Trackside – 2018 Australian Grand Prix

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Get the most out of your trackside experience at Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix. The next race is on March 22-25, 2018.


Eight gates provide access to the track for fans throughout the weekend. All gates are free to enter for all ticket holders with the exception of Gate 1, where you need a grandstand ticket to enter. Confusingly, gates are numbered 1 to 5 and 8 to 10 (there are no gates 6 and 7) – see map below. Most gates are located close to public transport and the majority of trams heading to the circuit on race weekend are free.

You are not allowed to bring alcohol into the circuit. Glass bottles and containers are also prohibited and your bag will be searched. Non-alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles can only be brought into the circuit if they are unopened. General Admission ticket holders are also allowed to bring folding chairs and stools into the circuit. Don’t be in a hurry to leave the circuit at the end of each day, particularly on Saturday and Sunday, as there can be big queues to leave via popular gates, as well as heavily congested public transport. Read Getting There & Around for more information on how to get to the circuit.


Thursday, March 22

  • 10:00-20:00 Gates open
  • 10:30-10:55: Ferrari Challenge practice 1
  • 11:00-11:40: Formula SAE demo & guest laps
  • 11:50-12:10: Australian GT qualifying 1
  • 12:20-12:40: Porsche Carrera Cup practice
  • 12:50-13:20: Supercars practice 1
  • 13:30-13:55: Ferrari Challenge practice 2
  • 14:05-14:20: Ultimate Speed Comparison practice
  • 14:25-14:40: Air Display TBC
  • 14:40-15:10: Supercars practice 2
  • 15:20-15:40: Australian GT qualifying pt 2
  • 15:50-16:10: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying
  • 16:20-16:50: Supercars qualifying 1 & 2
  • 17:00-17:25: Ferrari Challenge practice 3
  • 17:35-17:50: Ultimate Speed Comparison #1
  • 18:00-18:25: Australian GT race 1 (11 laps)
  • 18:40-19:05: Porsche Carrera Cup race 1 (10 laps)

Friday, March 23

  • 09:00-20:00: Gates open
  • 09:25-10:00: Ferrari Challenge qualifying 1 & 2
  • 10:15-10:30: Track Activity TBA
  • 10:45-11:10: Australian GT race 2 (10 laps)
  • 11:30-11:45: Air Display TBA
  • 12:00-13:30: Formula 1 Free Practice 1 (FP1)
  • 13:50-14:20: Supercars qualifying 3 & 4
  • 14:30-14:45: Ultimate Speed Comparison #2
  • 14:55-15:20: Porsche Carrera Cup race 2 (10 laps)
  • 15:30-15:40: Air display TBA
  • 16:00-17:30: Formula 1 Free Practice 2 (FP2)
  • 17:50-18:50: Supercars race 1 (25 laps)

Saturday, March 24

  • 10:15-20:00: Gates open
  • 10:45-11:10: Ferrari Challenge race 1 (10 laps)
  • 11:25-11:50: Ferrari parade
  • 12:00-12:25: Australian GT race 3 (11 laps)
  • 12:40-13:10: Supercars race 2 (13 laps)
  • 13:20-13:35: Air display TBA
  • 14:00-15:00: Formula 1 Free Practice 3 (FP3)
  • 15:20-15:45: Porsche Carrera Cup race 3 (10 laps)
  • 16:00-16:20: Ultimate Speed Comparison #3
  • 16:30-16:40: Air display TBA
  • 17:00-18:00: Formula 1 Qualifying
  • 18:20-19:20: Supercars race 3 (25 laps)

Sunday, March 25

  • 10:00-20:00: Gates open
  • 10:20-10:35: Historic parade
  • 10:50-11:15: Ferrari Challenge race 2 (10 laps)
  • 11:30-11:45: Ultimate Speed Comparison #4
  • 12:00-12:25: Australian GT race 4 (11 laps)
  • 12:30-12:45: Promoter Activity
  • 12:50-13:00: Mark Webber Porsche Guest Laps
  • 13:05-13:30: Porsche Carrera Cup race 4 (10 laps)
  • 13:45-14:15: Supercars race 4 (13 laps)
  • 14:35: F1 driver’s photograph on starting grid
  • 14:40-14:50: F1 driver’s track parade
  • 14:45-15:00: Air display TBA
  • 15:20-15:30: Air display TBA
  • 15:56-15:58: National anthem
  • 16:10-18:10: Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix (58 laps or 120 minutes)
Click to download a large version of the Albert Park circuit map


There is no on-track Formula 1 action on Thursday. The F1 cars hit the track for the first practice session (FP1) at midday on Friday. Since 2009, the Melbourne event has run on a ‘twilight schedule’ to allow more fans around the world (particularly in Europe) the opportunity to watch the action at a more suitable time. The race also starts 10 minutes later in 2018 at 16:10.


  • The main non-F1 draw on track in Australia are the Australian Supercars, a hugely popular local touring car series.  The ‘tin top’ racing is super competitive and many local fans are just as interested in the V8 Supercars as Formula 1. This year, there will be four races over the course of the weekend, plus practice and qualifying sessions. Two longer 25-lap races take place on Friday and Saturday evening and two shorter 13-lap races are held around lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Also in action will be the one-make Porsche Carrera Cup Australia in which 24 identical 911 GT3 Cup cars will stage four 10-lap races over the weekend o
  • After returning in 2016, the Australian GT Championship is back on the support schedule for the 2018 Australian GP. Up to 30 GT3 and GT4 cars from Lamborghini, Ferrari, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche and MClaren make up the field, which will race four times over the weekend.
  • Finally, the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific is also in action at Albert Park this year. A capacity field of 488 Challenge race cars will be in action with 2 races on Saturday and Sunday morning respectively.
  • Other highlights of the biggest on-track schedule ever at the Australian Grand Prix include the Ultimate Speed Comparison (several times over the weekend), Ferrari Parade (Saturday morning) and Historic Parade (Sunday morning). As always, the F1 drivers gather for a season-opening photograph and parade around the track on Sunday afternoon before the race.

Heineken Saturday

Head to the Heineken Village behind the Brabham grandstand for special concerts over the course of the weekend, including a special DJ set on Saturday from and Taboo of global supergroup the Black Eyed Peas. Other artists will also be performing, details to be announced in the coming weeks. You can also watch the action on the big screens, drink Heineken (of course) and buy food in this area.


There are always plenty of activities in Australia to keep you busy when the F1 cars are not on the track. Aside from the support racing categories already mentioned, here is a selection of other trackside action to expect at Albert Park:

  • Aerial displays – at various times throughout the weekend, the action is in the air as the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) roulettes do their thing in the skies above the circuit. The RAAF F/A18 jet also makes several very loud passes over the circuit during the weekend.
  • Action Zone – in a special infield area, Nitro Circus Live puts on a series of events across the weekend showcasing extreme sports including freestyle motocross, skateboarding, BMX and more.
  • Legends Lane / F1 Central – these zones feature a range of food and drink options, merchandising and displays of current and historic cars.
  • Autograph Stage – huge crowds gather here on the opening Thursday of the event when the F1 drivers appear to sign autographs. On the following days, fans can get autographs of the V8 drivers, celebrity race drivers and motorsport legends.
Getting autographs
If you are keen on meeting the drivers in person, the Autograph stage on Thursday when the F1 drivers appear is not actually the best place as the crowds are huge. A better place to go is the so-called “Melbourne Walk”, near the entrance to the Pits and Paddock Club, where the drivers enter and exit the circuit and park their cars if driving. The best day is Friday as there are less fans. Be aware that you will need a grandstand ticket to access this area; it is off-limits for general admission ticket holders. Another option is to stake out the entrance to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the preferred hotel for the F1 teams. Get VIP access to the Melbourne walk with F1 Experiences packages.


Despite being a temporary F1 circuit, the quality of the facilities at Albert Park is very good. There are ample food and drink areas dotted around the circuit, and large numbers of toilets (mostly temporary, but some year-round) so queues are short at most times over the weekend, though race day is busy everywhere. As seems to be common at most F1 venues around the world, food and drink are expensive by international standards and the quality of the food on offer is generally low. Options include hamburgers, fish and chips and pizzas; most meals cost around $10-15 AUD. Alcohol is freely available around the circuit. A can of beer will set you back around $8 while soft drinks are $6. Free drinking water is available at various locations around the track, so keep your empty plastic bottles at the ready.

Been to the Australian Grand Prix? Leave a comment below with your tips!

February 6, 2018

Trackside – 2018 Australian Grand Prix

Useful information to help you get the most out of your trackside experience at Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

January 24, 2018

Experience F1 at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix

Learn more about exclusive tickets packages from F1 Experiences for the 2018 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 22-25.

January 11, 2018

Budget Planner – 2018 Australian Grand Prix

How much will a weekend at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne set you back? Read our budget planner to find out!

January 4, 2018

Off-Track Activites – Australian Grand Prix

The best off-track activities in Melbourne on Australian Grand Prix weekend. What to see and where to eat, drink, shop and go out.

January 2, 2018

Travel Basics – Australian Grand Prix

Useful travel information to help you start planning your trip to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

January 2, 2018

Race Facts – Australian Grand Prix

Background information and history of the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne

December 13, 2017

Getting There & Around – Australian Grand Prix

Advice on getting to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix & getting around in the city during race weekend, including the best ways to get to the Albert Park street circuit.

November 15, 2017

Tickets – 2018 Australian Grand Prix

Your guide to buying tickets for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. Advice on General Admission, Grandstands and VIP tickets.

November 2, 2017

Accommodation – 2018 Australian Grand Prix

From budget to luxury, we’ve chosen the best F1-friendly accommodation in Melbourne with easy access to Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix

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Comments (5)

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  1. jimit says:

    how can we reach the AUS GP circuit at 9 A.M, as it is mentioned that the gates open at 10.30 A.M. for the drivers autographs.

    • Editor says:

      You make a good point! I updated the text – you won’t have much time with gates opening at 10.30am to get autographs in the morning around the entrance to Paddock Club. The alternative is to try and catch them as they enter the circuit at this gate in their cars (that is, you get there earlier and stay outside the circuit near the entrance to Gate 1). Otherwise, you can try and catch them as they leave the circuit at the end of each day. We will update this guide for the 2015 race in the coming months. Enjoy the race!

  2. Julie-Anne says:

    No hydration stations for the public on the outside – ( on drivers left side) of the track between gates 2 and 8. So many patrons were asking today.

  3. AK57 says:

    Hi. is it possible to walk on the track with every ticket? and what time is it possible? and is it absolutely necessary to have a paddock club ticket to do a pit lane walk? in your opinion whats the best/ affordable circuit to do a pit lane walk?

    thank you very much

    • Editor says:

      You can do track walk and podium after the race with any ticket, but I recommend getting closer to the main straight near the end of the race. On Thursday several pitlane walks are held, but you need to have bought your tickets before November 30 and have GP Advantage to take part. I recommend buying the Starter package from F1 Experiences and you get an exclusive pitlane walk on Thursday, plus some other benefits.

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