It's an exciting time in Melbourne as we get ready to host the start of the 1st Formula1 Championship event for the year. March sees the city's beautiful Albert Park Lake region transformed into a world class car racing circuit with twists and turns rivalling any around the world.
Albert Park Motor circuit for the Australian Grand Prix
The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is the oldest motor racing competition held in Australia, the first race being held at Phillip Island in 1928. In 1985 the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix became a major part of the Formula One World Championship, held in Adelaide, South Australia until 1995.
By Will Pittenger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1996 the The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix race was moved to Albert Park in Melbourne, Victoria.
Albert Park is within easy reach to the central business district of Melbourne. Serviced by adequate public transport, it is a convenient venue to host the motor racing competition.
The 16 turn circuit was built utilising a combination of existing public roads and a car park within the required area. These public roads are closed off during the premium weeks needed for the race meet. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal which hosts the Canadian Grand Prix is similar to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix circuit in as much as it is provides an excellent smooth racing circuit that tests the Formula One drivers and their teams.
By Chris Phutully [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Currently the naming rights sponsor is the Swiss watchmaker, Rolex. Other proud Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix supporters include Red Bull, City of Melbourne, Streets, Schwepps, Disney and Triple M just to mention a few. The full list can be found here ... Grand Prix Partners
V8 Supercars is a popular touring car series. The V8 Supercars will race at 15 events throughout Australia with 14 forming the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship plus a non-championship appearance at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Porsche Carrera Cup
Australian GT series
Celebrity Challenge race which sees various famous faces (mainly Australian, some international) racing against each other in matching Mazdas.
Celebrity Challenge by Taken by fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au Canon 20D + Canon 400mm f/5.6 L (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Alcohol is not permitted to be brought into the Formula 1 Australian grand Prix circuit. This is policed very heavily. Glass bottles and containers are also not allowed and bag searches are conducted at all entrances.
Pre purchased non-alcoholic soft drinks (in plastic containers) are allowed so long as they are unopened. If you hold a general public ticket you are allowed to bring in folded chairs and seating.
At the end of each day be prepared to have to wait in queues to leave. Public transport can also be quite congested so allow for this inconvenience. Saturday and Sunday will be the worst, just be patient.
Trackside Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Attractions
Aerial Displays are staged at various times throughout the weekend. The Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) Roulettes always put on a popular show.
Autograph Stage – F1 drivers appear to sign autographs on the opening day. On the following days, fans can get autographs of the V8 drivers, celebrity race drivers and other motorsport legends.
Local TV and radio broadcasting is available at the track over the weekend. Super screens are located around the track (mainly set up for grandstand fans to follow the action on) and radio commentary is also broadcast on 99.7 FM
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Getting to the Albert Park Circuit
The best way to get to the motorway circuit would have to be by tram. On the weekend the tram service is FREE but be aware that public transport is going to be crowded, especially on race day.
St Kilda Road GP Shuttle services run between the city centre and St Kilda, stopping at the circuit along the way. In the centre, trams leave from outside Flinders Street train station on Swanston Street (opposite Federation Square) at 1-2 minute intervals during peak times and are best for accessing the circuit via gates 5, 8, 9 and 10. These trams terminate at St Kilda and then return to the city centre.
Light Rail GP Express trams head to gates 1 and 2 from Spencer Street (corner of Collins Street) every 1-3 minutes at peak times throughout the weekend.
From the same location on the corner of Spencer Street and Collins Street, Clarendon Street GP Express trams head to gates 3 and 4 at 1-5 minute intervals during peak times over the weekend.
Melbourne Taxis are a convenient mode of transport and quite economical if you are sharing the fare
Driving to the track each day is not a good idea, as parking and local road access is severely restricted during the event.
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