My Race Day: Elle Haus

We meet Elle Haus, a vivacious Formula 1 journalist from Australia. When she’s not following the travelling circus, Elle works as a part-time tropical traveller and can be found enjoying cocktails by the beach at an exotic location. This time she shows us how her typical race Sunday looks like.

06:00 I’m lucky that once a year the gigantic Formula 1 machine rolls into my home town and I can wake up on race day in my own bed. But there’s no sleeping in; I like to be up early. Even after all these years following the sport, I’m still like a kid on Christmas morning the day of a Grand Prix and I’m too excited to sleep.

08:00 The Australian race doesn’t start until late afternoon so I have the luxury of taking my time heading into the circuit, stopping by Melbourne’s iconic Lygon Street (aka “Little Italy”) for breakfast and coffee, the first of many coffees for the day. The atmosphere here is electric: the Ferrari flags are flying high, the outdoor dining areas are overflowing with a mixture of regulars and the racing community, all admiring the parade of locals who have converged on the strip to showcase their beautiful Italian sportscars. The entire city comes alive when the Formula 1 show is in town and Melbourne never fails to deliver a world-class event, both on and off the track.

The next 90 minutes are a frenzy of keystrokes for my race report as well as looking for story angles coming out of the race.

09:30 I arrive earlier than required at Albert Park Lake because I like to take my time walking around to soak up the atmosphere. The paddock is quiet this early; the drivers are yet to arrive and there’s a causal calm that won’t last long. I take the opportunity before the mayhem ensues to check my texts, emails and tweets and to get myself organised. I take my iPad and MacBook with me wherever I go but part of me is still a little old-school and I also have my trusty notebook with a solid pen on hand. There are a few other early-birds wandering around so it gives me a chance to say hello and have a friendly chat. We talk about winter testing results, regulation changes, tyres (there’s always talk about tyres), our race day predictions as well as whispers from the paddock across the last three days.

12:00 The drivers start to arrive, greeting fans along the “Melbourne Walk” as they head into the paddock, posing for photos and signing autographs. This is always enjoyable to watch as it means so much to the fans getting up close to their heroes, and the majority of drivers are incredibly generous with their time. Being the season-opening race, everyone is nice and refreshed from the long break. Many of the drivers arrived early in the week and there is a relaxed atmosphere in the lead-up to race day with media and sponsor events, sightseeing, photo opportunities and parties (Melbourne knows how to party hard!); but come Sunday afternoon it’s down to business.

16:00 Lights out and it’s “Go! Go! Go!”. The next 90 minutes are a frenzy of keystrokes for my race report as well as looking for story angles coming out of the race (racing incidents, penalties, off-track drama and so on). I’m running on pure adrenalin (and a lot of caffeine) at this point, and the time flies by as fast as one Formula 1 car slipstreaming past another down the main straight. After the race it’s time to compile some quotes from the drivers and team personnel and debrief before heading out.

After the race: After the fans and drivers have departed and the teams begin packing up, I take a final walk around catching my breath in the peace and quiet before heading into Crown Casino for a well-earned drink (or two).

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