A different breed of F1 women, who wouldn’t be seen dead on a campsite, can be found in the VIP area tottering around in heels so high that only Italians — or perhaps Sarah Jessica Parker — could walk in them.
Beneath the nail polish and the lip gloss however, the women’s’ motivations aren’t that different.
“I have a deep passion for fast cars,” said Christina Santarosa, 36, a Brazilian brunette sporting a form-fitting white T-shirt and perfectly manicured nails. “My first passion though, is men.”
By the end of Day One — used to adjust the delicate F1 cars to Monza’s particular track conditions — I’d gotten used to the noise and the oddly sweet smell of the expensive fuel. Camping within meters of the track, the roar was inescapable, but that didn’t deter me catching up on some beauty sleep after being kept up all night by the F1 revelers.
For the qualifying race on Day Two, I tried harder to get into the mood. My good will evaporated when a territorial beer-swilling, big-bellied German shooed us off his viewing platform.
We watched the rest of the race squeezed between two camper vans.
Afterwards, we fled the campsite for respite and a slap-up dinner.
In a last-ditch bid to win me over to F1, Donato bought sit-down tickets for the final — at the equivalent of $220 a pop.
The atmosphere was charged at the track with cheers for Ferrari star drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, and boos and Italian profanities for the silver of rival team McLaren.
Finally, I began to feel the excitement. By the time the red flag came down, my adrenalin was pumping. I felt a shiver of pleasure when I saw the red of Ferrari streak past. And as indignant as those around me when the silver car driven by McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton took the lead.