Albert Park, Melbourne – spectators’ experiences

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Tell us about your experiences of visiting the Melbourne Park in Australia.

You may wish to include:

  • When you visited the track
  • Where you watched from
  • How easy it was to get to
  • How much of the track you could see
  • What support races there were
  • What you liked and didn’t like
  • How much it cost and whether it was good value

Please use the reply box below to leave your comments.

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46 comments on Albert Park, Melbourne – spectators’ experiences

  1. Peter Anderson said on 26th March 2008, 2:56

    I’ve been to Albert Park for the race 8 times, including 2008.I’ve watched from Turn 16 (Schumacher stand), Pit Straight (Fangio and Senna stands), Turn 1 (general admission, no longer available), 3-4 complex (general admission hill), Turn 5 (general admission, now with a ‘super-screen’), Turn 6 (GA on the inside of the track) and the Turn 9 hill.Turn 5 is the best General Admission spot money can buy but is in the sun all day as it faces north. 2008 was incredibly hot. There are trees in most GA areas but you need to be early to get on the concrete seating, people get there very early and stay put. Turn 5 has none of these concrete podiums.All of these corners are quite good for seeing the track. Turn 5 is a sweeping right hander that leads to 6 and if you stand on the fence you can see cars dicing for an opportune overtake at 6 (rare, but good all the same). A few years ago Kimi had a good crash at 5. The support races have moments through here too, as in this year’s V8 support race.Support races vary through the years, but staples are the celebrity race and the V8 Supercars. The celebs were in Fiat 500s this year and mostly include boofhead footballers and assorted sportspeople. The V8 Supercars are spectacular, real crowd-pleasers and as it’s a non-championship round, they go nuts. Other events are Carrera Cup, demos, motorbike stunts, FFord and there are aerial displays by the Navy and Air Force (F/A 18s, Roulettes, helicopters) and a Qantas 747 on a low-level flyover.The local crowd is largely ignorant of F1 and there is far too much alcohol for family enjoyment. There is little etiquette from the ‘one-race-per-year’ crowd and Ferrari fans in Australia are particularly obnoxious for some reason. Stand tickets are very expensive and sell quickly and are of dubious value on Pit Straight (Senna and Fangio stands). The facilities are par for the course but the food is excrement. Nowhere near enough shade or rain protection.It is extremely easy to get to, with a variety of trams and buses going down three major thoroughfares to get you to the right gate. If you get a good spot, settle in for the day and bring your own food – do that and despite all the above moaning, it’s hard to beat.

  2. Went to the F1GP for the first time this year, on the saturday and sunday. Won awesome tickets through my work.
    My ‘home’ event is the Clipsal 500 so I’ll compare a few things to that.

    The areas behind the stands are nice and spacious which is good, Clipsal is seriously crowded so it was nice to be able to move around. It does kind of dampen the atmosphere though, the race days at Clipsal are absolutely electric all over the track area and it just wasn’t the same kind of atmosphere at the GP.

    Race day, 40+ degrees. Ok sure they have no control over the weather, but the fact that the entire GP ran out of drinking water is not good. Never have I ever seen this happen before at any event (motorsport or otherwise). The GP Advantage Bar on pit straight is a pretty good thing, was good to see the action from right on trackside with my mates having a decent beer. The bar room needs to be bigger though, it was very crowded a lot of the time and had insufficient cooling, not only on the 40 degree day but in the cooler times too it was a bit stuffy. Either less GP Advantage tickets, or bigger bar, one or the other needs to happen.

    My seats were on the outside of turn 2. Big screen was way too far away would be my only complaint, but once again because of run-off needs for turn 1 theres no way around it, once again I’m used to Clipsal where everything is much closer togather. The actual seating was good, plenty of leg room (especially important for those with long legs like me) and comfy seats for plastic sports seats, better on both counts than Clipsal.

    Large large gaps in on-track action, once again probably because I’m used to Clipsal where theres something happening on track constantly. Compared to the Malaysian GP which my father went to this year Melbs was no where near as bad, the Malaysian GP had practically nothing on track.

    Merchandise way too expensive ($80 for a tee? $140 for a shirt?), but then its F1 so I wasn’t expecting anything different. I’ve bought some merchanidese from online team shops before so I knew what kind of prices to expect.

    If I had the spare cash I’d definitely go again though. If they had a bit more on-track action and ensured that there was enough water it would be better. (I understand though that the water thing was probably a one-off anomoly, but I’ve still never had it happen anywhere before).

  3. Just read Peter’s in a bit more detail and I have to agree about the lack of shade, theres not very many places where you can sit under some shade for a bit.

  4. Hi Went to Albert park this year.

    Great experience and greatview of the cars.
    It wasnt very busy at all and you can see why they say they are losing money. Also too b***dy hot and nowhere really to keep cool. My fault for chosing cheap tickets i guess.

  5. I’ve been to the Melbourne GP 5 times, including ’08. I must say that I have no complaints, apart from the afore-mentioned lack of shade and running out of drinking water this year – though I must say that after the race, a security guy and a couple of marshalls pulled out a box of water bottles and let us go nuts!

    I’d recommend general admission to anyone going to Albert Park for the first time. The grandstands are overpriced and too far away from the track, though not all. Albert Park is a street circuit, so you can get REALLY close to the cars at some points with GA. My fave spot is just before the braking zone (about 100m) at turn 6, on the outside of the track. It’s shady, near to food, drinks and toilets, and it’s a thoroughfare for all and sundry, so some good views, whatever your taste. I think it’s also Jarno Trulli’s favourite part of the track, since he keeps stopping his car there. Pop down on a sunday and you’ll get a little wave from the dimunitive Italian fella, god bless ‘im.

    Overall, Albert Park is easy to get to by tram, bus or car (yes, CAR), there’s plenty of toilets, food vendors, bars, plenty of room to move and a great atmosphere in general. Just bring an umbrella and you’ll be right, rain or shine.

    Here’s a link to a video I took in ’07. It’s a crappy old camera, but you get the idea of closeness and speed at Albert Park. Just cut and paste and read the description.

    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=lCtGFatJUFo

  6. Been to Albert Park oooh 7 times now.

    My fave place to sit is Senna stand (turn 16) which is great – you get to see them coming through 15 & 16 and then hammer down the straight. Plus every year I’ve been someone – or several someones – has lost there right in front of me, which spices things up a bit ! Costs about $400 for the four day grandstand pass, although there is limited general admin in the area. There is a big screen right opposite as well.

    You can take your own food & drink into the race – as someone said earlier the food there is pretty pricey and not of particulaly high quality. There are also water bubblers to refil your bottle Ben, look around the pontoon bridge, and the food area behind Fangio (thats where I saw them this year anyway). There is very little shade in the grandstands so take an umbrella, a hat & plenty of sunscreen.

    Tram is the best way to get to the track & its free for grandstand ticket holders (although tbh the trams are usually so packed no one checks anyway).

    There is plenty of track action while there are no F1 cars – V8 Supercars, Formula Ford, Celebrity challenge etc, and a big area on the golf course with rides & displays etc.

    Plus, The Who are playing after the race on sunday next year !

    • Danny said on 3rd January 2011, 14:02

      Hi There,
      When you say general admin around the Senna stand where abouts is it?
      Its my first visit to Albert park this year and would love to get some great photos.
      Thanks for your help

      • zerogee said on 4th January 2011, 7:34

        I don’t think there’s any General Admission between 14 or 2 (if that makes sense), there’s some between 2 and 3 on both sides of the track but you’ll want to be there early.

        grandprix.com.au has a map of all the areas. I like Turn 6 for photos, 5 is a bit meh and I’ve never really taken any photos further around.

        • Danny said on 4th January 2011, 9:25

          Cheers Zerogee.
          Thats pants! I wanted to take some picks from turn 15 but o well.
          Yeah I was looking on the map but it isnt that clear for Gen Ad. Waiting for the new one for this years race.
          How busy does it get? Cos I know at Silverstone its 5 deep along the length of the whole circuit.

          • zerogee said on 4th January 2011, 9:28

            It does get very busy on Saturday for quali and on Sunday, but on Friday you can roam around a bit without too much trouble. It’s easily 5 deep but because there’s hills, most people sit down.

  7. zerogee said on 20th December 2008, 8:21

    (aka Peter Anderson as above)

    Forgot to mention that under-12s are free in General Admission, which takes a big chunk out of the cost of the thing. I just wish the food was better (Melbourne has sensational food outside of the track!).

    If you’re interested in accommodation, there’s some hotels in St Kilda, from backpacker through traveller (Novotel St Kilda) and posh (The Prince) with excellent food at the doorstep and what passes for a beach in Melbourne just down the road.

    There are lots of hotels a tram ride away in the city which is preferable to St Kilda Road, the main arterial between the city and St Kilda itself. St Kilda Road is pretty dead and has lots of hotels and serviced apartments and plenty of trams but it’s a struggle for food. Before we moved to Melbourne we stayed in the city and preferred it that way.

    Basic program and stuff can be found at

    http://www.grandprix.com.au

  8. Clare msj said on 18th February 2009, 9:14

    I went to the 2005 race. Stayed in a Base Backpackers hostel in St Kilda for the two weeks I was there – one of the best hostels I stayed in in Australia, and was walking distance from the track which was pretty convenient! By far the easiest Grand Prix to get to that I have ever been to. I’m intending on going again in 2010, will definitely be staying in the same place again.

    Sat in the Senna stand for the race – was pretty good views from there, and the weather wasnt too hot luckily that year – although on the Friday we were treated to that famous four seasons in one day weather that Melbourne seems to get on occasion. Wasnt quite close enough come the end of the race to get down to the podium to watch the winner (Fisichella) and podium action. The cost was what I would deem average for the seats – but then I am used to paying Silverstone prices! It wasnt the cheapest I have been to.

    The support races were good, particularly the V8s – although whilst I say ‘support races’ for many there that seemed to be the main event, so the atmosphere I have experienced at other races was lacking when the F1 was on, which surprised me with it being the season opener.

    There was a street parade the year I went on the weekend before, it was ten years of Melbourne hosting the race, which was pretty darn good, Pizzonia was really good in the Williams, went round the course far more times than i think he was supposed to and did donuts everywhere. Really enjoyed that, and so did my mate, who doesnt really even like F1. There was also a free open day on the Thursday at the track, which was good because my friend that I was travelling with wasnt coming to the actual race, but got to see all the cars and things on the Thursday without a ticket.

    I dont remember queueing for anything all weekend either, plenty of everything all over the place.

  9. I’m a local and have been three times. I haven’t explored all of the general admission options. “Brocky’s Hill” offers a reasonable vantage for turns 11 and 12, the most exciting on the circuit. From reading Peter Anderson above though he’s convinced me that turn 5 would be the best GA spot.

    I’ve tried a few of the grand-stands and Prost was the best by far. You’re very close and have a broad vantage of turns 14 and especially 15, which is an “almost flat” 2-3rd gear entry to the straight and a great place to observe differences between drivers. Plus you can see all the way down the straight.

    I find the complaints about the weather a bit odd – it is an outdoor event. In my opinion the facilities are excellent. No haute cuisine but I’m happy with a hotdog for lunch at an outdoor event followed by a great dinner in St Kilda or the city.

    • peakay said on 29th March 2009, 4:20

      what street do we go to to get to gate one for the formula 1 grand prix

    • hello joncitizen,

      would you mind letting me know of the other stands you were in for the F1 at melbourne. I’m looking at buying surprise tickets for my brother’s 40th and I’m tempted by the 4 corners deal or the GP advantage deal. Thinking that it would be nice to see the final race in the best stand, just hard to figure out which one that is.

      cheers

  10. Tom said on 6th May 2009, 3:28

    If you’re a real diehard fan (like me), i’d definately recommend grandstand tickets (if feasible). ive been twice (07 and 09) and it’s great to be able to walk around on friday and saturday morning to see everything and take photos, etc. then come quali and race, youre guaranteed a good seat with a view of the super screen. anyone wanting close, cheap accommodation, i’d recommend the claremont hotel on toorak road. this year it was $109 a night for 2 within walking distance of the track (about 1.5 kms) and about 20m from the south yarra trainstation which gets you to the city in no more than 10 mins. public transport in melbourne is unbelievably efficient and easy to use. also, the hotel is a bed and breakfast (small rooms though, bare basics) and there’s plenty of resteraunts on toorak road and adjacent streets as well as plenty of clothes shops etc.
    at the track, i was in the waite grandstand at the end of the back straight (on the fast chicane). great view of the superscreen and if you can be there for the ‘ultimate speed comparison’ youll be amazed by the difference in cornering speed. in 2007, i was in the fangio stand on the pit straight which was great for race start (obviously) as well as pit stops and podium ceremony. if you’re not a diehard fan i probably wouldnt recommend it as you don’t see much of the cars (cause their too damn fast) and not much racing action as such like you’d get on a corner.

  11. damonsmedley said on 15th May 2009, 0:37

    I went for the first time this year (2009) and we had the GP Advantage deal. I would recommend the four corner package to anyone who is planning to attend the Australian Grand Prix as it gives you a variety of different angles of the track and the motor racing. I was not entirely for the twilight Grand Prix, the sun was in our eyes for the whole race on Sunday (we were in the Clark stand that day) but of course, you could solve that problem by arranging a stand such as Fangio (on the pit straight) or the Jones stand (outside of braking zone for turn 1) for the Sunday. Make sure you have accommodation close to the track or you have to wait in line for ages at night to get on a tram that you find difficult to get off again due to the astronomical amounts of people. I thouroughly enjoyed the Grand Prix and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest for F1.

  12. damonsmedley said on 15th May 2009, 0:40

    Check my YouTube channel; dsmed2311 for footage of my experience at Albeert Park from the Brabham, Fangio, Schumacher and Clark stands.

    • Tim C said on 26th October 2010, 21:34

      Damon, it looks like your footage on dsmed2311 has been removed any chance of getting a copy (or at least your thoughts on the best grandstand) ? Thanks TC

  13. Clare msj said on 26th August 2009, 15:57

    So excited, just got my tickets to the Australian race 2010!! Senna stand again. Cant wait!! :D :D :D

  14. James said on 6th February 2010, 12:11

    I went in 2009 and had no problem getting onto the trams at the track on Saturday after qualifying, despite expecting difficulties with the sheer amounts of people. It was a very smooth process with no waiting whatsoever. I was very impressed with it. On Sunday I had no problems getting onto a tram from the city centre either. I stayed after the race to watch the concert by the who so couldn’t say what getting onto a tram was like staraight after, but if it was busy then I would suggest staying after the race to watch the free concert (assuming there is another this year) and let some crowds disperse.

  15. Bring a hat, suncream & plenty to drink. After the race is over, dont worry about catching any trams, just head over to the St Kilda pubs