Where to sit and where to watch the action at Albert Park – all the information you will need to choose a ticket for the 2014 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne. The lowdown on the best general admission viewing areas and a full list of grandstands with videos.
2013 circuit map above © GrandPrix.com.au. To download, click here. All ticket prices are based on the cash price for tickets purchased and collected from the Australian Grand Prix Corporation office. Tickets purchase via other means will be subject to additional charges such as transaction, delivery and credit card fees (which can add around 5% to the headline price). Prices are for illustration purposes only and are subject to change. You can buy tickets for the 2014 Australian F1 Grand Prix here
$149 AUD for 4-day ticket
General admission tickets, which provide access to the circuit but not a reserved seat, are a great option for the fan on a budget. Holders of general admission tickets need to be ready to cover a lot of ground on foot over the weekend and also need to take their chances with the elements – hot sun and rain are both distinct possibilities in Melbourne! If you want to be comfortable, considering bringing along a fold-up chair, your legs will thank you for it at the end of each day.
The cost of a 4-day general admission ticket purchased before 1st March 2014 is $149 AUD. General admission tickets can also be bought for individual days, with prices rising from $55 AUD on Thursday to $79 AUD on Sunday. The combined price of the Saturday and Sunday single day tickets is the same price as the 4-day general admission ticket.
General admission entry on Thursday, when there is no F1 action on track, is FREE.
Australia has a deserved reputation for offering some of the best general admission viewing areas of any race on the current calendar. Getting around the track is relatively easy, and over the years, new general admission features have been added to provide a better spectator experience for fans, including grassy viewing mounds and raised concrete viewing platforms. Away from the viewing mounds, it is possible to get very close to the cars at several points around the track, but views are obscured by the catch fencing so keep this in mind if you like taking photos of the cars in action.
The best general admission vantage points get very busy on Saturday and Sunday, particularly ahead of qualifying and the race, so if you are determined to watch the action from a particular spot, you will need to get there early. If you only have a day, consider going on Friday. There are two F1 practice sessions and the circuit is considerably less crowded than on the weekend.
Large viewing screens designed for Grandstand ticket holders can be viewed by general admission fans at various parts of the circuit, including near turns 2, 9, 11 and 12.
BEST GENERAL ADMISSION VIEWING AREAS AT ALBERT PARK
Grassy viewing mound, inside of track after Turn 2
A good spot to watch the cars taking turns 1 & 2 and then accelerating a full speed down to turn 3. This area is particularly good for watching the start of the race, though as you can see in the video below, it does get very crowded. Good access to food and drinks stalls here and large video screens are visible. If you want to watch the post race celebrations on the pit straight, then it is possible to easily cross to the outside of the track from this area and then get on to the track after the race has finished, with a short run to the podium area.
Turn 3 – inside and outside of track
Although a little cramped and without elevation, turn 3 is a slow speed corner which allows fans to get very close to the cars. There are a few spots with gaps in the safety fencing providing opportunities for amateur photographers. There are trees in this area providing cover should the weather be hot and sunny. See below for a video taken on the outside of the track at Turn 3.
Turn 5 – inside and outside of track
The outside of Turn 5 is a great spot for general admission viewing, but the Northern aspect means you will be in the sun all day. There is no large viewing screen in this spot. See video below taken on the outside of turn 5.
The inside of Turn 5 is also a good spot for viewing the cars taking the high speed corner and there is a gap in the catch fencing for amateur photographers to try their luck. This area was closed in 2013 due to building works on the nearby sports stadium, but should be open again in 2014.
Turns 6 & 7
Just before the braking zone for Turn 6 is a great place to watch the cars in action. You can get very close to the cars on the inside of Turn 6 and then see them across the lake as far as Turns 9 and 10. This area doesn’t get so congested, even for the race, so a good option if you want to escape the crowds, but it is a long walk from the other parts of the track. There is no large viewing screen for General Admission fans in this area. See below video for view of outside of turn 6.
Turns 9 & 10
Adjacent to the Clark Grandstand, this is a great spot to watch the cars approaching turn 9 and 10, where there is always lots of action in all racing categories over the weekend. You can also see the video screen for the Clark Grandstand and there are food and drink options close by. The video below from the outside of the track shows F1 cars exiting turn 10.
Turns 11 & 12 – Brocky’s Hill
Named after the legendary Australian touring car driver, Peter Brock, who died in 2006, this large viewing mound on the outside of the track provides a great opportunity to see the cars coming down the back straight and going into the high speed turns 11 & 12. This area is directly beside the Waite grandstand. A viewing screen is visible and there are food and drink stands close by, as well as the Kids Area, making a good option for families with children. There is little cover in this area, so check the weather and be prepared. Beware that this area is hugely popular amongst General Admission fans, so expect big crowds on the weekend. See below video taken of the view from Brocky’s Hill.
There are two ‘premium zones’ within general admission, the ‘social hub’ near turn 15 and the ‘relaxed environment’ at turn 5. Tickets (either general admission or grandstand) can be bought with access to the premium zone for an additional amount or access can also be bought on the day. As we go to press, the cost of premium zone access has not yet been announced but expect to pay around $30 AUD extra per day.
Australia has a good selection of grandstands, though unlike some circuits, viewing is generally only limited to one or at most two corners and there are no seats which afford panoramic views over large parts of the circuit. The cost of grandstand seats in Melbourne is relatively expensive in comparison to other circuits around the world.
All grandstands have large viewing screens opposite so fans don’t miss any of the on-track action. Some stands have a ‘premium’ section at the top which is covered, offering protection from the elements and better views – see example in picture opposite.
We recommend purchasing your grandstand ticket as early as possible, particularly if you want to get a good seat. Tickets are cheaper the earlier they are bought and fans who purchase early enough are entitled to GP Advantage Membership (more details below).
Insider tip – Grandstands. The grandstands in Australia are not raised high off the ground, so fans with seats on the lower sections can have their view obscured by the safety fencing – we recommend choosing seats as high as possible in your chosen stand, particularly if you want to get good photos without the safety fencing obscuring the cars on track. Another tip is to go for an aisle seat if possible when sitting in a grandstand, thus making it easy to come and go and not disturb other fans. If you don’t want a sore rear-end, consider bringing along a cushion to sit on. Hard plastic seats can be painful after a long day!
GP ADVANTAGE MEMBERSHIP
If you buy your 4-day grandstand ticket early enough, then you are entitled to become a GP Advantage Member. To get Gold membership, you need to have bought your ticket no later than around 8 months before the race (for the 2014 race, this date was 31st July 2013).
If you buy your ticket no later than around 3 months before the race, then you are entitled to Silver membership (the cut-off date for the 2014 race is 31st December 2013).Membership is only good for one year – to qualify again, you need to buy your early bird tickets for the next race.
Here are the main benefits of GP Advantage membership:
- Behind the Scenes day. On the opening Thursday of the weekend, members get a special pitlane walk, free breakfast and a look at the Paddock Club viewing deck, as well as live entertainment.
- Main Straight Walk. On the morning of the race, members get a chance to walk down the main straight and get a ‘pole position’ photo.
- Access to a special section of the GP Advantage Bar, which is located opposite the pits between the Fangio and Webber grandstands. (Gold members get the upper section, Silver Members the lower section)
- Collectible ticket, lanyard and souvenir. (Gold members also get a free race program.)
FULL LIST OF GRANDSTANDS IN MELBOURNE
WEBBER GRANDSTAND ($320 AUD)
Located at the start of the main straight, between the last corner and opposite the pits area of the V8 supercars. The Webber grandstand offers a view of the final corner and start of the pit straight, but without F1 pit views or the F1 grid and start. Behind the stand are many food and drink options. Closest track entry – Gate 1. See below for a video of the view from the Webber stand.
PROST GRANDSTAND ($430 AUD, premium $540 AUD)
Adjacent to the Schumacher grandstand, but higher priced due to the better view of both turns 15 and 16, the pit entry and a view of the cars going down the main straight. The higher priced premium seats are at the top of the grandstand and are covered. Closest track entry – Gate 10. See below for a video of the view from the Prost stand.
WAITE GRANDSTAND ($320 AUD)
The popular Waite grandstand, located on the East side of the Albert Lake next to turn 12 also offers a great view of high-speed turns 11 & 12. There are often thrills and spills at these corners. The Kids Area and food and entertainment options are close by. Closest track entry – Gate 8. See below for a video of the view from the Waite stand
CLARK GRANDSTAND ($320 AUD)
Also on the Eastern side of the lake, the Clark Grandstand offers views of turn 9 and turn 10. Expect good on-track action, particularly in V8 supercars. Closest track entry – Gate 5 or 8. See below for a video of the view from the Clark stand
FANGIO GRANDSTAND ($430 AUD, premium $540 AUD)
The Fangio grandstand is located on the start/finish straight opposite the F1 pits. Despite offering little chance of on-track thrills, Fangio is a great option for being at the heart of the action throughout the weekend, and of course offers a ring side seat for the build up and start of the race, as well as the finish and podium celebrations. Directly behind the Fangio grandstand is Legends Lane with lots of food, drink, merchandise stands and exhibitions. The higher priced premium seats are at the top of the grandstand and are covered. Closest track entry – Gate 1. See below for a video of the view from the Fangio stand.
JONES GRANDSTAND ($525 AUD)
The Jones stand is situated on the outside of the track at the end of the pit straight and offers views of the pit straight and first corner, a great place to watch the start of the race and lots of passing maneuvers. Best views in Jones are from seats higher in the stand. A downside to Jones is that it faces the sun for most of the day. Closest track entry – Gate 1. See below for a video of the view from the Jones stand.
PIQUET PREMIUM GRANDSTAND ($565 AUD)
Situated on turn 3 with a great view of the cars approaching this low-speed corner and also a view of turn 4. The all premium Piquet stand is covered, offering shade on a sunny day and protection from rain. The stand has its own dedicated bars and catering facilities located directly behind the stand. Closest track entry – Gate 3. See below for a video of the view from the Piquet Premium stand.
WORLD CHAMPION GRANDSTAND ($565 AUD)
One of only two grandstands located on the inside of the track (the other being Brabham), the World Champion Grandstand is located on turn 4 and offers views of turns 3-5. The stand is all covered and has its own dedicated catering and bar facilities. The stand will be renamed after the 2013 World Champion when the season finishes. Closest track entry – Gate 3 or 4. See below for a video of the view from the World Champion stand.
BRABHAM GRANDSTAND ($525 AUD)
Offering similar views to the Jones stand (turns 1 & 2), but located on the inside of the track thus also offering a view of the cars going down to turn 3. Unlike Jones, Brabham has the sun behind it for most of the day, a definite positive. Best views on offer are from the higher rows and on the right side of the stand where there is a better view of the cars exiting turn 2 and heading for turn 3. Closest track entry – Gate 1. See below for a video of the view from the Jones stand.
4 CORNER GRANDSTAND PACKAGE
This package provides the spectator with the opportunity to sit in four different grandstands over the course of the weekend. This option is particularly suited to the first time fan who is not familiar with the track and wants some variety in their weekend’s viewing experience. The four packages are named after the stand in which the fan will sit on Sunday for the race.
- Brabham Package ($490) Thursday – Clark, Friday – Jones, Saturday – Fangio, Sunday – Brabham
- Fangio Package ($470) Thursday – Jones, Friday – Clark, Saturday – Brabham, Sunday – Fangio
- Jones Package ($470) Thursday – Fangio, Friday – Brabham, Saturday – Clark, Sunday – Jones
- Clark ($410) Thursday – Brabham, Friday – Fangio , Saturday–Jones, Sunday-Clark
PADDOCK CLUB / CORPORATE SUITES
The majority of paddock club tickets are purchased by corporates for their employees and guests. If you are not lucky enough to get an invite, it is possible to purchase paddock club access, A weekend paddock club ticket for Australia costs $4290 AUD, which includes food and drink. Paddock club members also get the opportunity of a pitlane walk and a chance to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers of F1. More details and tickets are here