AGP 2011 race posterThe poster for the 2011 Australian Grand Prix Formula One race in Melbourne at Albert Park shows the Red Bull race car of Aussie F1 driver, Mark Weber, with the words  “A Hero Returns Home” and “Action for All.”

So far, I’ve only seen a couple of posters in town, on the door of the CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sports) race marshals Credential Office at the track, and one at Southern Cross Railway Station. The large poster at Southern Cross is the only one I’ve seen so far which also has a V8 theme. I saw it in passing, so am unclear on the details. And there are a few flag banners here and there with the F1 poster depiction.

Speaking of the V8 Supercar Series, this is the mega favorite race series in Australia, and is becoming more popular in the United States, with its occasional TV coverage.

The V8’s have a new Albert Park Pit Lane. There are now two Pit In roads, one for F1 and one for the V8’s (and the other support categories at AGP.) The new lane is flanked by a row of V8 garages, with corporate suites above.
New V8 Pit Lane
The installation of this two-story (temporary) pit lane/garage/paddock created a domino effect starting with the Medical Center compound, which was behind Pit In. The V8 paddock and transporters fill in all that space and then some. The Medical Center building was moved intact to the other end of the road leading to the road going out at Turn 15. The Medical Center compound is smaller this year as there will be no helicopter. 

The new FI medical plan calls for any drivers in need of transporting to go directly via ambulance to The Alfred, the designated F1 hospital near the circuit, using a special route under police direction.

KERS is back this year, after last year’s ban. This time more cars will be participating. The affected race marshals and Medical Teams will have special additional protection including large, cumbersome gloves. Think of the Hamburger Helper hand in the US TV commercials.

There still has not been any resolution to the naming rights dispute going on between Group Lotus and the Lotus Renault F1 team. It’s currently being heard in a London court. Meanwhile, back at the AGP Formula One garage/paddock area, both teams have set up with their respective team graphics.
Lotus TeamLotus Renault F1

Weather is on everyone’s mind this week. Except for BERNIE ECCLESTONE, F1 Supremo, who wants F1 races to use artificial rain via sprinklers, others are hoping that the weather forecasters are wrong – as they were Tuesday. The weather report at my hotel said there was a 50 percent change of showers Tuesday. There was about five minutes of very few droplets around 6 pm at the track and that was it. The cloud cover was gloomy most of the day, but it was not cold. The weather at the track was different than the CBD a few miles away. There was sufficient blue skies at dusk for there to be a pale imitation of a muted gold and gray sunset. 

The weather forecasts get increasingly dismal as the week progresses. Sunday’s race starts at 5 pm and there is no track lighting per se. At least the drivers probably won’t have to complain about the sun be ing in their eyes, or tree shadows  going down the front straight to Turn Three.

Speaking of Bernie, he won’t be at AGP – again. This weekend he’s reportedly meeting with New York City Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG regarding a race in New York.This isn’t the first time Ecclestone hasn’t turned up in Australia for the first race of the season.

AGP is always a four-day event, crammed with V8’s and four other support series – Porsche Carrera Cup Championship, Formula 5000 Tasman Cup Revival, Shannons Historic Demonstration, and Lexus Celebrity Challenge. And that doesn’t include the other on track exhibitions, including the Red Bull Race Off and the Ultimate Speed Comparison. Thursday is all local Australian series, no F1.

Formula One has three days – Friday with two ninety-minute practice sessions, Saturday – one hour each for practice and qualifying, and Sunday – a 20-minute F1 driver’s parade at 3:30 pm local time, and the two-hour race starting at 5 pm. No Warm Up.