The Formula 1 season generally starts “Down Under” in Australia, the farthest trip of the year for we Europeans. Last year the race was the first casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2021 edition of one of the most popular events on the calendar has been delayed to November.
There have been 35 Australian Grand Prix from 1985 to 2019, 11 of them held in Adelaide and 24 in the current venue, Melbourne.
Albert Park circuit is, as the name implies, set in a park. In a previous life it was used as a rubbish dump and also a military camp. In 1864, it was named in honour of Queen Victoria’s consort.
The Australian Grand Prix has taken place here every year since 1996, after moving from Adelaide, where it was traditionally the final round of the F1 championship, so that Melbourne and Australia are now synonymous with F1 and the trip to one of the world’s sporting capitals is always appreciated by F1 folk, who enjoy the warm weather after the cold European winter.
The 2019 Australian GP was won by Valtteri Bottas, while pole position went to his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Not just Formula 1 in Melbourne
Apart from the race track, Albert Park is famous for its beautiful wetlands which form a perfect habitat for some fantastic and exotic birds.
As a result, bird watching is taken quite seriously with some ‘twitchers’ travelling far and wide to view amongst others, the sulphur-crested cockatoo, the Willie Wagtail and the Laughing Kookaburra.
Melbourne does not mean only F1, it can at times seem like one giant sports venue, with international tennis tournaments, world cycling championships and other sports.
One of the coolest parts of the city, very near to the track, is St. Kilda and its beach, the nearest nightspot to the race track, famous for its noisy bars, live music and cake shops!