Promoted: Mercedes F1 experience with Thomas Cook

Promoted: Mercedes F1 experience with Thomas Cook
By AutoSport

12/07/2018 at 12:38

Thomas Cook Sport offers a unique chance to get behind the scenes with Formula 1 champion team Mercedes-AMG Petronas. F1 fan Brett, from Manchester, sampled it

Thomas Cook Sport offers a unique chance to get behind the scenes with Formula 1 champion team Mercedes-AMG Petronas. F1 fan Brett, from Manchester, sampled it

I'd hazard a guess that even if you didn't consider yourself a 'petrol-head', you would still know a thing or two about Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.

Six drivers' championships. Four constructors' championships. One team at the pinnacle of motorsport.

The 'Silver Arrows' have set the benchmark for Formula 1 success during the sport's current hybrid era by dominating the past four seasons. You'll have heard of their drivers - current champion Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas.

So, when one of the biggest names in global sports partners with the leading sports travel agency, Thomas Cook Sport, to offer the exclusive Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Experience, you know it's going to be something special... and I wasn't disappointed, VIP access, Q&A with a senior team member, chances to win behind-the-scenes prizes, complementary bar and canapes, a supporter pack; everything that needed to be thought of to create a memorable sporting experience, was.

I was lucky enough to attend the Monaco Grand Prix event - the first of four tailor-made Experiences that Thomas Cook Sport will be offering to fans throughout 2018: the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Italian Grand Prix at Monza and the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi being the other three.

The evening started with a quick transfer from the collection point near my hotel in Nice to the marvellous Stars 'n' Bars Restaurant at the circuit in Monaco. The venue itself is spectacularly situated with unrivalled views of the paddock, directly behind the Mercedes-AMG truck. Its entrance staircase is adorned with framed photographs of hundreds of celebrities who have enjoyed hospitality at this impressive establishment.

On arrival, the experienced Thomas Cook Sport staff presented us with our bespoke Mercedes-AMG supporter pack, complete with a team polo shirt, cap, umbrella and ear plugs - what a treat! As I was thinking, 'that's my outfit for the weekend sorted', I was presented with a complimentary glass of champagne before taking in the famous views of the harbour beyond the paddock.

It was great to see a mix of people in the room enjoying the evening - die-hard Mercedes fans, general Formula 1 followers and the more casual supporter who were interested in making their Grand Prix experience have that little bit of something extra.

As the venue hosts presented us with what seemed an endless supply of delicious canapes, I started to think of what questions I would ask the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport 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?

While we waited for our VIP to arrive (their identity kept under wraps in the run up to the event), Thomas Cook Sport and Mercedes had arranged for 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 get told about through usual media channels.

Then the fun really got started. We played a game for the chance to win two spots to go behind-the-scenes with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, which was revealed as being a VIP visit to the pits on the Saturday morning. I didn't win (it turns out there are far more people who know more about F1 than I do, or who are just very good at guessing!), but boy, was I jealous of those who did! I caught up with them the following day and they absolutely loved being so close to the action and 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! Unbelievable access to a key decision maker in the team who then proceeded to reveal intimate details about the race weekend, his thoughts on the future of F1, his Champions League final prediction and so much more.

We were given the opportunity to ask our own questions, and there was no shortage of takers. Ron then surprised us even further by awarding the asker of his favourite question two spots on the behind-the-scenes experience. I then regretted not asking my question... although it wasn't the best one anyway. Note to self: work on my asking interesting questions skills!

We listened to Ron talk with us for around 45 minutes before he had to leave for important race business, but everyone in the room was delighted to have talked one-on-one with a key member of the biggest Formula 1 team in the world.

All that was then left to do was enjoy the complementary bar and canapes 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 then some. Having the friendly Thomas Cook Sport team on hand to answer additional questions about Monaco Grand Prix and other motorsports packages was useful too.

The only question left now is: when should I book onto the next Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Experience with Thomas Cook Sport?