F1 Exhibition Vienna review: Get up close and personal with the history of F1

Sam Cooper
F1 Exhibition in Vienna

The new exhibition in Vienna opened in February.

It is not often you can get up close and personal with a car that was the focus of the world just a few years ago.

That particular car is the Haas VF-21 otherwise known as the car Romain Grosjean went to the brink of death inside. But before we get to that, we must first get to how that chassis ended up on the outskirts of Vienna in Austria.

Review of F1 Exhibition in Vienna

F1 Exhibitions have popped up across the world with the first in Madrid taking centre stage before this one opened in February and the point of them is to get fans closer to the cars and drivers they often see from at least a couple hundred yards away from.

Walking into its industrial estate home, you are met with huge images of some of the F1 icons such as Lauda, Senna and many more with their famous quotes accompanying them.

As with any modern museum, there are something interactive parts such as having your picture green screened onto the podium, complete with champagne, and also voting on who the greatest driver ever was according to which skills you rank the highest – mine was Senna – but the star of the museum is the collection of artefacts they have acquired.

Starting off, you are met with some of the cars that first competed in F1 including Fangio’s Maserati 250F before being greeted by Pierre Gasly’s last AlphaTauri, highlighting just how huge the cars have grown since they first competed at Silverstone in 1950.

Next is a room dedicated to the drivers and again it is a perfect chance to see how the sport has evolved over the decades. Early race suits looked not too dissimilar to the white overalls you see painters and decorators wear while declaring what they wore on their head as a ‘helmet’ would be very generous. The models are also sat in their seating position meaning by the time you get to Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari, he is far more horizontal than his predecessors.

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Decorated around this room are also many helmets from the years gone bye and given that the helmet is the most personalised item a driver can have, it is a great reflection of the big personalities that have graced the sport over the years.

There are plenty of car parts for fans to also gaze at but truly the most fascinating element comes near the very end when the room goes dark and alongside a video applying the incident, Romain Grosjean’s burnt out Haas VF-21 is lit up to get a close look at one of the most significant cars in recent memory.

With just a few layers of glass separating you, you can get a detailed look at the half of the chassis that remains and the scorch marks really tell the story of that fateful day that so nearly cost the Frenchman his life.

It is also a poignant reminder of how far F1 has come in terms of protecting its drivers and if anything, the whole exhibition serves to remind us all that Formula 1 is far safer now than it ever has been.

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