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The Australian Grand Prix is one of the greatest events to visit on the F1 calendar but sadly, on many levels the Grandstands at the Albert Park circuit fail to deliver the spectator experience you would want, especially at the kind of price points we’re talking about. The availability of multi grandstand tickets have sweetened the deal somewhat though and unless you have a favorite spot already, if you want the grandstand experience these are the way to go. Luckily, general admission areas save the day with some very reasonable views of the track and for a fraction of the cost.
Best Grandstands at Albert Park
The Jones grandstand at Melbourne is located on the exterior of the crcuit, adjacent to the first corner. For most seats your view up the track to where the pitlane exit is, is obscured. The lower rows can see this far, but any row below about row J has their vision compromised by the catch fencing. It’s far from an ideal view, but still a great spot to see F1 cars under breaking and then struggling for grip as the drivers get on the power while negotiating turn 2. Overtakes are common here, and you can expect plenty of action on lap 1.
The Brabham stand just edges out Jones as the overall best grandstand at Albert Park. Located at the interior of turn 1, you see drivers entering from the tight left hander before getting of the power for the long, curved left that leads to turn 3. The stand is ideally placed for the thrills and spills that often accompany the first lap of the Grand Prix in Melbourne and it’s one of the most common sites for overtakes. Seats in the upper rows of the stand have a clear view of the apex to turn 1 making it a great choice for keen photographers, though later in the day, if the race is a late starter, the angle of the sun can cause issues. The Brabham stand is also ideally located for many of the extra attractions at Albert Park centered around the F1 Village so you won’t be bored between track sessions.
Prost and Schumacher Grandstands
There is little to choose between these two stands. Located towards the end of the lap, you can see the tight left hander beside the Schumacher stand, the pit entry and the fast sweeping curve on to the start/finish straight. Don’t expect ot see any pitlane action from either of these vantage points as that all takes place further down. This section sees few overtakes, but you will see drivers demonstrate their supreme skill as they aim to get within a reasonable distance of the car in front, to make a move on the pit straight. Also a good spot in quali to watch drivers trying to ace the final turn for a good run to the line.
General Admission Experience at Albert Park
General admission at the Melbourne Grand Prix boasts a nice variety of vantage points, some close to the track in street circuit fashion and others that offer more wide sweeping views of the track to appreciate F1 cars as they are really meant to be seen. You can and should walk just about all the way round the track. Make your way to one of the popular viewing areas that feature raised grassy mounds to enable better viewing, or just find your own little spot where you want to watch from.
Turn 9 and 10: Brocky’s Hill
Of Albert Park’s many general admission vantage points Brocky’s Hill is one of the best places to watch from and regulars who have been coming for years come back to this spot time and time again. Crowded? Check. Rowdy? Check. But don’t let any of that put you off, in fact it only goes to add to the atmosphere of this little hill tribe of die hard F1 fans. Situated at turn 9 on the exterior of the track, the view allows you to follow the action sweeping through a fast left, right section. Overtakes are rare through here but it is an excellent example of the grip and speed of an F1 car and an F1 drivers reflexes.
Take your time to look around this section of the circuit as there are a spattering of decent vantage points dotted around this fast, exciting section.
A nice spot to see an F1 car’s epic acceleration ability the hill overlooking the sweeping turn 8 allows a view from the exit of the slow 90 degree turn 7 and is close to Brocky’s Hill.
Turn 2 is another prime location for general admission at the Australian Grand Prix. There is a raised grassy bank here and if you can get a spot that allows you to see the apex of turn one you won’t be disappointed. Keen sprinters are advised that you are in the perfect position to invade the track come the end of the race and run like hell to see the podium before the champagne has finished spraying.
All alone in the far reaches of the circuit between gate 4 and gate 5 is turn 6. This tight right hander, far away from everything is overlooked by many spectators but it is one of the spots that gets you closest to the action. If you’re lucky enough to find a gap in the fencing it can be an excellent spot for photographs of the cars. All in all probably not the kind of place you’ll want to plonk yourself down for the whole race, but an area well worth a look.
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