If you’re my Twitter friend, you may have noticed that I like Formula 1… A little bit. Okay, a lot. I recently wrote about my first ever Formula 1 experience at the Silverstone mid-season test in August and this month the Formula 1 experiences continued when I made my first ever visit to the Donington Park Formula 1 museum in Derby. This was a belated birthday present from my parents, who kindly paid for my boyfriend and I to stay overnight near the museum and obviously visit the museum itself. I would be super cliché and say I didn’t know what to expect but of course I did know what to expect… Cars. A lot of them.
But it’s not just the cars you go there to see. Of course, they were spectacular and seeing them up close and personal was something else. They are so much bigger than I thought they were and so much more daunting than just seeing them from old videos and on TV. But the thing you really go there for is the history. And the history of Formula 1 is something I just adore.
The museum itself was super nice – it’s based on the grounds of the Donington race track so you can hear whatever it is blasting around the track the whole time you’re there. The museum isn’t overly big: it only contains 5 rooms, the first one is the Wheatcroft Military Collection which is impressive but not what I went to see. I was surprised at how many cars they managed to squeeze into a relatively short space but I’m not complaining, of course!
The cars date back all the way to the 50’s, when Formula 1 was only a baby. You can expect to see some of the most iconic cars in Formula 1’s history including the dominant 1992 Williams, the car that would see Jochen Rindt become the first posthumous world champion and the car in which legend Aryton Senna died in, in 1994 (not the exact car he died in obviously but his team-mates car from that year which would have been the same as his. Just to clear that up).
As well as the cars you can see tons of old photography from Formula 1 lining the walls and hanging from the ceiling. Old mechanics overalls and even fuel tanks which would have been used all the way back in 60’s. Although there wasn’t any recent cars there, the most current car I think was around 2011, the collection is spectacular and seeing so much history in the same room, the cars that the drivers actually sat in, drivers that seem somewhat mythical to me, which still included the tyres used in the race they were taken from was really special.