The F1 Exhibition has landed in Toronto to make its North American debut. And with it, you can view a shocking and sobering piece of the remains from Romain Grosjean’s fiery November 2020 incident in the Bahrain Grand Prix, for the first time on this continent.

That’s reason enough to check out this mobile exhibit, which opens on May 3 at the Lighthouse ArtSpace inside 1 Yonge Street in downtown Toronto. But there’s a great deal more to see and interact with in the F1 Exhibition, which is essentially a traveling museum of all things Formula 1. There’s something here for every F1 afficionado to enjoy. Newer fans especially will appreciate the interactive immersion into the sport this display offers.

The F1 Exhibition in Toronto has six rooms to explore

A visit to the 20,000 sq. ft. F1 Exhibition begins in the entry hall. Here, a row of 10 racing simulators invites you to try your hand at virtual racing. (If you feel you’ve learned something by the time you leave, you can try again and see if your lap times improve.)

As you enter the exhibition rooms, the first to greet you is called Once Upon a Time in Formula 1. It walks you through the sport’s pre-war and post-war eras, discusses the 1960s with nods to British racer Graham Hill and legendary founder of Lotus Colin Chapman, and introduces you to Enzo Ferrari and the one-time chief executive of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone.

This room is packed full of fascinating history, and it also introduces you to the audio tour component. You’ll be provided with a set of headphones and a remote control as you arrive. When you encounter a screen, click play to connect your headset to the playback. During your tour, you’ll watch a dozen or so mini-documentaries on Formula 1 history, technology, and regulations. It’s very cool.

This first room is also where you’ll see three of the four race cars on display. The 1955 Lancia D50 was famously driven by Alberto Ascari to claim pole position in its first event. The 1962 BRM P578, Graham Hill’s Old Faithful, is the car in which he won his first World Championship. And the 1987 Lotus 99T was driven by Ayrton Senna to the first of his record six victories at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Car design and racing rivalries take centre stage

The exhibition’s second room is the Design Lab. Videos and touchscreens offer you a deep dive into the intricacies of Formula 1 technology. The Interactive F1 Car touchscreen is especially interesting. By navigating through various topics and tapping on different components, you can learn a ton about what makes a Formula 1 car tick.

It’s the third room, Drivers and Duels, that’s likely to resonate most with the sport’s newest fans. Here, the stories of some of the greatest rivalries are retold: Nigel Mansell vs Nelson Piquet, Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen, and a look at two of F1’s greats, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. (Oddly, neither Senna vs Prost nor Hunt vs Lauda get much airtime in this room, which is the exhibit’s only true disappointment.)

The wall of 96 helmets—including one worn by Canada’s greatest-ever F1 driver, Gilles Villeneuve—is an absolute highlight. Between this, the detailed display of track maps, the chance to test your reaction time with a lights-out simulator, and the challenge of matching current F1 racers with photos from their karting days, this room alone can keep a Formula 1 fan entranced for ages.

A tribute to fallen heroes at the F1 Exhibition

One thing the F1 Exhibition does very well is acknowledging the dangers of the sport. In Fallen Heroes, sombre displays pay homage to the lives the sport has taken while celebrating the technological advancements that make it much safer today. Developments such as the advent of a race-ready carbon fibre monocoque in the McLaren MP4/1, the HANS device that significantly reduces the risk of head and neck injury, and important changes to track design all play an important role.

This is summarized succinctly in the fifth room, Survival. Here, you can examine a piece of the wreckage from Romain Grosjean’s devastating crash at Bahrain in November 2020. An accompanying video explains how far safety advancements have come. In a fifty-year-old car, Grosjean could never have survived. In today’s Formula 1 cars, he walked away with burns to his hands and a lost shoe. The evolution as spelled out here is nothing short of remarkable.

End the F1 Exhibition on the pit wall

Finally, the F1 Exhibition concludes with The Pit Wall. This immersive cinematic experience brings together some of the sport’s most important moments with noise, images, and colour. And, of course, there’s a gift shop where you can pick up some mementoes before heading home.

The F1 Exhibition website suggests setting aside at least an hour and a half for your visit. We were there for two hours taking everything in and felt we could have spent even longer. This exhibit successfully bottles up all of Formula 1’s intrigue, drama, scandal and celebration, and offers it up as a complete package. It’s a must-attend event of the summer for race fans at all levels.

The F1 Exhibition in Toronto opens on May 3, 2024, and is schedule to run until mid-summer. Tickets are available at f1exhibition.com/toronto/.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How long will the F1 Exhibition be in Toronto?

The F1 Exhibition opens in Toronto on May 3, 2024, and is scheduled to run until mid-summer. Expect tickets to be available until mid-July with a possibility that it may run for longer.

Will the F1 Exhibition tour?

Yes! The F1 Exhibition is a touring museum of sorts. Watch the F1 Exhibition’s social media channels for announcements on future host cities and dates.

Is the F1 Exhibition worth it?

The F1 Exhibition is absolutely worth the price of admission for any Formula 1 fan. Newer fans of the sport will find plenty of opportunities to learn about its history and technology, while long-time fans will revel in the nostalgia of eras gone by.

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