The Grand Prix is definitely top of the list when it comes to things to do with the kids. We’re already revving up for the 2019 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix: it’s happening soon (20–22 September, folks!) Circuit Park spanning Marina Bay and beyond will come alive covering an area of approximately 80 football fields (wowsers). The racing spans parkland and cityscapes, showing off the city in all its glittering glory for the 11th edition of this amazing night race. This is an iconic Singapore experience, so don’t miss out!
Kids into cars will particularly love the weekend, although note that children under seven are required to have a signed indemnity agreement for admission into the Circuit Park (it can be obtained at the gates or here). Even for families who aren’t into motorsports, it’s hard to resist getting swept up in the excitement of the weekend: we’re talking awesome entertainment, street closures, food trucks and a fantastic festival atmosphere, not to mention the thrill of watching a night-time race. Stock up on noise cancelling headphones and get down there!
Here’s how to enjoy the Grand Prix with the family…
* Families have a great time at F1 Circuit Park and all children are welcome, but keep in mind that there’s plenty of walking involved, plus crowds – and noise. Collapsible baby buggies can be brought into Circuit Park, but not into the grandstand area. So if you do want to bring little ones, know that you’ll need to take plenty of breaks – or be prepared to do lots of piggy backs.
* Children will need a ticket for entry, and kids under age seven will need a parent or guardian to sign an indemnity form at the gates. All children under 12 must be supervised by a ticket-holding adult.
Survival tips from an F1 veteran
Earphones: F1 is LOUD. Deafeningly so! That noise is pretty impressive, but don’t be fooled by the sound levels you may hear on the TV. Ear protection, therefore, is not only important for adults, but essential for the smaller ears you take along – here’s where to get your noise cancelling headphones. Foam earplugs come with the F1 Survival Kit, (on sale at booths throughout Circuit Park) which also contains a poncho in adult size, and proceeds go to charity. The earplugs are fine for adults and older children, but really, noise-cancelling headphones are the best bet.
Binoculars: As well as your headphones/earplugs, do make sure you bring along a small set of binoculars. The cars are super fast (it would be a bit boring if they were Driving Miss Daisy speeds) and go past in a flash. There is tons of action on and off the track and your child will love finding interesting things to look at as well as the cars.
Ticket sharing: You know your child best. Only you know whether F1 is going to be something that your little one loves or loathes. The event is over three days (Friday is the practice, Saturday qualifying and Sunday is the main race) and so your child needs to be old enough to enjoy the action. Formula 1 tickets are not cheap, so before you spend the money on tickets for the whole family take your kids on a ‘trial run’. A good way to do this is to get tickets for Friday’s practice from someone who will not be using theirs. Tickets are mostly bought as a three-day set, so if you find someone who can’t make one of the evenings, snap up their ticket!
Boredom busters: There are gaps between the cars whizzing past so be sure to pack some boredom-busters for the kids to enjoy in between racing. Try some of your favourite apps for young kids (make sure the phone or iPad is fully charged or bring a battery pack!). Also bring some sketch paper for your little one to capture some F1 fun in their own artistic way.
Stay hydrated: Make sure you and your child drink plenty of water; being outside for hours in our gorgeously warm but insanely humid weather can be dehydrating.
Comfortable shoes and clothes: The car park will likely be far away from the race track, so wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. I wore my gorgeous wedges to a race once and they got ruined when the heavens opened and soaked my wedges into oblivion. Also, do not wear white! For the same reason… the rain is not forgiving on a white dress and unless you want all of Singapore to see your undies then it’s best to wear a dark colour! Lesson learned the hard way… Also, make sure your child is not wearing shoes that rub, causing event-ending blisters!
Bring a radio: Or install a radio app on your phone. When you get to the race they will let you know which station to tune into so that you can hear the announcers. The commentary will help your kids have a better idea of what is going on and make it easier for them to spot their favourite drivers as they flash past.
Rain: Most years, it has stayed dry. But a couple of years back, the rain was torrential (which didn’t stop me, a HUGE Duran Duran fan, standing in a bog for hours to get a front-row spot at their concert!). Make sure you have rain macs and ponchos with you. Umbrellas won’t be of any use unless you want to (a) poke someone’s eye out or (b) get shouted at by the people behind you trying to see the race!
Sun: On the other hand, if it’s a bright, sunny day, remember to slather on the sunscreen if you head to Circuit Park from the afternoon onwards. Bring hats (or pick up an F1 cap) and stay hydrated as the heat can be intense.
Meeting point: If your child is old enough, then do make sure you agree on a meeting point in case you get separated. When you get to the event, find somewhere together to pinpoint as your designated ‘lost and found’.
The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the race!
Tickets to F1 get snapped up in a flash, and some types provide more access across Circuit Park than others (access is divided into Zones 1 to 4), so make sure you know which areas you’re able to enter. Check the map of the circuit here.
Single-day walkabout tickets, which allow access to Zone 4 for one day, are ideal if you don’t need to go full throttle: you can also purchase packages for all three days if you’re keen! Walkabout ticket holders can get as close as three metres away from the edge of the track, and watch the daily concerts held at the Padang during the race. Tickets for entry on Friday, 20 September cost upwards of $98, while tickets for Saturday 21 September and Sunday 22 September cost from $188 and $208 respectively. Each person can buy a maximum of four tickets in this category. Want the full experience? A three-day walkabout ticket is the answer, although sadly they’re all sold out.
Tickets are available now at www.singaporegp.sg.
The track invasion
This post-race tradition, which takes place after the final race on Sunday, allows viewers in Zones 1 and 2 onto the track to experience the bright lights and see the drivers’ view – it’s worth letting older kids stay up well past their bedtime for this one!
Amazing international acts will perform on three stages – access is determined by which zone you have purchased tickets for. There’s an awesome line-up of big names racing into town this year to entertain the masses, including Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gwen Stafani, Fatboy Slim and Swedish House Mafia.
See you there, folks!
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