Insight Mark Walker March 23, 2024 (Comments off) (172)

AUSGP: Notebook, 2024 Edition

It’s back – the Australian Grand Prix Notebook for 2024, running through all of the things you might have missed at home, or missed at the track, because you were stuck behind 140,000 other people.


Fenced Out

After last year’s track invasion, the AGP Corporation has employed a whole lot more security, and a massive quantity of additional fencing, which makes life incredibly difficult for marshalls and photographers alike (see: padlocked photo holes). The additional fencing absolutely made it harder to spectate, too.


Merch Watch 2024

Caps this year come in at a standard $90, while the most expensive items we were able to find were the Mercedes parkas for $650. Hot tip: wait til next week when everything is half-price…

Hold fire! After going to press, we found this beauty of a Pirelli cap for the low, low price of $180. Incredible stuff.


Activation Corner

Brands are spending up big to showcase their wares to the trackside audience.


Corporate Corner

The size and the scope of the corporate facilities trackside this year is incredible – there is clearly some spare money being made available to use for hospitality.


Bridging that lake

If you’ve never been to Albert Park during race week, this is the rather massive, entirely temporary bridge crossing from one side of the lake to the other, cutting down significant transit time for pedestrians.


Media Centre

This gives you a glimpse of the size and scope of the international media involvement at the AGP, with an additional smaller media area to the side of the main international media centre.

Also upstairs at the pit exit end of the pit lane complex is a self-serve cafe, toilets, and the media conference area, below.

Additionally, this is the TV media pen in the back of the paddock, where you typically see the drivers questioned post-sessions.

Elsewhere, for 2024, national media have been shunted to a smaller media centre near the Supercars paddock.


Innovation Hub

There are plenty of sideshows at Albert Park this year, including in the Innovation Hub, featuring a world of STEM possibilities, with all of the major local unis (and more) involved.


The Running of the Fans

It’s a tradition as old as the Melbourne Walk itself: punters making the mad dash from gate one to attempt to get pole position and up close and personal with their favourite celebrities on the Melbourne Walk. Great theatre, especially for the suited Channel 10 reporter who asked some probing questions on the trot.


The Melbourne Walk

This year, the AGPC has rationalised their stage layout – there is one in the Innovation Hub, which handled a full roster of talks, plus the main stage, for the concerts, plus the driver chats, which were formally hosted on a stage adjacent to the Melbourne Walk. With that stage now gone, there is more room for punters to access the Melbourne Walk, a unique feature on the F1 calendar. There is also a music-only stage amidst the food section on the golf course.


Concerts

With sell-out crowds, the AGPC didn’t have to bring in A-list international acts to boost crowds through the gate (see: Robbie Williams in Adelaide, etc). Still, acts like Amy Shark and Jet did a huge job of engaging the audience after hours.


Dining Out: 2024 Edition

There are plenty of options around the grounds. Expect to pay around $25 for a feed with a side.

The Espy bar is located overlooking the Melbourne Walk. Come closing time, when the celebrities are being picked up, some of the rather rambunctious locals have found this excellent vantage point to get amongst the action.


Amenities

Away from the track, there are provisions for a range of places to get away from the madness.


Closed Captions for your convenience

It turns out that race tracks are incredibly noisy, so this is a masterstroke. Also, kudos to the transcriber for understanding exactly what Tony Schibeci was saying in the Carrera Cup commentary. PS. We love you Tony, you can listen to him weekly via the On the Grid podcast, sans captions.


Big Brother is watching

In addition to all the TV cameras around the circuit, a massive number of closed-circuit units are placed around the entire venue, keeping an eye on the track and the crowd.


Weather Station

Weather is important to the F1 circus, with data screens everywhere showing the current and historical weather values over the past three hours. Here is where the information comes from.


Pack it up

Once again, all of the F1 travel containers can be found parked up behind turn two on the infield, with forklifts ready to roll for Sunday evening.

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