Last weekend, the new Formula 1 season (2016) kicked off with the Melbourne Grand Prix. And, while I am not a real petrol-head, I have always wanted to go to one of these races. So I took the chance that presented itself and went, together with a few colleagues of mine.
What you don’t see (much) on TV is the fact that there is a whole range of activities arranged around the race. And it’s not just one day, either.
Preparing the racetrack starts several weeks before the race. For most of the year, there are no pit, no fences and no grand stands. For most of the year, the place where the races are held is a great park in the middle of the city, with a lake, a golf course and a boating club. So all of the buildings and fences and grandstands need to be put in place, which takes the better part of the month.
The race action starts on Thursday and Friday with some training sessions (which we could hear through the closed windows of our office). Qualifying takes place on Saturday and the race is on Sunday. And all around that there are several other races and activities to keep the track occupied.
We went there on Sunday only, having followed the qualifying on TV the evening before. Here are some of the impressions of the day. As you will note, most of this is only marginally connected with actual F1…
There was a mandatory checking of the bags. You were allowed to bring in your own food and drinks, but no alcohol. Happily I made use of that as the food at the races was expensive and, in the end, not all that great.
But that was about to change with the 4th race of the Coates Hire V8 Supercars Challenge…
The race itself was quite exciting, even though it was overshadowed by a quite spectacular crash. Luckily we had a big screen right across from where we stood, so we actually knew what was going on.
So, overall, a very nice day. Lots to do, lots to see, and there was even a F1 race! And the great weather definitely helped.
Would I go again? Yes. Is it something for the (our) kids? Not so much. This is one of those events that are geared for adults and happily does not go out of its way to cater for young children.