Marco Ragni is a 30 year-old Ferrari fan from Perugia in central Italy who has already been to 51 Grands Prix and wants to eventually go to every race on the calendar. Just don’t get him started on the sound of the engines this year…
All photos courtesy Marco Ragni
Marco was ten years old when his Uncle introduced him to the sport by taking him to his first race, the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. Despite the tragic events of that weekend, which saw both Roland Ratzenburger and Ayrton Senna lose their lives, Marco has been a huge fan of the sport ever since.
“Before May 1, 1994, I had never seen F1, but on this day my Uncle took me to Imola for the race and my life changed forever. I remember arriving and hearing the sound of the engines. I remember the fans, the ‘tifosi’ supporting Ferrari. And I remember Senna’s crash because I was watching the race from the Tamburello. This weekend is never too far from my mind.”
It must be expensive to travel to so many races…
“I have a normal job and I am not rich, but any spare money I do have goes towards my main hobby of travelling to F1 races. For most European races, I drive to get there and camp near the circuit for 3-4 days to keep the costs down. I love the atmosphere and you can sleep very close to the circuit. But sometimes I also fly to the race and stay in the city, like in Barcelona. Normally I buy grandstand tickets, but sometimes the general admission offer is good so I go for that, like at Circuit de Catalunya.”
You have been multiple times to Monza, Barcelona, Hockenheim and Budapest. Where’s your favourite place to watch the action?
“Monza is special, you can feel the history everywhere and the fans are so passionate. My best vantage point is at Variante Ascari. Barcelona is fantastic and the circuit is modern. The cars look good on all the corners, but my favourite is grandstand F on the first corner. Hockenheim was the first race I went to outside of Italy, so I have good memories whenever I return. The motodrome section of the circuit is excellent, but the Nord Tribune B is the most exciting place to watch. Budapest is one of my favourite races! The circuit is in a valley and from up on the hills, you can see 70% of the circuit. The best grandstands at the Hungaroring are on the last corner, Silver 3 is my pick.”
What are your plans for 2015 and beyond?
“Next year, I plan to go to four races in Europe – Barcelona, Spielberg (Austria), Budapest and Monza. I am also considering going to Bahrain at Easter.
I would love to go to every race on the calendar, but particularly Suzuka and Interlagos. Also, my brother lives in Australia (Perth), so I would like to visit him, go to Melbourne for the race and stop in Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysia Grand Prix on my way home.”
What is the best-organized race you have been to?
“If you are camping, then the Hungaroring is really well organized. There are six campgrounds, all located really close to the circuit and you don’t have to worry about traffic and getting home after the race. But the food is expensive! Barcelona and Montreal were also really well organized, but I think all races have improved their organization in recent years.”
Which race has the best fans and the best atmosphere?
“I’m Italian and I’m part of the tifosi, so I have to say Monza. But I was really impressed by the atmosphere in Montreal. The grandstands were full for the whole three days and the excitement levels were really high throughout the whole city during the weekend. Silverstone was also excellent and the British fans are amazing.”
You have been to 51 races – which one was the best and why?
“I couldn’t pick just one race. I would say Imola 1999 where I saw Ferrari win for the first time, my first race at Monza in 2004 and for show, Hungaroring 2011 – this was a wet/dry race and I was sat in the Gold 4 grandstand at turn 1. There was so much overtaking and excitement!”
Finally, we asked Marco what he thinks of this year’s new engine regulations.
“The engine sound this year is pure shit! Bring back the real sound of live F1!”