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Formula One™ fan Brett from Manchester enjoys exclusive access to a senior team figure in Monaco — plus plenty of canapés…
I’d bet that even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘petrol-head’, you still know a thing or two about Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. Six Drivers Championships, four Constructors Championships, one team at the pinnacle of Formula One™. The ‘Silver Arrows’ have set the benchmark for Formula One™ success during the sport’s current hybrid era, dominating the past four seasons. You’ll know their drivers — current World Champion Lewis Hamilton and his teammate, Valtteri Bottas.
So when one of the biggest names in global sports partners with the leading sports travel agency, you know the result will be something special. The exclusive Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Experience does not disappoint, offering:
And basically everything you’d want to create a truly memorable sporting experience.
I was lucky enough to attend the Monaco Grand Prix event — the first of four tailor-made experiences offered to fans throughout 2018. The other three are the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Italian Grand Prix at Monza and the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
The evening started with a quick transfer from the collection point near my hotel in Nice to the Stars ’n’ Bars restaurant at the circuit in Monaco. This venue is spectacularly situated, with unrivalled views of the paddock, directly behind the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport truck. Its entrance staircase is adorned with hundreds of photographs of celebrities who’ve enjoyed this impressive establishment’s hospitality.
On arrival, Thomas Cook Sport staff presented us with our bespoke Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport supporter pack, including a team polo shirt, cap, umbrella and earplugs. Thinking ‘That’s my weekend outfit sorted’, I enjoyed a complimentary glass of Champagne while taking in the famous harbour views beyond the paddock. A great mix of people were enjoying the evening, from die-hard Mercedes fans to more general Formula One™ followers. And there were even more casual supporters who were simply interested in making their Grand Prix experience that little bit extra special.
Enjoying a seemingly endless supply of delicious canapés, I thought of questions I could ask the senior team member who would later join us. ‘How’s preparation for the weekend going?’ ‘What makes Monaco so different to other tracks?’ ‘How do the drivers prepare?’ Before our VIP arrived (their identity kept under wraps in the run up to the event), there was an introductory talk from our MC for the evening.
We were given a run down of team basics, the Monaco track and nuggets of information you just don’t learn via usual media channels.
Then the fun really started — we played a game for the chance to win two places to see behind-the-scenes with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. The prize was revealed as a VIP visit to the pits on the Saturday morning — I didn’t win but was jealous of the two who did! I caught up with them the following day to hear how close they’d been to the action, seeing the engineers hard at work ahead of a crucial day of qualifying. Now it was time for the senior team member to arrive, which was revealed as Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team manager, Ron Meadows!
This was unbelievable access to a key decision maker in the team, who proceeded to reveal intimate details about the race weekend. He also gave his thoughts on the future of Formula One™, his Champions League final prediction and so much more besides. When we got the opportunity to ask our own questions there was no shortage of takers. Ron then surprised us further by awarding the asker of his favourite question two spots for the behind-the-scenes experience.
I definitely regretted not asking my question, even if it wasn’t the best one — must work on my interviewing skills! Ron talked with us for a while before he had to leave for important race business. Everyone in the room was delighted to have chatted one-on-one with a key member of the biggest Formula One™ team in the world. All that was then left to do was enjoy the complimentary bar and canapés while soaking up the party atmosphere, complete with DJ and saxophonist.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Experience was everything that I thought it would be and more. Having the friendly Thomas Cook Sport team on hand to answer additional questions about Monaco and other motorsports experiences was useful too. The only question left now is: which Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Experience should I book next?
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