It's pretty slow going for Formula 1 fans at the moment, with keen followers of the sport impatiently counting down the days until the class of 2013 finally rolls out of the Albert Park pit lane in Melbourne for the first free practice--67 days from now, to be exact.
That's still a bit of a wait, but why not give yourself a better reason to cross out the days by booking a trip to watch one of the upcoming season's races live? Local travel facilitator Red Rock Travel, which specializes in motorsports tours, offers packages for the first three F1 races of 2013, all happening quite close to home: the Australian GP in Melbourne (March 15 to 17), the Malaysian GP in Sepang (March 22 to 24), and the Chinese GP in Shanghai (April 12 to 14).
Twin-sharing Australian GP packages start at AUD1,891 ($1,986) per person, which includes round-trip airfare via Malaysia Airlines; six-day, five-night accommodations at the Punthill South Yarra Davies serviced apartments; round-trip transfers between the airport and the hotel; and Myki travel cards for getting around via various public-transport services.
Add a third person to your party and the base package cost drops to AUD1,777 ($1,866) per person. Excluded from the price are airport terminal fees; optional city tours; gratuities and tips; daily meals; travel insurance; Australian visa processing (P6,500 per person); and the actual Australian GP grandstand tickets ranging from AUD339 ($356) to AUD569 ($598) each.
"The Australian GP is a fan favorite because festivities begin on Thursday (March 14), giving you your money's worth," says William Herrera, Red Rock Travel's vice president for operations. "Also, since it's the first race of the season, fans look forward to knowing which team has made the most of winter testing. The majority of those who win at Melbourne usually go on to win the championship."
Meanwhile, the base Malaysian GP package is priced at $941 per person, with a minimum of two people traveling at the same time. This covers round-trip airfare via Malaysia Airlines; four-day, three-night accommodations with daily breakfast at a three-star hotel; airport-to-hotel and hotel-to-circuit round-trip transfers; Philippine travel tax; travel insurance; and three-day Malaysian GP K1 grandstand tickets.
Opting for a four- or five-star hotel bumps up the per-person rate to $1,003 or $1,107, respectively, while GP ticket upgrades start at $38 for the Garnet/Topaz section of the Sepang International Circuit's main straight. Exclusions to the package are airport terminal fees, optional city tours, gratuities and tips, and daily meals.
Herrera shares some important tips for first-timers at this event, given Sepang’s punishing humidity and raging thunderstorms: "The basic things you need while attending the Malaysian GP are sunblock, a pocket raincoat, and a change of clothes. It would also be prudent to wear comfortable clothing. Shorts and a nice pair of sneakers are recommended."
Finally, for the Chinese GP, the twin-sharing rate of $1,316 per person includes round-trip airfare via Philippine Airlines; four-day, three-night accommodations with daily breakfast at the Majesty Plaza Hotel in Shanghai; airport-to-hotel and hotel-to-circuit round-trip transfers; travel insurance; and three-day Chinese GP B1-4 grandstand tickets. Exclusions are the same as with the Malaysian GP package, as well as the Chinese visa fee of P1,500 per application.
Upgrades to other grandstands are also offered, but Herrera points out that the B grandstand of the Shanghai International Circuit is the best spot. "This is located at the first corner, where most of the action takes place. Plus, it offers views of the pit exit, so the excitement builds up when the cars make their scheduled pit stops and try to jump a position on their rivals."
For further package or event updates, promos and announcements, follow Red Rock Travel on its Facebook page.