Monday in Melbourne and things are starting to bustle at Albert Park. BILL GIBSON of Gibson Freight, long-time purveyor and conveyor of Formula One cars and equipment in and out of the Australian circuit, has been working overtime to make ready for the Silver Anniversary of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. All day F1 crates were being fork lifted from there to there.
The head of pit lane, with five bays for the Ferrari team, had made the most progress. As one meandered down the way, there were varying degrees of equipment arrival. McLaren and Renault were the only two other teams with five bays. As the pecking order went according to last year’s points systems, BMW, Toyota, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull had four each – with BMW between McLaren and Renault’s five bays. Williams, Force India and the new Brawn GP teams all had three bays. Parc Ferme had the next three, and Scrutineering was in the last two.
A few cars were unloaded but not yet unpacked. They were inside a metal box with a tarp on, so only the wheels showed.
The car designated for GIANCARLO FISICHELLA/Force India was wheeled, container covering and all, into his garage. The slick tires had another rubber belt around the center like a protective railing on which the car could roll.
In talking with crew members, the feedback was all positive about Formula One going back to slick tires.
As of this date, it appears only four teams will be utilizing the new KERS-Kinetic Energy Recovery System: BMW, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault. The Australian F1 sanctioning body, CAMS – the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports – has a “CAMS Safety 1st Strategy” focusing on ways to make motor sports safer for all participants. Among the many things being done this weekend is to suitably outfit half of the nearly thousand volunteer race marshals with equipment designed to protect them from electrocution when responding to a F1 car with KERS. This means 480 sets of special gloves, boots and a pole. Mainly included in the recipients are the medical personnel, fire and emergency crews, and the trackside marshals. They will receive their outfittings Friday morning at muster. More on this later.
RON WALKER, Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said the Australian community has rallied to support those who suffered losses during the recent horrific bush fires. More than $130 million has been raised, and more is being done. AGPC is hosting 5000 fire fighters for the race, in their own grandstand overlooking Pit Straight. Various appeals will be evident throughout the race weekend including one started by the CAMS race marshals, some of whom were directly affected. Walker said F1 drivers are visiting the devastated bush area Tuesday to meet some of the victims. 2008 F1 champion, LEWIS HAMILTON/McLaren, will be visiting burn patients at Alfred Hospital.
Downtown Melbourne will have some CBD streets blocked off Tuesday morning for a Ferrari show and tell exhibition.
It had rained overnight Sunday, but Monday’s weather was sunny most of the time with a crisp breeze.