AGP Start-Finish

It’s Thursday at Albert Park in Melbourne for the first of four days of flat-out racing. First and foremost, starting Friday, will be the 2014 season’s opener Formula One race, with the new cars, rules, and Rookies. Also on the weekend schedule, starting Thursday, are the wildly-popular MSS Security V8 Supercars, as well as Porsche Carrera Cup, Mazda Celebrity Challenge, The Ultimate Speed Challenge, Shannon’s Historic Demonstrations, and Targa Tarmac Rally Car Demonstrations. And that was just on the track. Elsewhere there were all kinds of activities including multiple Pit Lane Walks, Formula One Pit Stop Practices, the Women in Motorsports luncheon, the launch of the new Australian Formula Four car/series, Porsche’s huge car exhibit front and center near Pit Lane, and lots of people everywhere including many school children. Thursday was a free day for the public.

Everyone and everything was testing, practicing, rehearsing and getting set up. Already the F1 Podium was installed and being tested with audio and visual, F1 teams were practicing their precision, split-second Pit Stop strategies, and selfies were being taken everywhere.

Williams Martini livery



McLaren Sculpture
McLaren Sculpture. Photo by Michael Shaw

McLaren Pit Box

McLaren Engineer

F1 Podium

had a busy two days, interviewing F1 Race Director, CHARLIE WHITING; F1 Race Control Observer and head of the FIA Volunteer Officials & Marshals Commission, HERBIE BLASH; and countless race officials, marshals and drivers. I got to observe many aspects of the race operations including Race Control, Pit Lane, and marshal stations. I saw more than a few famous drivers and spent most of that time gawking instead of photographing; and was able to see first-hand how much it takes to put on an event of this magnitude. And then I got to write about it for the CAMS Gazette, aka AGP Officials Newsletter. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Because of my staring instead of shooting, these driver photos are courtesy of Michael Shaw.


Sebastian Vettel

Jean-Eric Vergne

Jason Bright

Craig Lowndes

I savored the sound of the Swisse two-seater Formula One car, giving customer rides, and listening to the changing gears. Won’t be hearing that sound much this year, except for the two-seater runs at each Grand Prix. The new F1 car turbo sounds spit like a turbo. Not quite the same.

Swisse F1 car

Pit Lane barrier

Morning Marshals Muster

The 3.295-mile/5.303km Albert Park circuit hasn’t changed from last year, save replacing the Turn 12 kerb. Some photographers say that there are fewer photography holes around the track. FIA F1 security has tightened considerably, and I swear it would be easier to break into Fort Knox than to get into the F1 Pit/Paddock area.

Pirelli has brought two new slightly harder compound tires, white mediums and yellow softs. Albert Park is considered a ‘hard and fast’ circuit. Brembo Brakes advises there are nine braking areas, all of which are considered to be medium-high difficulty level. Brembo estimates the drivers will spend 15 percent of each lap under braking. As Albert Park is an urban multi-use parklands and sports complex, the AGP circuit is a temporary, street course, and as such, it takes a while for the rubber to meet the road, so to speak. And if it rains as predicted on Sunday, the race track will be green. Melbourne hasn’t had any real rain for two months, except for the Wednesday rain during MARK WEBBER’s Fun Run. Last year it bucketed on Saturday, raining out F1 qualifying, which had to be held Sunday morning.

As this is Melbourne, after all, the weather often changes during a single day. So stay tuned. In the meantime, the weather cleared up after Wednesday’s shower, and Thursday was beautiful at the track. Definitely sunblock weather, with just enough clouds at dusk to make for a beautiful sunset.

Albert Park Sunset

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