Australian Grand Prix – TAG Heuer affirms top watch sponsor spot with more Red Bull dominance, and I live out a childhood dream Australian Grand Prix – TAG Heuer affirms top watch sponsor spot with more Red Bull dominance, and I live out a childhood dream

Australian Grand Prix – TAG Heuer affirms top watch sponsor spot with more Red Bull dominance, and I live out a childhood dream

Borna Bošnjak

Last weekend, the Australian Grand Prix took place in Melbourne’s picturesque surroundings of Albert Park. We got an incredible spectacle, too, with plenty of drama and one of the most confusing endings in recent times – reminiscent of that controversial night in Abu Dhabi. Despite the action-packed race, most people’s predictions of a Red Bull and Super Max win came true, the Dutchman claiming his second victory in three races and cementing his lead in the standings with 69 points (very nice). Before all this excitement, however, I had the privilege of attending the Albert Park circuit on Friday thanks to TAG Heuer and Red Bull’s Energy Station, including action from F1, F2, F3, Supercars, and the Porsche Carrera Cup, with demo laps from historic racers sprinkled in for fun.


My wrist companion for the day was the TAG Heuer Formula 1 x Red Bull Racing collaboration, a special edition colourway of the Formula 1 that was refreshed last year with three models reminiscent of those cool plastic-bezelled models.

At the TAG Heuer booth, however, there were a few pieces hot off the back of Watches & Wonders 2023, including the Carrera Glassbox 60th anniversary pieces, and this lovely hot pink Carrera Automatic. The 36mm size worked wonders on my 6.5-inch wrist, and the re-designed case with shorter lugs and a slimmer overall height really came into play. The day began with supporting series practice, first Formula 3, followed by Formula 2. Right before the top dogs of F1 tested the Albert Park street circuit for the first time in 2023, a couple of vintage racers from the times when seat belts were a mere annoyance and CAD design did not exist, roared down the main straight – old F1 cars, miles-wide Group C monsters and some true classics like the Shelby Daytona, to name a few.

Soon enough, the F1 drivers made their way out of the pit-lane and down the straight for first practice. Even though practice session results should never be taken as gospel, lest we forget Nicky Latifi topping FP3 in Hungary last year, the writing was on the wall for any potential upsets of Red Bull dominance, with Max and Checo occupying P1 and P3, respectively. As the buzzy engines of Formula 3 rolled out for qualifying, my enjoyment of the spectacle was interrupted by an unforgettable experience. I, along with other guests of TAG Heuer, were corralled past the sacred gate that read Paddock Club, and into the first garage, which just happened to be the fastest team on the grid.

Still warm from the practice running, both Checo’s and Max’s cars rested, engine covers and nose cones off. You’ll notice the images are only from a few select angles, as we were kindly, but firmly, reminded that photography was restricted only to those areas. Having been walked through the corridors and getting a peek through doors that a Merc or Ferrari engineer could only dream of, I was ecstatic, though naturally, tried to play it off as if this was just a regular Friday for me.

If you had told an eight-year old Borna, watching Kimi Raikkonen win the 2007 World Championship (only to experience reoccurring Ferrari heartbreak year-by-year), that one day, he’d be standing in the garage of an F1 team, right next to one of those landgoing fighter jets – he probably wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, here I was. With a live F3 pit lane just on the other side of a thin rope, it was truly an Alice in Wonderland moment.