Situated in the City of Port Phillip in Victoria, Australia, Albert Park and Lake lie roughly 3 kilometres south of the Melbourne CBD. Set in 555 acres of stunning parkland, the Albert Park incorporates a number of sporting facilities, ovals, a golf course, a walking track and the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.
Besides hosting a number of premier racing events, the park and Gunn Island provide a great habitat for a number of bird species, bats, possums, reptiles and amphibians. You’ll also find the Bob Jane Football stadium and the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre at Albert Park while the lake is used to host regular regattas.
Every year the Australian Grand Prix is held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, a street-based circuit that snakes its way around the Albert Park Lake. It is this spectacular event for which the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is best known and the race usually takes place on the Labour Day weekend. Though the race takes place on a number of everyday sections of road, these sections were rebuilt prior to the inaugural race in 1996 so they are quite smooth when compared to other public road circuits. Add to this the picturesque setting of Albert Park, and the racetrack is an unbeatable location for Formula One racing. What’s more, the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at Albert Park is one of the few places on the Formula 1 calendar which are situated near a body of water.
Drivers generally find that the track is fast and easy to drive and learn. However, it does not make overtaking easy and spectators generally have to have a grandstand seat in order to enjoy the race. As early as four weeks before the major event, the majority of the trackside fencing, pedestrian overpasses and grandstands are put up in preparation. All of this is generally removed again in the two weeks following the event. Though a small number of people find the limited access to the various park facilities during this time to be an inconvenience, the majority of the public enjoy the race and venture out to see it each year.
The Formula One Australian Grand Prix is currently held at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit located in Melbourne’s Albert Park. In the past the races hosted open wheel racing, in the Formula One style, but they were not part of the World Championships. Venues also alternated a great deal, with Albert Park, being very popular in the 1950s. Local drivers would often compete against the world class drivers of the time., but this form of racing came to an end in 1984.
In 1985, the Australian Grand Prix became a part of the World Championships, and therefore, a part of Formula One racing. The last race of the season was raced on the Adelaide street circuit. This street circuit was not as narrow and challenging as the circuit in Monaco, but nevertheless proved to be quite a challenge for drivers and their cars. In 1986, one of the most memorable Australian Grand Prix took place here. At that time,Nigel Mansell only needed a third place to win the championship. Also fighting for the much coveted title was Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet. With Mansell in the lead and only a few laps to the finish, everyone thought that they knew the outcome. The Williams car that Mansell was driving, suddenly had a mechanical failure, sending Mansell with sparks flying, off the circuit. Prost, then took the lead, to win the race and the championship. He too, almost did not make it, as he ran out of fuel on his warm down lap.
In 1995, the Adelaide Street Circuit held its last Formula One Australian Grand Prix, to the disappointment of many. This was a very popular street circuit amongst the drivers, and the teams thoroughly enjoyed the circuit’s atmosphere. In 1993, together with the Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker, politician and premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett, announced that the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix would be moved to Albert Park. A significant amount of money was spent to rebuild the circuit, and it led to protests and controversy. Many people believed that the funds would have been better spent by erecting a permanent circuit, rather than using a street circuit, and that the benefits outlined to support the Albert Park renovations, were exaggerated and not completely true. Although a permanent circuit has never been seriously considered, the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit still attracts plenty of spectators. The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is completed in 58 laps and is a total race length of 307.57 kilometers.
Formula One is a popular sport the world over. Eagerly watched at live events and on TV, F1 is a sport that continues to attract large crowds. Of course, the highlight of the Formula One calendar is the World Championship. Held at Formula One race tracks across the world, top-notch drivers compete for the opportunity to win the title of Formula One World Champion for that year.
Formula One race tracks, or F1 circuits, are specially designed for high-speed racing – and speed is exactly what Formula One Grand Prix is about. Corners have to be carefully set so as to prevent serious accidents, but remain challenging. Certain Grand Prix circuits have been set in the streets of towns such as Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo and Spa Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium. Over the years that the World Championship has been held, the F1 circuits hosting the event have sometimes been changed. Some have remained hosts to World Championship Grand Prix races, whilst others have been used for just a season or two.
Each Formula One track is uniquely designed with several turns, curves and straights. Amongst the more challenging are Suzuka in Japan and Nurburgring in Germany. Bahrain International Circuit in Manama of Bahrain is set amidst the sand which was sprayed with a special substance to prevent it from blowing onto the track. The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola is probably one of the best known in the world, along with France’s F1 circuit of Magny Cours. Other well-known Formula One racing circuits include Australia’s Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Silverstone Circuit in England, Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Hockenheimring of Germany, Hungaroring in Budapest and Canada’s Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal.
Viewing Formula One racing on television is a popular pastime for many, but F1 is best experienced live at a track. If you live in a country with a nearby F1 Grand Prix circuit, you will be fortunate enough to get several opportunities to watch the thrill of F1. Many make travel arrangements to attend major races at F1 tracks around the world. Imagine yourself standing looking out onto the track, the drivers are pulling up in their stream-lined cars. The engines begin to rev as they prepare to speed off down the road-way. Eventually the tension bursts as the cars race forward. During the race you eagerly watch the top competitors until the final lap comes. Chills shudder down your spine as the team you have been rooting for comes in first place. The excitement, tension and joy of a day at the racetrack is truly not to be missed.
- Albert Park
- Bahrain International Circuit
- Circuit de Catalunya
- Circuit de Monaco
- Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours
- Gilles Villeneuve Circuit
- Interlagos Speedway
- Istanbul Park
- Monza Speedway
- Mugello Speedway
- Sepang International Circuit
- Shanghai International Speedway
- Silverstone Speedway
- Spa Francorchamps
- Suzuka Speedway