Well, like I promised a year ago, I am back in the city....Singapore F1 GP time. Amazing how time flies!!
Of course the race is finished now, but since I write the blogs with a time lag, I will start with the pre-race days here.
I actually booked my tickets back in February this year. Amazing to think that you have to reserve your tickets, and pay for it!!! 7 months in advance. Well, early bird tickets were available until April, but the excitement about going back make me book it even earlier than that.
Andy Grove, once CEO of Intel Corporation and one of my all-time role models, once wrote in his book "high output management" that one of our everyday challenges was that our morning eggs are boiled at the same time as the coffee has flown through the coffee machine and the same time the toast is ready (or something like that). Well, some of my Asian hotels still don't get it right and still serve me cold eggs, bitter coffee and toast which was toasted hours ago! But I wanted to use this example to illustrate that for attending the F1 race, I have three challenges:
1) getting an early bird ticket
2) getting a cheaper flight than normal from Europe to Singapore
3) getting a hotel room at an acceptable price
So, which one do you book first? I can get cheap flights when they are offered by the airlines but at the risk of not finding a hotel room. If I book a cheap room (and pay for it without being able to cancel it) I might end up having to pay a premium for a flight. The ticket has a deadline anyway, but I still have to pay for it, at the risk of not finding a cheap flight or hotel! I have had all three variations happen to me so far.
But I got it all done. Even checked out various hotels on previous trips, which all proved to be unacceptable (cheap, but filthy), so I ended up in the same hotel as last year. The price was insane! I ended up paying the same amount for 5 days which buys me one month in Bangkok! But hey, it was close to the race track, relatively clean and at an acceptable room size with a window.
Picked up my ticket the day before F1 practise day at the Swissotel, The Stamford again. Now that would be the hotel I wish I could afford, or book. Most of those hotels are booked out during race days.
Unfortunately the race track was all locked off this year. Last year, I was still able to walk the track, without being checked for a ticket or any ID. I was still able to get close to it, but it was all sealed off. Bummer!! But the excitement was there and seeing all those race fans in the city with all it's branding messages was good enough for me.