Melbourne Grand Prix circuit – a party atmosphere

When Formula One came to Australia in 1985, it set up home in Adelaide. However, ex-racer-turned-entrepreneur Bob Jane wanted a race in Melbourne; a track was developed in beautiful Albert Park, part of it using closed-off public roads. In 1996 the city held the first round of the world championship. Since then the race has become very popular with drivers and fans alike, and the party atmosphere of Melbourne keeps them coming back year after year.

The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is a street circuit around Albert Park Lake, only a few kilometres south of central Melbourne. It is famous for hosting the Formula One Grand Prix each spring, but it has a motor racing history going back much further. In the 1950s, it was a venue where Stirling Moss battled for victory with a young Jack Brabham and other notables from the Australian racing scene. The largely flat circuit featured a series of fast bends and proved popular with drivers. Many of the original roads used in the 1950s were incorporated into the new circuit, albeit resurfaced and now run in the opposite direction. Some new sections were added, including a permanent pit area and garages, start/finish straight and the first and last corners being created on greenfield land.

In spite of being a circuit on public roads, it has characteristics of a natural road course, considering it being fast and flowing combined with extensive runoff in many corners. The Australian Grand Prix has always been more of a promoter event than a profit-raiser in itself. The contract was prolonged until 2020. The course is considered to be quite fast and relatively easy to drive. However, the flat terrain around the lake, coupled with a track design that features few true straights, means that the track is not conducive to overtaking. Each year, most of the trackside fencing, pedestrian overpasses, grandstands and other motorsport infrastructure are erected approximately two months prior to the Grand Prix weekend and removed within 6 weeks after the event. The event is reasonably popular in Melbourne and Australia (with a large European population and a general interest in motorsport). During the nine months of the year when the track is not required for Grand Prix preparation or the race weekend, most of the track can be driven by ordinary street-registered vehicles either clockwise or anti-clockwise.

Dec 04, 2017