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The Australian Grand Prix is traditionally the first race on the Formula One calendar. First held in 1928, the Australian Grand Prix has been raced at a number of venues throughout Australia. At present the race takes place on the Melbourne Park Grand Prix Circuit at Albert Park in Melbourne.
Lap Distance: 5.303km
Race Distance: 307.574km
Melbourne Park Grand Prix Circuit
The Melbourne Park Grand Prix Circuit is constructed from the roads surrounding the Albert Park and lake South of Melbourne. Drivers have described the Melbourne Park Grand Prix Circuit as one of the easiest to learn, and the racetrack layout is considered conducive to fast driving.
Australian Grand Prix History
Open wheel racing in Australia has a history dating back to the 1920s, when unofficial grand prix were held in cities around Australia. The first Australian Grand Prix was held in 1928 at Philip Island and won by Arthur Waite.
For the next several decades the Australian Grand Prix remained nomadic, and was held on racetracks throughout Australia, occasionally settling in one location for a three to four year period. During this period the Australian Grand Prix remained a largely local event, and with the exception of the occasional British competitor, was raced and won by drivers from Australia and New Zealand.
In 1985 the Australian Grand Prix was added to the Formula One World Championship schedule. Race organisers decided on Adelaide as a base for the Australian Grand Prix, where the grand prix was raced over a street circuit. The Australian Grand Prix was raced at Adelaide for 11 years before the decision was made to move the race to the refurbished Albert Park facilities in Melbourne.
The new Australian Grand Prix circuit comprised a number of public roads within the Albert Park complex. These were sculpted into a 16- turn circuit renowned for smooth roads and high speeds. The inaugural Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne drew a crowd of over 400 000, setting a record for the event that stands to this day.
The Future of the Australian Grand Prix
Melbourne is expected to continue hosting the Australian Grand Prix until the year 2015. In recent years the use of Melbourne as the host city for the race has been brought into question due to a steady decline in attendances, as well as the impact of the event’s scheduling on European television audiences.
It is expected that the Australian Grand Prix will be moved to a later starting time in future to make the event more accessible to European television audiences. This will result in the Australian Grand Prix becoming the first ‘evening’ race in the Formula One series.