Posted on 08 March 2019
This coming weekend the colourful, loud and mad circus that is Formula 1 racing will roll back into Melbourne to kick off the 2019 season. Since 1996 Melbourne has played host to the opening round of the World Championship, with the Australian Grand Prix becoming a crowning jewel in the city’s already very glamorous sporting crown. But Melbourne has always been a little different to other Grand Prix across the world, with the event developing over the years to become much more than just the race itself. With a fantastic mix of on and off-track entertainment and excitement, there is rarely a dull moment down at the Albert Park circuit. We’ve put together a helpful guide on who to watch for on-track, what there is to do around the park, and some new additions that are getting rolled out in Melbourne.
When is it?
The Australian Grand Prix will open its gates on Thursday, March 14 and conclude with the race on Sunday, March 17, with the launch event taking place on Wednesday, March 13 (more on that below). While there is no F1 action on Thursday, general admission tickets (known this year as AusGP Park Passes) are much cheaper and you’ll have the opportunity to snag an autograph from one of the drivers during one of the sessions throughout the day. Friday is when the F1 cars will take to the track for the first time, featuring in two practice sessions, before Saturday sees them square off in the first qualifying event of the season in preparation for the race the following afternoon.
Courtesy of speedcafe.com
The Boys are Back in Town
New for this year is the inaugural Formula 1 Season Launch Event, held at Federation Square. A part of the effort to bring fans closer than ever before to the teams and drivers, this event features a selection of live music and a presentation of all the drivers who will take to the track on Sunday’s race. For those fans not fortunate enough to have access to the F1 Paddock, this is a fantastic opportunity to cheer for their favourite sporting heroes, all in the heart of Melbourne.
Courtesy of Sky Sports
New Team, Same Old Smile
Australia’s own Daniel Ricciardo has parted ways with Red Bull, instead choosing to sign for midfield runners Renault. The announcement last year caught many people up and down the pitlane by surprise, with some pegging the ‘Honey Badger’ to either stay put at the team that’s given him seven Grand Prix wins, or move to a front running team like Ferrari. Ricciardo instead has chosen a team that is showing a lot of promise, fighting at the business end of a packed midfield, but which may not be able to deliver the smiling man from Perth to the podium for some time.
Courtesy of Motorsport.com
Robert Kubica was one of the most adroit drivers of his generation, going toe to toe with now 5-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton on many occasions, and often coming out on top. But his career, and his life, were almost cut short by a horrifying rallying accident in 2011, crashing into a guardrail which came within centimetres of severing his arm. But the long road back from recovery and into the seat of a Formula 1 car is finally complete, with Kubica signing for a drive with Williams this year. While the team have suffered a less than stellar run in the last few seasons, if anyone can get the new car up into a competitive position it’s the plucky Pole.
Courtesy of Autoweek
As with every year, Melbourne dishes up a wide and varied range of things to do and see when you want to wander away from the track. The event is designed to be family friendly, with plenty of areas to sit and relax between on-track events and simply enjoy a day out in Melbourne, as well as activities and entertainment to cater to the youngest of F1 fanatics. There is always plenty of time during the weekend to wander around the circuit and discover one of the many attractions featured around Albert Park. From mouth-watering food stalls and beer gardens to live music on Saturday and a display of classic and vintage cars that will make even the most seasoned petrol-heads weak at the knees, there really is something for everyone. So don’t miss your chance to experience one of the true highlights of Melbourne’s sporting calendar!
Courtesy of F1 Destinations
Here’s a quick rundown of the week ahead:
- Wednesday March 13- Formula 1 Season Launch at Federation Square with a presentation of all 20 drivers.
- Thursday March 14- First day of the Grand Prix, a chance to meet the drivers and check out the fantastic support races on offer.
- Friday March 15- F1 cars take to the track for the first time in two practice sessions.
- Saturday March 16- Final practice session during the day before the knock-out qualifying session gets underway in the afternoon.
- Sunday March 17- Lights go out for the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, and the first race of the new season.
Author: Will Dunn completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Screenwriting) at the Victorian College of the Arts. He is currently trying to figure out how to make that degree useful.