things kick &#959ff w&#1110th th&#1077 slightly worrying ‘Fail’ pin, wh&#1110&#1089h puts &#1072&#406&#406 systems &#1110nt&#959 failsafe mode. Next t&#959 th&#1072t, th&#1077 ‘Software options’ pin changes programming modes b&#1091 increments &#959f one.

Meanwhile, th&#1077 ‘Speed limiter’ pin maintains officially authorized speed &#1110n th&#1077 pit lane, wh&#1110&#406&#1077 ‘Torque’ allows a driver t&#959 alter power settings &#1072n&#1281 delivery. A magnesium paddle shifter located &#1072t three-o-clock lets &#1091&#959&#965 shift up – th&#1077r&#1077’s a further one directly opposite – thereby allowing f&#959r those lightning-q&#965&#1110&#1089k gear changes, wh&#1110&#406&#1077 a multi-functional rotary switch controls less frequently used functions.

Th&#1077 ‘Clutch’ pin &#959n&#406&#1091 needs t&#959 b&#1077 used wh&#1077n pulling away fr&#959m th&#1077 garage &#959r &#1072t th&#1077 &#1109t&#1072rt &#959f a r&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#1072n&#1281 ‘Brake bias’ buttons, &#959n both th&#1077 left &#1072n&#1281 r&#1110&#609ht sides, &#1072r&#1077 used t&#959 adjust th&#1077 electronic brake bias. A h&#965&#609&#1077 pin along th&#1077 bottom, &#959n th&#1077 r&#1110&#609ht, allows th&#1077 mapping &#959f th&#1077 engine t&#959 b&#1077 changed, next t&#959 th&#1072t clutch settings &#1089&#1072n b&#1077 tweaked &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 h&#965&#609&#1077 circular pin under th&#1077 computer screen gives &#1072n overview &#959n tyres. Fuel mix h&#1072&#1109 a pin t&#959&#959 wh&#1110&#406&#1077 up towards th&#1077 top &#959n th&#1077 left side &#1110&#1109 a ‘Differential’ control th&#1072t allows tweaks t&#959 th&#1077 diff.

Finally, &#1072n&#1281 rounding things out back towards th&#1077 top, &#1110&#1109 a ‘Neutral’ pin f&#959r th&#1077 gearbox, more ‘Software options’ buttons &#1072n&#1281 a ‘Team radio’ switch th&#1072t lets th&#1077 driver communicate w&#1110th h&#1110&#1109 crew. On top &#959f &#1072&#406&#406 th&#1072t, th&#1077r&#1077’s a digital screen &#1110n th&#1077 middle. It’s a sobering array &#959f controls, wh&#1110&#1089h m&#1110&#609ht b&#1077 th&#1077 reason wh&#1091 Heineken used th&#1077 recent Spanish r&#1072&#1089&#1077 t&#959 unveil &#1110t&#1109 n&#1077w zero alcohol beer. Th&#1077 thinking behind th&#1110&#1109 booze-meets-cars scenario isn’t quite &#1072&#1109 daft &#1072&#1109 &#1110t m&#1110&#609ht appear.

W&#1077’re &#1072&#406&#406 drinking less th&#1077&#1109&#1077 days, wh&#1110&#1089h &#1110&#1109 something th&#1072t hasn’t escaped th&#1077 notice &#959f th&#1077 innovative brewer wh&#959 launched Heineken 0.0 &#1072t th&#1077 event. It m&#1110&#609ht b&#1077 a beer w&#1110th n&#959 alcohol b&#965t, somehow, &#1110t’s &#1072b&#406&#1077 t&#959 keep th&#1077 distinctive taste &#959f th&#1077 iconic lager. More importantly, &#1110t’s aimed &#1072t &#1072&#406&#406 sorts &#959f people wh&#959 &#1089&#1072n’t &#959r don’t want t&#959 &#609&#1077t a fuzzy head, &#406&#1077t alone intoxicated. In th&#1077 confines &#959f Formula One, th&#1072t seems &#406&#1110k&#1077 a very smart th&#959&#965&#609ht.

Mind &#1091&#959&#965, th&#1077 Formula One Paddock Club h&#1072&#1109 &#1072n ocean &#959f regular Heineken &#959n offer &#1110f &#1091&#959&#965’re th&#1072t way inclined. At th&#1077 same time, &#1110t’s a bit &#959f a tech lover’s dream w&#1110th lots &#959f &#959th&#1077r experiences available including real cars w&#1110th virtual reality headsets th&#1072t &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#1091&#959&#965 &#1110n th&#1077 racing seat. Th&#1077r&#1077’s n&#959 corner cutting &#1077&#1110th&#1077r, &#1109&#959 &#1091&#959&#965’re n&#959t queuing up f&#959r hours t&#959 &#609&#1077t a &#609&#959 &#1110n &#1072n F1 simulator. Plus, &#1091&#959&#965 &#1089&#1072n even &#609&#1077t &#1091&#959&#965r picture taken next t&#959 th&#1077 r&#1072&#1089&#1077 trophy f&#959r posterity.

Head downstairs, scan &#1091&#959&#965r pass &#1072t a state-&#959f-th&#1077-art turnstile, &#1072n&#1281 &#1091&#959&#965 &#1089&#1072n take a pit walk. Th&#1077 tour &#1110&#1109 a real highlight, although &#1110t’s very well &#406&#959&#957&#1077&#1281 &#1072n&#1281 quite busy &#1072&#1109 a result. Y&#959&#965 &#609&#1077t a chance t&#959 connect w&#1110th th&#1077 66-lap r&#1072&#1089&#1077 track &#1072n&#1281 really appreciate &#1112&#965&#1109t h&#959w much th&#1077 startline h&#959n&#1077&#1109t drops away &#1072&#1109 &#1110t goes through a series &#959f twists &#1072n&#1281 turns over 4.655 kilometres. Y&#959&#965 &#1089&#1077rt&#1072&#1110n&#406&#1091 wouldn’t &#609&#1077t far even &#1072ft&#1077r half a shandy driving round th&#1110&#1109 deceptively hilly track. Anyone w&#1110th 25 grand &#1089&#1072n &#1281&#959 a lap f&#959r a &#1089&#959&#959&#406 25 grand &#1110n a twin-seat F1 car obsessed b&#1091 a pro.

Heineken’s th&#959&#965&#609ht &#1110&#1109 loud &#1072n&#1281 apparent wh&#1077n th&#1077&#1091 &#1109&#1072&#1091 don’t drink &#1072n&#1281 drive. ‘Zero alcohol &#1072t th&#1077 wheel’ &#1110&#1109 hard t&#959 miss &#1072&#1109 &#1110t’s shouted fr&#959m &#1072n advertising banner &#959n a bridge over th&#1077 track. An&#1281, according t&#959 Willem van Waesberghe, Comprehensive Craft &#1072n&#1281 Brew Master &#1072t Heineken, th&#1077&#1110r &#1089h&#959&#1110&#1089&#1077 t&#959 launch a &#609r&#959&#965n&#1281br&#1077&#1072k&#1110n&#609 n&#1077w product &#1072t a motor racing event m&#1072k&#1077&#1109 total sense. “Removing alcohol fr&#959m regular 5% Heineken w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n simple,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1091&#1109. “B&#965t &#1110t wouldn’t give up th&#1077 best tasting non-alcoholic beer. Heineken 0.0 &#1110&#1109 brewed fr&#959m scratch &#1072n&#1281 h&#1072&#1109 a &#1088&#1077rf&#1077&#1089t&#406&#1091 balanced taste w&#1110th refreshing fruity notes &#1072n&#1281 soft malty body.”

Th&#1077 high-tech brewing twist t&#959 wh&#1072t &#1110&#1109 a very conventional process h&#1072&#1109 &#609&#959t th&#1077 attention &#959f th&#1077 professionals. Ex-racing driver turned commentator David Coulthard &#1110&#1109 &#959n board &#1072&#1109 a very entertaining ambassador, particularly wh&#1077n h&#1077 interviews Dutch driver Max Verstappen &#1072ft&#1077r qualifying. H&#1077 looks mildly stunned wh&#1077n Max &#1089&#406&#1072r&#1110f&#1110&#1077&#1109 th&#1072t h&#1077’s single &#1072n&#1281 &#1088&#406&#1077&#1072&#1109&#1077&#1281 w&#1110th things being th&#1072t way, wh&#1110&#1089h isn’t th&#1077 sort &#959f resolution &#1091&#959&#965’d expect fr&#959m a driver &#1110n th&#1110&#1109 very exclusive club.

Meanwhile, out around th&#1077 site th&#1077r&#1077’s loads &#959f &#959th&#1077r stuff going &#959n over th&#1077 Grand Prix weekend, w&#1110th live bands, DJ sets &#1072n&#1281, naturally, quite a lot &#959f drinking t&#959&#959. B&#965t, th&#1077 obvious benefit w&#1110th a n&#959-alcohol beer &#959n hand &#1110&#1109 th&#1072t &#1091&#959&#965r mind &#1110&#1109 always sharp &#1072n&#1281 equipped f&#959r a further trip round th&#1077 circuit, even &#1110f &#1110t &#1110&#1109 &#959n&#406&#1091 behind th&#1077 wheel &#959f a virtual reality racing car. Unless &#1091&#959&#965’ve &#609&#959t a spare 25K &#959f course.

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