Melbourne Formula 1

Melbourne Formula 1

A few weeks ago I was riding my motorbike to work, nothing out of the ordinary there. I had just cut between the lanes to the front of the lights when I heard an unbelievable humming sound. It sounded like an angry hornet and kept getting increasingly louder at an alarming rate. I looked around frantically and not without some concern as it sounded like I was about to be rear ended in a spectacular fashion by some kind of superbike on steroids. The sound kept on getting louder until it passed by to my left with a roar. When the sound dimmed, leaving my teeth chattering, I realised that I had just heard my first ever Formula One car in person.The little bogan* in me was dancing around, grinning, with a massive car-stiffie, that engine sounded otherworldly.

My commute goes right past Albert Park, the road around the lake is normally a sedate amble past a large duck filled pond, for a few week of the year it is turned into a Formula one track for the Melbourne Grand Prix. Scaffolding is put up for the stands and workers busily make the road smooth and set out tyre barriers. The transformation is quite spectacular….not as spekky as the race though.

Whilst at work that day I was chatting with a colleague Jan about these amazing vehicles and she mentioned that her apartment overlooks the lake and asked if I would like to come to her F1 Party…”hell yeah Jan!”

Fast forward to sunday of St Patricks day, I am walking to Jan’s place, past green adorned pubs spilling embarrassingly drunk patrons and following my ears towards the track. Jan’s building if right on the southern corner of Albert park overlooking the lake, from her 14th storey balcony you can see five corners (about 1/3 of the track). Arriving a little before the race I cracked a bourbon can and watched a concerned circle of ducks huddling in the middle of the lake as they tried to figure out what to do next. The F1 Cars did their warm up laps as we watched a brilliantly choreographed flight by the Air Force roulettes, then an F14, F16 16 or some kind of big, loud war planes buzzed over close by. The intimidating array of (empty) bomb holders under the wing along with the noise made my very glad that he was on our team. I missed the race start as I got into a heavy discussion with a friendly, purple haired lady about sustainable energy solutions for Australia (don’t ask).

To give you all an indication of how damn close we were to the action check this little Tv to track film I threw together:


As you can hear, even from that far away the sound of these impossible machines is ear splitting. The ducks had all fled leaving a few confused seagulls on the lake. From our vantage point we could see both the track and a highway, note how the F1 cars make the normal cars seemingly stand still.


About half an hour later I had seen enough, my little inner, dancing bogan had collapsed from exhaustion and I headed for home. Sadly towards the end all I could think about was how cool it would be to fly a motorised Paraglider over the whole show next year…gawd that would annoy a few people!



*Bogan – (Adapted from wikipedia) The term bogan is Australian and New Zealand slang, usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for an individual who is recognised to be from an unsophisticated background or someone whose limited education, speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplifies a lack of manners and education. They hold a deep love of motor sport, wheelies and tuck their cigarettes under their sleeve while drinking bourbon from a can and swearing profusely. 

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