Work is continuing around the clock to set up for the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit – despite a momentary interruption due to last weekend’s flash floods in the city – which gets underway in late March.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has published pictures via its Facebook page of the latest works.
Estimated to cost close to AU$20 million each year, the set-up and dismantling process takes close to three months, with the majority of the trackside fencing, pedestrian overpasses, grandstands and other motorsport infrastructure erected roughly a month prior to the event. In the six weeks following the race, the entire package is then dismantled and put away until the following year.
As the circuit uses everyday sections of the public roads that surround the Albert Park Lake – housed within the entire Albert Park, on some 225 hectares of parkland (an area bigger than the whole of Monaco!) – the work also includes having to sandblast much of the painted sections off the road surface so the track surface does not pose a danger by being too slippery for the drivers.
It is expected that close to 300,000 people will attend the four-day Melbourne Grand Prix in 2011, with the event having been the subject of much scrutiny due to its ongoing multi-million-dollar losses the event lands up costing the state’s taxpayers.
The circuit also holds the distinction of being the only venue to host the Australian Grand Prix in World Champion and non-championship formats. Before the event started in 1996 – after taking over from Adelaide, which had the race for eleven years – the circuit was used to host the 1953 and 1956 Australian Grands Prix. Interestingly, the circuit actually ran anti-clockwise as opposed to its current clockwise layout.