The annual Australian Grand Prix has long been the crown jewel of Australia’s motorsport scene. Pulling in hundreds of thousands of spectators from across the globe every year, it has grown to become one of the most hotly anticipated race events in the current F1 calendar. Hosted at Albert Park, just outside of Melbourne’s CBD, the convivial atmosphere and multicultural community makes for the perfect hub of motoring enthusiasts of all walks of lives to come together and cheer on their heroes.
In this blog, we discuss the history of the Australian Grand Prix, and all that makes it such a special event.
Where It All Began
The Australian Grand Prix can trace its roots right back to 1928, before it was even a stop on the Formula 1 circuit. Back then, it was held on glorious Phillip Island and known merely as the ‘100 Mile Race’. It was then thrust onto the international stage in 1985, with the Adelaide Street Circuit hosting some of the finest drivers in the world at the time. In 1995, the race was moved to the now historic venue of Albert Park, where millions across the planet will still enjoy it until at least 2023.
Behind the Event
Setting up for the Australian Gran Prix is no easy task. It takes an approximate 290 000 hours of work to assemble all 5.303 km of the circuit, with work completed six weeks prior to the race, and then taken down four weeks after its conclusion. The funding behind the event has been a cause for controversy for some years, as it can cost taxpayers somewhere in the region of $50 million AUD every year. The trade-off, of course, exists in the vast amount of tourism and promotion of Australian on the global stage, as there are motorsports enthusiasts throughout every major city in the world.
The current circuit is classed as medium-fast with 16 turns, a smooth road surface, and a total of 58 laps to complete, resulting in a total distance covered of 307.574 km travelled by finishing drivers. The curves are notoriously long, the roads can be breath-takingly narrow, and with a significant lack of straights, there is rarely an opportunity for easy overtaking, placing a great strain on the vehicles, and putting the skill of the one behind the wheel to the test. An Australian has unfortunately never enjoyed the top spot on the podium, but the course has indeed seen its fair share of racing royalty, with the lap record being held by none other than Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) in 2004, with a time of 1:24.125.