The temporary street track at Albert Park, Melbourne, hosts the season-opening Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
Albert Park has hosted motor racing events since the 1950s. A circuit at the park, different to the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in use now, hosted non-championship Australian Grands Prix between 1953 and 1958. Formula 1 chose Adelaide as its host city when it arrived on the calendar in 1985, but Albert Park took over as the host of Australia’s F1 race in 1996, with the venue hosting the season-opening race in almost every year since.
Circling around a man-altered lake, which is the centrepiece of the parkland, the track is very much like a street circuit, with cars reaching ferocious speeds between the tight walls. With few long straights, overtaking can be difficult and races can sometimes be processional.
The Australian Grand Prix event boasts one of the largest support race offerings of the F1 season, including the Australian GT championship and the Australian Formula 4 Championship, the latter of which joins the support bill for the first time in 2019. There’s always a friendly atmosphere at the Melbourne race which, with a typical attendance of around 300,000, is one of the most popular on the F1 calendar. The venue holds a contract to host the Australian Grand Prix until 2023.
As it’s made up of public roads, the track sees little racing activity outside the month of March, though the local area is a hub for all kinds of recreational and sporting activities. Soccer club South Melbourne FC play at the Lakeside Stadium which is located next to Albert Park’s lake, as is the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, which hosted events in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
For the first time since 1996, the Australian Grand Prix was not held in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Upcoming events at Albert Park Street Circuit in 2021
The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at Albert Park is only used once a year. The 2020 Australian Grand Prix was cancelled at the last moment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dates for the 2021 Australian Grand Prix have not yet been announced, but the race is normally held in mid March.
The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is located in the inner-city suburb of Albert Park, a few kilometres south of Central Melbourne.
Melbourne’s main airport is Tullamarine (MEL), located 30km from the circuit. Note that the Avalon (AVV) airport is a considerable 60km away from the city centre. The best way to get from the airport to the city centre is to take a taxi (around $40-50 AUD / €25-31 EUR), or use the Sky Bus (from $18 AUD / €12 EUR).
How to get to the circuit:
Public Transport: Trams and trains are your best bet for getting to the circuit on Grand Prix weekend, with F1 fans able to take advantage of free rides on most services. To travel on the network you need to purchase a reusable ‘myki’ card. In the center, trams leave from outside Flinders Street train station on Swanston Street (opposite Federation Square). All trams, including the St Kilda Road GP Shuttle services between the city centre and St Kilda, Light Rail GP Express trams and Clarendon Street GP Express trams, are very regular, running at around 1-5 minute intervals at peak times. We recommend staying at the circuit a little longer after the on-track action to avoid the crowds.
Taxi: Yellow taxis in Melbourne are reliable and affordable, while Uber also operate in the city.
Car: Hiring a car is generally not recommended for the event, as parking and access is severely restricted. However, if you’re staying for longer, hiring a car to see more of the surrounding area is a great option. Browse rentals in Melbourne with Rentalcars.com.
From youth hostels to 5-star luxury, Melbourne has something for everyone – though prices do increase across the board on Grand Prix weekend.
Albert Park is situated between the Central Business District (CBD) of Melbourne and St Kilda, a popular beachside suburb. With free trams for racegoers travelling from the CBD to St Kilda on race weekend, staying in both of these areas is a good choice. Other central areas of the city worth considering as your base include Southbank and Docklands. The Crowne Plaza is one of the most popular hotels for F1 teams. There’s also plenty of hotels in South Yarra, within walking distance of the circuit.