Motorcycle ace Wayne Gardner Paul Stoddart arrives in the Minardi 2-seater Former 500cc Motorbike champion Mick Doohan

A host of Australian motoring and sporting identities revved up the red carpet last night for the corporate launch of the 2012 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix held in conjunction with the Australian Premiere of SENNA.

Leading the way was Paul Stoddart, the former F1 team owner who raced into the Crown Entertainment Complex in his Formula 1 Minardi after driving it along Clarendon Street in Melbourne’s CBD.

Stoddart joined an elite group of guests on the red carpet including former 500cc motorcycle World Champions Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner, V8 Supercars drivers Rick and Todd Kelly, Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison and Steven Richards, Melbourne based models Alex Davis and Emily Cattermole and Collingwood Football Club personalities Scott Pendlebury and Nathan Buckley.

To view our photos from the event, click here.

The highly anticipated Universal Pictures film follows triple Formula 1™ World Champion Ayrton Senna through his F1 career from its start in 1984 to its sudden and tragic end at Imola in 1994.

Speaking at a function before the premiere, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott announced yet another exciting line up of events, both on and off the track for the 2012 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

“On track in 2012 we will welcome back the V8 Supercars which were a tremendous success in 2011 with the new pit lane corporate facility and extended endurance racing,” he said.

“Motorsport fans can also look forward to a new support category in 2012, the Group A – Group C Touring Cars. In a first for Albert Park, these predecessors to V8 Supercars will thrill fans with an array of Commodores, Skylines and Sierra’s from the early 1970s through to the 1990s.”

“There is also every indication that the Red Bull Race Off will be on track once again and we can’t forget the ever-popular Porsche Carrera Cup, Shannon’s Historics and the Ultimate Speed Comparison.”

Following a very successful year in 2011, with particular growth in corporate and grandstand patronage, Westacott also announced two exciting additions to the 2012 Formula 1™ Australian Grand Prix corporate program.

“We are excited to announce that we’ll be launching an all new female focused Grand Prix experience titled the Ladies Lounge,” he said.

“Held at Albert Park’s iconic restaurant The Point, the Ladies Lounge will target female fans providing an exclusive race day experience including three-course meal, fashion parades, massages and pedicures.”

The Ladies Lounge will be held on the Saturday and Sunday of the event and will allow fans to get dressed up and experience the fun of the Grand Prix, whilst relaxing and soaking up the stylish ambience.

Westacott also confirmed the popular Formula Fine Dining concept will return in 2012 with two internationally acclaimed chefs.  The first, French celebrity chef and recent Dancing with the Stars champion Manu Feildel and the second, Masterchef regular and entrepreneur Matt Moran, as the hosts for Friday and Saturday evening.

Formula Fine Dining allows patrons to extend their Grand Prix experience without leaving the circuit, transporting you from all the on-track entertainment to an evening of culinary delights at Albert Park’s Carousel.

Recognised as one of Melbourne’s most prestigious and iconic venues, Carousel offers uninterrupted views of the city skyline to provide a spectacular setting for this exclusive dining occasion.

Book tickets early for these unique and unforgettable experiences at the 2012 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. Contact the Australian Grand Prix Corporation sales team on (03) 9258 7100 or for booking details.

[Images via Australian Grand Prix Corporation]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.