Crowds estimated at over 45.000 people gathered in the streets of downtown Helsinki today to catch a glimpse of the first ever Formula 1 car to hit the streets of the Finnish capital.
F1 enthusiasts were presented with a unique chance to view and experience an F1 car up-close as Panasonic Toyota Racing driver Jarno Trulli drove 6 laps on a track which wound its way from Rautatientori Square up to Kaisaniemenkatu and with a 90-degree turn down Vilhonkatu back to Rautatientori Square.
The day was packed with roaring sounds of the F1 engine, awe-inspiring acceleration and the chance to watch the pit activities from up-close. One of the most popular activities was the Toyota Pit Stop Challenge, where more than 1000 fans put together teams to compete against each other to see who could change the tyres of an F1 car the fastest. A Bridgestone safety belt simulator showed the crowd why, even in regular passenger cars, it is important to fasten our seatbelts before driving off.
Caught up in the excitement of the day himself, Jarno Trulli commented:
"We had a fantastic crowd here in Helsinki today, and were able to show the people of Finland a little of the excitement of Formula 1. People were watching from every vantage point - buildings, windows and rooftops, and I've had a superb welcome here today.
With the temperatures and the winding track today in the centre of Helsinki, it felt a little bit like Monaco, although I found the track conditions slightly more difficult - the grip was very low with all the cobble stones and tram lines crossing the track.
With the possibility to touch and feel F1 that close, even closer than on a race track, I am sure that all the people had a great day."