Formula 1® and Make-A-Wish®️ International create powerful Grand Prix Experiences for Wish Families at FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2023
“Obrigada – thank you”, said 15-year-old Margarida from Portugal, with a big smile on her happy face, to Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc, as the Ferrari star stopped to have his picture taken with her in the busy F1 Paddock in Monza. Then she gave her dad a huge hug. Her wish had come true, she had met her idol, and was able to give Charles a bracelet as a gift.
Seven children and young people from four countries also had their wishes granted over the weekend as Diego from Switzerland, Sasha, Alessandro and Davide from Italy, joined Margarida on a unique guided Paddock tour, getting up close and personal with the stars of the sport at the iconic ‘Temple of Speed’, the Autodromo Nazionale in Monza.
Diego loved collecting autographs: “Meeting all the drivers and having 9 autographs was incredible! My booklet is so beautiful now!”, he beamed. Alessandro was impressed by the experience too: “Being so close to all the people that I normally see only on TV has been an amazing emotion!”
The children also met German BWT Alpine Academy driver Sophia Flörsch, who races in F3, a feeder series of F1, who showed them her race car and let them hold the steering wheel. “Meeting Sofia has been a beautiful surprise! She has been so lovely and nice with us. I feel inspired by her tenacity!” said Davide, “what a day, at full speed!”
Flying in all the way from Canada, Jake and Michael had a special Paddock guide in F1 Academy racer Marta Garcia, who showed them Race Control and shared some driver insights. Avid Mercedes-fan Jake saw his idol Lewis Hamilton and got a picture with Hamilton’s teammate George Russell. “Meeting the drivers and getting the Monza race poster is great, I will put it up in my room”, Jake said. Max Verstappen fan Michael loved seeing Red Bull Racing’s impressive ‘Energy Station’ motorhome and said: “Such an incredible atmosphere! What I liked most was meeting Russell and McLaren driver Oscar Piastri.” As the race action on Monza’s highspeed track unfolded, Jake and Michael got to watch from the grandstands together with the other five wish families.
This season, F1 announced its support of global children’s charity Make-A-Wish®️ to grant life-changing wishes and unforgettable experiences to children living with serious illnesses and their families. Since the FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2023 in Melbourne, a total of 40 F1-related wishes have been granted, with even more to come this year.
Before the summer break, Make-A-Wish International CEO Luciano Manzo, and Formula 1 President & CEO Stefano Domenicali met in Spa-Francorchamps at the FORMULA 1 MSC CRUISES BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 2023 where they discussed their shared vision for continued collaboration between F1 and Make-A-Wish. Together, F1 and Make-A-Wish will grant more wishes to eligible children and create special life-changing moments.
Luciano Manzo, President & CEO, Make-A-Wish International said:
“We thank Stefano and everyone in F1 helping us make wishes come true and putting big smiles on these children’s faces. Together with Formula 1 we have a long-term goal for this transformational global collaboration. This year sees a record number of F1 wishes granted, inspiring many children world-wide for their own Grand Prix wishes. The impact our mission has on the lives of children living with critical illnesses and their families is our motivation; experiencing the joint support from F1, including teams and drivers is heartwarming and inspiring.”