Ruben Boutens

Once something is a passion, the motivation is there...

Formula 1 wintertest Barcelona

Ruben with Red Bull Racing in Barcelona
Barcelona, 10 March 2017

On Thursday the 9th of March, together with my girlfriend Edyta I stepped into the plane with direction Barcelona, Spain. We were invited for the final day of the Formula 1 wintertest in Barcelona by the Red Bull Formula One team because of my win in the Red Bull Kartfight at the end of 2015. Initially the plan was to compete in the Red Bull Kartfight Worldfinal but this event was cancelled, as an alternative price I could go to Barcelona to see Max Verstappen at work from very close by, an amazing price. The first day of our stay we spent at the beach in Barcelona while it was 21 degrees. On Friday was the big day and we arrived already early on the circuit. We were picked up by Max’ manager Raymond Vermeulen who guided us through the paddock and the Red Bull hospitality unit, where we could come by all day for a snack and a (Red Bull) drink. We got access to the coolest places on the circuit, from the top of paddock, to the pitlane and we could even go into the pitbox of Max.

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The Formula One is typically a very protected world where it is hard to get close to the drivers, but today everything was possible and after we saw the start of the training from the roof of the paddock club, we went into the pitbox of Max for almost one hour. We had the opportunity to listen to the communication between him and his engineers while he was testing different settings and tyre compounds in a couple of short runs around the circuit. It was amazing to see all the data and to hear them start the engine only a few metres away from the car. We enjoyed every second of it and the new Formula One cars look amazing with the massive rear tyres. The sound is different from the sound when I visited the Formula One Grand Prix of Barcelona back in 2003 but still very cool. After Max put down his fastest laptime of the day with 1.19.4 we moved on the spot some other drivers in the pits.

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We came across Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Marcus Ericsson, Danill Kvyat, Valtteri Bottas, Jolyon Palmer and Lance Stroll. Some took a bit more time to take a picture than others like Hamilton who ran by to continue his work. Other people we saw were, amongst others, former world champion Jacques Villeneuve and the team bosses of both McLaren (Boullier) and Ferrari (Arrivabene). It was a dream come through for us and the weather was perfect as well. After a lunch at Red Bull we were guided through the truck by the marketing man from Red Bull, who also took us into the pitlane while the test was ongoing, as close as you can get!! He explained us many things about the new Pirelli tyres and other extremely expensive own-designed parts of the car. When the test was finished around 6 o’clock we had a little chat with Max before we left the Circuit de Catalunya with a very big smile on our face. On Saturday we enjoyed the city of Barcelona itself before we flew back to Holland. It was an experience we will remember for very long and therefor we would like to thank Red Bull the Netherlands. We wish the Red Bull Formula One team and especially Max the best of luck for the upcoming season!!

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