[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] ALBERT PARK: TRACK BUILD

Melbourne, Australia is a perfect place to start the new Formula 1 season, the sunny cosmopolitan city a hub for shopping, dining and sport. 

And the Victorian capital is already abuzz ahead of next week’s inaugural season launch event at Federation Square on Wednesday March 13, and the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday March 17.

F1’s traditional curtain-raiser held at the stunning Albert Park track, which is now almost complete… the huge effort, in building the temporary circuit and all its facilities, often underrated.

SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW WESTACOTT,
CEO, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX CORPORATION:
“The circuit build in Albert Park is one of those things just to marvel at. It’s a public park for 51 weeks a year… we build probably 290,000 man hours during the build. At the peak of it…. in the event lead-up, there’s probably going to be 1200 and 1500 men and women working on that as a construction site bringing it to finality.”  

The barriers and catch fencing are naturally the most obvious changes in the lead-up to the event, but the grandstands soon follow.

SOUNDBITE (English) JAMAL KHODER,
STRUCTURES MANAGER, ARCADIS:
“So the build period for the grandstands is generally about 8 weeks. So four or five major grandstands [will] get built over the course of 8 weeks and that includes [all] the craning operations, the scaffolding operations, building all the ramps and the stairways as well, so goes up pretty quick.”

With the construction tapering off - the organisers kick into a higher gear, its year-round staff of 50 tripling in size to tackle the operational side right through into the event weekend and beyond.

SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW WESTACOTT,
CEO, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX CORPORATION:
“So you get a talented group of people together and they’re working six and half to seven days a week now in the lead-up for the final four weeks. It just comes together as a project that is, [it] needs to be engineered within an inch of its life but you’ve also got to have the element of creativity and flair.”

There’s also plenty of communication with London, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation collaborating closely with Formula 1.

SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW WESTACOTT,
CEO, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX CORPORATION:
“You’ve got to deal with your partners in every particular area and we do that nightly, there might be 20 or 30 different calls happening each evening. It tends to be Melbourne time at night, [and] London time in the morning. But that’s the way it works.”

All of it to ensure happy faces and racers as the gates open for 2019’s season-opening event at Melbourne’s picturesque Albert Park.