Albert Park, located just a few miles south of central Melbourne, is the venue of the now traditional season opening Australian Grand Prix. The temporary street circuit is a favourite among drivers and fans, as the cars sear through the park on the man-made island just inches from the surrounding walls. Read about the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Lights Out’s Ultimate Track Guide.
|FIRST F1 RACE||1996|
|TRACK LENGTH||3.295 miles|
|NUMBER OF LAPS||58|
|NUMBER OF TURNS||16|
|GEAR CHANGES PER LAP||55|
|MOST WINS||Michael Schumacher (4)|
A SHORT HISTORY OF ALBERT PARK
The Australian Grand Prix was an event for many years before it became a part of the F1 World Championship. This event moved around tracks in Australia on a yearly basis. One non-championship Grand Prix with F1 machinery was held at Albert Park in 1956. It was won by Stirling Moss, driving for Maserati. The Australian Grand Prix became a fixture on the F1 calendar in 1985, at Adelaide. The race was run successfully there for eleven seasons. In 1993, negotiations began to bring the Australian Grand Prix to Melbourne and, for the first race of the 1996 season, Formula One took to the streets of a rebuilt Albert Park circuit for the first time, much to the dismay of the ‘Save Albert Park’ group. The building of the circuit, even though temporary, required trees to be cut down and some facilities to be removed from the park. The Albert Park track is set around the man-made lake, which is the centerpiece of the park.
DID YOU KNOW?
It takes around four weeks for Albert Park to get ready for Formula One’s annual visit. The tyre barriers, fencing and grandstands are all put up in this time as the park prepares for the pinnacle of motorsport to descend on Melbourne. After the race, it takes around two weeks for the park to revert to its normal functioning.
- The 1996 Australian Grand Prix followed on immediately from the 1995 Australian Grand Prix. The 1995 event had been at the end of the season, at Adelaide, and the 1996 Australian Grand Prix was the season opener and the first to be held in Melbourne.
- With few long corners at this track, it can be difficult for drivers to warm their tyres properly.
- Mark Webber finished 5th in his home Grand Prix for Minardi in 2002. He and team owner Paul Stoddart took to the podium after the official procedures to celebrate his achievement with the Australian crowd.
- The longest straight here is 860 metres long.
- Formula One, and the support races, are the only events this track is used for all year, meaning that despite the roads being used year round by the public, the track is often dusty and offers low grip at the start of the weekend.
- 70% of a lap at Albert Park is spent at full throttle.
- The original Albert Park track used in the 1950s was run anti-clockwise.
- A 1:23.529 set by Sebastian Vettel in 2011 is the fastest lap ever set around this track.
- There has never been a night race here, but the 2009 event began at 5pm as the sun was setting.
- In 2001, Graham Beveridge, a marshal, was killed by a flying tyre from Jacques Villeneuve’s car at Turn Three.
- Over the course of the Australian Grand Prix, the drivers will make 3,190 gear changes.
WHY WE LOVE MELBOURNE
As the first round of the season, Albert Park usually offers an exciting race, as the drivers get to grips with their new cars. Expect plenty of contact with the barriers, plenty of retirements and perhaps even a surprise winner!
GRAND PRIX WINNERS AT ALBERT PARK
|2011||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault|