Albert Park: The Ultimate Track Guide

Albert Park: The Ultimate Track Guide

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 tear through the park on the man-made island, just inches from the surrounding walls.


FIRST F1 RACE 1996
TRACK LENGTH 3.295 miles
NUMBER OF LAPS 58
NUMBER OF TURNS 16
MOST POLES Lewis Hamilton (6)
MOST WINS Michael Schumacher (4)

TRACK MAP


A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ALBERT PARK CIRCUIT

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, after two years of preparations, 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 deal was struck mostly thanks to Ron Walker, an Australian business man who held negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone. The Albert Park track is set around the man-made lake, which is the centrepiece of the park.

The track is a favourite among fans, which always a promises an eventful opening round to a new season of Formula One. The circuit is essentially a street track, but is not as restrictive as Monaco, allowing for plenty of overtaking. The Grand Prix is well attended, as spectators get the first chance to see the new cars in action. Grandstands and corners are named after legendary Australian figures from motorsport such as Alan Jones, Jack Brabham and Mark Webber. A grandstand was renamed in 2016 in honour of Daniel Ricciardo. Though corner names are rarely used here, the last four corners of the track – Ascari, Stewart, Senna and Prost – are named after former F1 champions.


🇦🇺 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 two weeks for the park to revert to its normal functioning.


FAST FACTS

  • 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 – 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 fifth 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.
  • There has never been a night race here, but the 2009 event began at 5pm as the sun was setting. The race has never been run as late again due to visibility concerns.
  • Turn Three has seen notably large accidents over the years. In 1996, Martin Brundle flipped his car by driving into the back of David Coulthard’s McLaren. Similarly in 2016, Fernando Alonso suffered a violent crash when he misjudged the braking point and clattered into the back of Esteban Guiterrez’s Haas car. In 2001, Graham Beveridge, a marshal, was killed by a flying tyre from Jacques Villeneuve’s car.
  • Over the course of the Australian Grand Prix, the drivers will make around 3,190 gear changes.

🇦🇺 WHY WE LOVE MELBOURNE

As the traditional 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!


POLESITTERS AT ALBERT PARK

Poles Driver
6 Lewis Hamilton
3 Mika Hakkinen
3 Michael Schumacher
3 Sebastian Vettel
2 Jacques Villeneuve
2 Jenson Button
1 Rubens Barrichello
1 Giancarlo Fisichella
1 Kimi Raikkonen

GRAND PRIX WINNERS AT ALBERT PARK

Year Winner Constructor
1996 Damon Hill Williams-Renault
1997 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes
1998 Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes
1999 Eddie Irvine Ferrari
2000 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2001 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2002 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2003 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes
2004 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2005 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault
2006 Fernando Alonso Renault
2007 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
2008 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2009 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes
2010 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2011 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2012 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2013 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault
2014 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2015 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2016 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2017 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
2018