Forza Ferrari Sempre: Attending a Formula One Race in Italy
Taylor, Spring 2024, Florence
May 21, 2024

In the Fan Zone, you could get your picture taken holding a replica bottle of the same champagne that they pop on the real podium!

Although I have crossed the finish line on my time with SAI in Florence, being in Italy gave me the opportunity to continue having incredible experiences, like going to a Formula One race. I was able to attend the Imola Grand Prix as a Ferrari fan in Italy. If you know anything about F1, you know how wild they go for the Scuderia at their home races. When I realized that the Italian Grand Prix was only a week and a half after the semester with SAI ended, I knew I had to make it work. I bought the ticket, booked a hostel in Bologna, and just hoped that I would be able to extend my stay in Italy long enough to attend. Spoiler alert: I made it!

A Ferrari flag flying through the clouds of red smoke from the fans

I got into Bologna on Saturday afternoon and hung out at my hostel, wishing time would pass quicker so that Sunday could finally come. I woke up super early to get ready and make my way down to Bologna Centrale to catch a regional train to Imola. Soon enough, I was on my way in a train filled with Formula One fans ready to cheer on their teams.

When I arrived at the gates, I could not wipe the smile off of my face. I made my way to the Fan Zone and of course had to take a picture on the podium. I was already so intoxicated with the excitement of the day, which was only amplified when I heard the engines of the Formula 3 cars firing up for their feature race. I made my way to the track wall and looked over just in time to see the lights go out and hear the beautiful sound of the cars taking off. I was in awe, and this was far from the main event.

From left to right: Lando Norris (2nd) , Max Verstappen (1st), and Charles Leclerc (3rd) taking in the view of the crowd from the podium.

I spent a lot of time wandering around the venue, watching F2, enjoying the historic car showcase, seeing Sebastian Vettel drive Aryton Senna’s old McLaren, and waving to the drivers during the drivers’ parade. I sat in Prato Rivazza, which is pretty much just a grass hill, but I had a view of the big screen, a full corner, and I was surrounded by the most passionate people ever: the Tifosi. The scarlet smoke and flags were flying in full force as the Formula One cars went around the track. The home team drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, got booming cheers when they passed by, and Leclerc ended up on the podium after a great race.

I was able to be in the crowd in front of the podium, cheering with all of the other fans!

I got to experience the feeling of running to the podium with all the other Ferrari Fans and being a part of things that I had only seen on a TV screen, like Lando Norris’ famous champagne pop. At the end of the day, I sat back in disbelief that I actually was able to attend a Formula One Grand Prix in real life, and even though I went alone I still felt like I was a part of one big family. I would not have been able to do this had I not made the decision to take a chance and study abroad with SAI. It was the perfect end to a semester that I will never forget.

Written by: Taylor, Spring 2024 Florence student from University of South Carolina

Know Someone Who Would Be Interested?


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *