I am trying really hard to put into words what this week meant to me. In my short career I have worked at Cowboy’s games, UFC events, NBA Playoffs. At the end of the day none of them come close to the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.
This week was a dream within a dream which will be impossible to forget. Working at a Formula 1 Race is by far the best job in the world. I came back to the United States thanks to F1. The way it all began was kind of a joke. I was looking for tickets to come to the United States Grand Prix in Austin as a fan but without a job it was hard to afford. I tried looking for freelancing jobs that could send me there but that also did not work. I had been wanting to go to this race for the past two years but it just wasn’t happening. I then had the idea of asking a friend, that had worked there the year before if she was going back, unfortunately for her, she wasn’t. Then as a joke I asked if I could take her spot. Before I knew it I was being contacted by a german tv station to help out at the USGP. I did not think twice, and said yes to the offer no matter the conditions.
I knew I was heading to a big event but many times the expectation I have of something does not live up to its hype. Formula 1 definitely lived up to it and even surpassed it. Here is why.
The first day was pretty simple with the exception of buying groceries for about 40 people, it took forever but we got it done and then headed to the circuit where I saw where the media outlets from around the world were setting up. Then went up to the tower that overlooks the where you can see the whole circuit. It is an iconic part of the Circuit of the Americas I got to experience without making a long line. The next day the highlight was going for a run around the circuit. I’ve ran around the “Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez” a few times but this is a much more complex race track. More curves and more hills where turn one is by far the hardest one even for the cars but once you get up there the view is great. It was a short run but I loved every step of it.
On thursday I started to meet some of the drivers as I realized I had access to the paddock. That when I was starting to really realize when I was getting into and it would just get better. Just that night, since I was working for a german tv station we got to do an exclusive interview with 4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. Even though I did not understand what was going on during the interview (all in german) I was just happy to be there.
On friday I spent most of my day in the van driving the crew around the circuit and barely had a chance to see the F1 cars in action but I did get to meet even more pilots that day and walk around the pits while the teams were getting ready for the second round of practice sessions. At that moment I knew this was already better than what I expected to do this week and I still had the two most important days ahead of me. I had heard a lot about the low sound that the cars make this year since they have downgraded to a V6 engine and have a 100 kg limit on fuel for every race. I remembered well how in the French GP of 2006 I was barely able to hear a thing after the race but this time my ears never popped no matter how close I could get.
Saturday was a bit more hectic as it was the first time the station would broadcast live so everything had to be done quick and in time. Traffic started to become an issue as more people were coming to COTA. That day the highlight was meeting Pamela Anderson, one of the VIP guests at the race and someone who was really easy to talk to and approach. At the end of the day out of nowhere I met Nico Hulkenberg who was riding his bike while his mechanics ran around the track in a small race for media and F1 entourage I was not aware off. This was done at the same time as the paddock girls rehearsed the routine for the national anthem ceremony. Now the countdown was on for the big day.
Having to buy groceries at 8 am was the start of probably the most exciting day in my post-college life or probably my life. I headed out to the track a few minutes before 10 and made it there around 10:30 thanks to me avoiding a close to one mile line to get to the circuit, if not I probably would have been in line for about another hour. I unloaded the car and then headed to the paddock to help out the production crew and later on we went into the track for the driver’s parade. It was an awesome experience to have all the drivers walk right in front of me. Then walked along the pit lane while mechanics were making the final touches on the cars. Continued with going to turn one to watch the beginning of the race and then to the hospitality suite of Mercedes. For the next hour I walked around the track to see the race from different points and just before the race was over I had the chance of seeing the finish from the Mercedes garage. It was just the icing on cake that was needed to make it an almost perfect week which was slightly damaged when Sergio Perez was out after the first lap.
Things slowly unwinded from that point on, but it was just the right moment to think about everything that went on in the past six days. I was and still am at a loss of words to say how I really feel about it. I knew it really happened since it is now a thing of the past but something I will remember for a lifetime. I went to heaven and came back, I lived in a fantasy world for six days that I will never forget for as long as I live. All I know is that I am beyond lucky to have this on my resume from this point on. It was a job that definitely took me further than I could ever imagine.