Sunday, 17 March 2013

Formula One (F1) Grand Prix 2013 - Melbourne, Australia

For many years, I promised myself that I would attend the Grand Prix.  Having watched it countless times on TV, I have often wondered what it may be like in person.  This year, I hoped to attend several days worth but there has been too much Uni work to deal with.  I was lucky enough to have a few spare hours yesterday (Thursday) so I guess you can say I finally gave in.  Motor sports was never really a big thing to me as I prefer aviation and airshows.  However, yesterday's visit changed my view towards motor sports.  IT IS an exhilarating experience!

Overall, the track is fantastic.  Those who know the lake and its small and windy roads will appreciate how well it has been set out for the Grand Prix.  Basically, you have two options: to watch it from (what I would call) the 'outer ring' or the 'inner ring'.  How you get from one to the other is via an overpass (mini bridge).  Try and cross the bridge when the cars are racing.  You can feel the vibrations from the speed of the cars as you walk accross.  I saw many people stop on the bridge for a few minutes just for the thrill.  See below:

Recommended viewing areas: 

Although photography is not prohibited, it is difficult to get a good photo as the fences are in the way most of the time.  If you're patient enough and have time to walk around the track, try and find a gap.  These gaps usually have track cars parked there for emergency situations, but if you have a telephoto lens and a fast camera, you may be lucky enough to get a decent photo.  See the map below (red circles)

  • Turn 12 (from the inner circle)
  • Turn 2 (from the inner circle)

The time where I've almost nailed some panning, the fences get in the way...

The crowd is watching from the 'outer ring', I'm opposite and in the 'inner ring'.  This area is 'TURN 12'.  

This driver was crazy.  Driving super hard and braking fast but handling well.

This is the small gap I was talking about. 

Shot at full 300mm, 500-600mm would be nice!

This is how they achieve their balanced car sounds on  TV stations.

Highly doubt anyone caught much on their phones... Was hard enough with a quick SLR.

Next time, that's the view I'm going to organise.  

Porsche race - I reckon they look terrible...

Some pretty interesting machines...

Car failed, driver giving up at this point...

Another VERY small gap

A crazy orange...

Was the most interesting vehicle I saw all day. I wonder what was going on in the designer's mind...

Finally a gap big enough for some photos without fences.  Shame they were not travelling in the opposite direction.

'Ah mate, reckon we got the wrong event?...'

This is how they achieve the wide aerial shot of the entire circuit

Other entertainment:

Don't miss out on the Roulettes!  This Australian aerobatic team usually performs at airshows so if you couldn't make it there, come along and check out their performance.  They are flying quite low and 15 minutes was enough to get plenty of photographs!  If you're photographing them, aim for a 200mm lens at a bare minimum, otherwise 300mm is ideal.

I highly recommend you check out the Nitro Circus which is in the middle of Albert Park Lake.  It's a fantastic show that seemed to thrill the audience more than the car racing did.  Here are some photos to explain why...

If I barely snapped the F1 car, I'm wondering what he managed to get... :)

Coulthard in the 'Ultimate Speed Comparison'.  

'Honey, it's just a scratch...'

My favourite picture from the day!

Look who decided to rock up...

Amazing moment!

Fantastic effort!

Yes, that was pretty cool!


Yes, that's a scooter

Soaring above the buildings

Who said humans can't fly? !!!

Why not? 

Thumbs up...

Realised he had more time to just chill in the air...

The host, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats

The crowds wouldn't stop screaming

Flames... Why not? !

Trying to pull off a smile is not an easy job!

'Oh, was I supposed to mention the sponsor..? Never mind...'

Final comments:

I am generally impressed with what Melbourne has done with the Grand Prix.  On a side note: I know that I visited on a weekday so it's merely the beginning of the show, but I think it's safe to say that more entertainment is needed.  There were times when people would walk around trying to figure out what to do with themselves.  This kind of event needs continuous and superfluous entertainment.

I strongly encourage you to check it out.  If you're not a car fan, you may just end up being converted...

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