Here's a quick trip down memory lane; as I remember a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix.
I don't recall the year, but oh boy, do I remember the experience. My dad had acquired tickets to THE event on the F1 calendar, and so he and I had an overnight trip for the race.
We flew out of Gatwick (I do remember it was British Caledonian, so that's how long ago it was!) and we flew to Nice on the Saturday. On the Sunday morning we took the train to Monaco, and soaked up the atmosphere around us.
Our seats were in the grandstand facing the harbour, at Tabac, as the cars headed for the pool. Spectacular views, in glorious sunshine.
Apart from the race, the over-riding memory was the music being played over the sound-system. The one track, played over and over, was Europe - "The Final Countdown". Ever since, whenever I hear that, I remember this one quick trip to the South of France.
Dad and I did another overnight trip, this time to the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. It was in 1994 (the year of Nigel Mansells' one-off return, in place of David Coulthard); and we took the overnight ferry from Portsmouth, and after arriving in Le Havre, we drove down to the circuit; watched the race, then drove back to get the overnight ferry back. It was an amazing; and spontaneous, day, as we only decided the night before.
Now, it's the Final Countdown to the new 2010 Grand Prix season. The cars and drivers may have changed, and even the rules; but the excitement is still there. Over the last few weeks, we have seen them test and tweak their cars, learn more about their handling, and squeeze the best out of the machines.
With the current and previous World Champions in the same team, the re-arrival of Michael Schumacher at Mercedes and Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari; that's FOUR champions in one season - the atmosphere will be electric!!
You can watch and listen to all the race build up, qualifying and races on the BBC.
You can also follow many of the teams on Twitter - there's too many to mention, but here's a few:
McLaren - @TheFifthDriver
Virgin - @virginracing
Red Bull - @RedBullRacing
In case you hadn't gathered, I'm a McLaren fan! Especially after my visit to the McLaren Technology Centre in October last year.
Roll on March 12th - the start of the first weekend, in Bahrain.
(Image taken from mclaren.com, without their permission; hope they don't mind)