Insider tips and tricks to maximize your F1 experience at the Australian Grand Prix. And because the 2023 season is kicking off, we'll share bonus rapid fire ideas to get the most out of the Bahrain GP.
Insider tips and tricks to maximize your F1 experience at the Australian Grand Prix. And because the 2023 season is kicking off, we'll share bonus rapid fire ideas to get the most out of the Bahrain GP.
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AdamR46: Founder of Grand Prix Travel, the #1 community on Reddit and FanAmp for Formula 1 fans enjoying races around the world
F1Destinations: The guru for Grand Prix travel guides, tickets, and tips with over a decade of industry expertise
kallmemaybe: Founder of FanAmp, the app connecting Formula 1 fans to the communities, live conversations, news, and more that maximize their F1 experiences
🟠Reach out on FanAmp
MichaelPottsF1: FIA-accredited photographer showing fans the worlds of Formula 1, MotoGP, Tour de France, and more
misskarne: Albert Park aficionado and long-time Formula 1 fan dishing out the hidden gems for solo and group travel
[00:00:00] AdamR46: Hey guys, thanks for joining. This is AdamR46. I am the founder and moderator of R/GrandPrixTravel. This is the first episode of Know Before You Go, something new we're trying to kind of get some audience interaction and put some faces to names and just get an overall more involvement in the community. Share some info and some live tips on how to travel to a Grand Prix, what to expect. Just kind of some things that we wanna share and try to make everyone's experience better, because sometimes this information can be pretty hard to find, and there's a few resources out there that can be really useful.
And sharing peer to peer information, I think is probably the best way to do it. We're joined by a few great people that have a really good resource of information. We've got Andrew with F1Destinations. We've got Michael Potts, he's an F1 photographer who's actually in Bahrain shooting the testing this week. And then we've got misskarne, who's Australia based, who has some really good insight to attending the Melbourne race. And I've also got Greg from FanAmp, who's really done a tremendous amount of work to try to get this put together. I just wanna thank all you guys for taking the time to really help contribute, get this thing going.
Also from FanAmp, we've got the live chat going in the app. Sofeel free to join in and ask some questions, chime in. A lot of this stuff isjust sharing some good resources, some information. So yeah, it's good to getstarted. Michael, what's Bahrain like? What’ve you got going on out there?
[00:01:46] MichaelPottsF1: It’s been pretty hot. Testing has been probably uneventful compared to previous testings. Most of the teams did a lot of laps. McLaren had some issues, but generally everyone looked pretty good. Max and Red Bull look phenomenally good though.
[00:02:06] AdamR46: What about Ferrari?
[00:02:08] MichaelPottsF1: Ferrari, it sounds like they've got some issues with their long pace, their tires [degrade] a bit too much. On the first day I saw them going off the track a few times. Charles was very squirrely trying to overtake somebody and Carlos was just off [laughs] the track completely. So it looks like there might be some stability issues there, but yeah, I think it'll be Ferrari… so Red Bull Ferrari. And then one of Mercedes or Aston Martin.
[00:02:46] kallmemaybe: Yeah, you were saying that Aston Martin team, it seems like there was a lot of big improvement and it was real, like being on the ground, you could feel it.
[00:02:53] MichaelPottsF1: Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of hype, but I think I'm kind of on Aston Martin band train at the moment. I think they could surprise a few this year.
[00:03:02] kallmemaybe: Was there any word for Stroll coming back ahead of the race this weekend?
[00:03:07] MichaelPottsF1: They keep saying that they're aiming to get him back, that's their goal, but the injuries sounds too extensive for him to come back. I wouldn't have even thought he'd be back for Saudi. I think he might be back in Australia at best.
[00:03:22] AdamR46: Yeah, I'm hearing it's broken wrists, which that's pretty gnarly.
[00:03:26] MichaelPottsF1: Yeah, and you don't wanna do Saudi with broken wrists you need those. So Felipe Drugovich was the standard. He looks like he's gonna be the go-to guy, so no Vettel unfortunately. But he looked really good. He ran in the F2 Championship. Yeah.
[00:03:48] AdamR46: Andrew, what's your experience with Bahrain? What have you got to share? Some people that are tuning in, they are going out there next week?
[00:03:54] F1Destinations: I've only been to the Bahrain Grand Prix once, last year. I really enjoyed it. I went to a few races last year where the attendance was much lower than at other races, Bahrain being one of them. I think they had a record crowd on race day last year, that was 35,000 compared to what looking at 150,000 or more at some of the bigger races. It's just a really different, more relaxed experience when you don't have so many fans at the track. Maybe the atmosphere is lacking, but it’s just, it's more enjoyable. It was a well-organized race. I really enjoyed Bahrain.
Don't forget that the first few races of last year were still very much Covid races. So I was working, but I didn't have access to the paddock yet. But one thing that I did discover last year, and it's something to do with the Paddock Club. Basically, they offered people the chance to go to something called the Oasis, and it's a section of the track, I should have checked what corners. But it's on the other side of the track from the Beyon grandstand, which is the infield grandstand. So it's in the infield, and they had a big tent set up offering tea. And there was no one there, and you could basically like get really, really close to the track.
Even better, to get there you had to drive on the internal roads probably past all the photographers and everything, and it was just a really cool experience. So if anyone is lucky enough to have Paddock Club access at this year's Bahrain Grand Prix, and you hear about the Oasis or being offered the chance to go there, I really recommend it.
[00:05:48] kallmemaybe: Do they get, just given the size of these races, is there better exposure to a lot of the behind the scenes? I know the Melbourne Walk is gonna be one of the things we talk about, but is there more of that because there's just far fewer people that are there?
w[00:06:03] F1Destinations: I think so. The race, I've really noticed that last year was Baku, Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Again, another really quite low attended, I'm not sure if they even published the attendance. But one thing I noticed was the drivers were super relaxed and calm and walking around outside the paddock. I was working at the race, but we were doing an event on Friday night and Charles Leclerc just wandered up and said, “How do I get to the…” I can't remember the name of the hotel, the JW Marriott? I said, “Just walk across there and go that way.” So plenty of drivers around and they weren't being hassled. They weren't being, it's not like Silverstone or the US Grand Prix. So that was quite cool, I thought.
[00:06:51] AdamR46: Yeah, I kind of glossed over it, but Andrew, give us a quick intro on what you do for F1 destinations and what you do for F1.
[00:07:00] F1Destinations: Okay. Well, I started my website 10 years ago just as a fan that had been watching for many years. I'm from Adelaide, which obviously had a race for 11 years, from ‘85 to ‘95, which I went every year. But I started my website when I was unemployed for a few months, 10 years ago, and it was just a hobby. Five years ago, I was given the opportunity to start working with F1 Experiences in their marketing team which I did for the last five years. I finished that contract at the end of last year, but I'm still working with F1 Experiences at races. So I think I'm gonna do about seven this year. Maybe more, we'll see.
[00:07:47] kallmemaybe: That's a lot. A lot of travel.
[00:07:49] F1Destinations: Yeah. I think Adam went toseven races last year. And you paid for it all yourself, which is… expensive.
[00:07:59] AdamR46: Yeah. Very good at making a lot offinancially irresponsible decisions, and very good at spending money.
[00:08:06] kallmemaybe: You've got…
[00:08:10] AdamR46: Yeah. But Michael's the one who went…how many races did you go to last year, Michael?
[00:08:14] MichaelPottsF1: I think it was 17 in the end.
[00:08:15] kallmemaybe: [laughs].
[00:08:18] AdamR46: That sounds a bit rough. So Michael, tell us what you do for F1. I mentioned you're a photographer, but give us a little bit of a quick intro.
[00:08:26] MichaelPottsF1: I mainly work for a Dutch publication called RacingNews365, but I do a lot of contract work as well. So working as a freelance photographer and going to as many races I can. The more races the better for me. So, yeah.
[00:08:44] AdamR46: You've also got your YouTube channel, right?
[00:08:47] MichaelPottsF1: Also a YouTube channel, MichaelPottsF1. I kind of look at pre and post-race. I look at some of the photographs I took during it, hopefully have some good stories from the paddock, some gossip, that sort of thing. There's one just gone out now for the recap of the testing, if anyone’s interested.
[00:09:07] AdamR46: Sweet.
[00:09:08] kallmemaybe: Yeah, I think the nice thing just personally from watching it, has been that different perspective. Being behind the fence instead of in the grandstand, I think it's a unique way to look at the whole experience. And then you also cover, we were talking about this, you cover the whole track. You're running around everywhere.
[00:09:25] MichaelPottsF1: Yeah. The great thing is we get to go pretty much everywhere. There's some areas that we are not allowed to go to, but for example, they do let us go into the tunnel in Monaco. There's stuff like that that you just can't get to any other way, other than being a marshal. Yes.
[00:09:43] AdamR46: I walked through there last year. I think it might have been Wednesday or Thursday. And yeah, it's, I don't understand how they go that fast through that tunnel. It's just, it's a blind and some of the stuff at Monaco, seeing it in person is completely different from seeing it on TV, because how does this happen? How does this event take place on these tiny streets? How do these cars go this fast? It just, it doesn't make sense. Let alone all these people just surrounding it all, and it's nuts. It's something that you… it's hard to wrap your head around unless you're actually there. It's just like, what is going on?
[00:10:17] F1Destinations: My biggest negative surprise from Monaco last year was that I didn't know that Monaco was not on the EU roaming for mobile phones [laughs]. And it was a challenge, to put it that way. I spent a lot of money on with my local operator which they actually refunded back in the end. But yeah, it was a nightmare. I couldn't get a data package, just had to rely on free Wi-Fi, which was patchy at best.
[00:10:48] AdamR46: So there was no free Wi-Fi on the yacht you were partying on?
[00:10:52] F1Destinations: [laughs] The yacht I was working at, I did work on a yacht party on a Friday night, which was interesting watching lots of drunk people.
[00:11:02] kallmemaybe: It gives me PTSD from consulting with everyone having a laptop out at a club. So I sympathize.
[00:11:07] AdamR46: That sounds crazy. Yeah, I was actually on a boat on Friday for Free Practice, right at the inside at the back corner. And yeah, I got pretty toasty that day [laughs]. Once the track opened up at the end of it was like… at the end of Free Practice, it was… because we got to the yacht by tender from the harbor behind La Rocher. I’m probably saying it wrong. The general mission, there's another harbor on the other side of…
[00:11:34] F1Destinations: Fontvieille is it called?
[00:11:36] AdamR46: Yeah. And so we took a little, small boat and then we accessed the yacht because the track is closed until you can't just walk right up to it unless you're Michael with an all access pass. At the end of the day, the track opens and you get off the… basically walk out onto the circuit and it just public streets and it just fills up with people and everybody's just drunk and looking for food at that point, and which is what we were doing. And we just walked, we had reservations at this Thai restaurant, kind of right by the start finish, and we enjoyed dinner then went out to Rascals, had some more drinks and just stumbled back to the Airbnb I was staying at about five minutes from casino. And yeah, it's fun.
[00:12:21] F1Destinations: How did you find an Airbnb in Monaco.
[00:12:23] AdamR46: I booked it as soon as the dates were announced I think. It was pricey, but overall, it's actually not that bad compared to the hotels. I think I paid, I think it was 2,600 USD for six nights, a five-minute walk from casino on F1 week, that I thought it was a steal.
[00:12:49] F1Destinations: That's a great deal.
[00:12:50] AdamR46: Yeah.
[00:12:52] MichaelPottsF1: That's a bargain. You could have got the Fairmont for 36,000 USD per night, but overlooking the hairpin, so.
[00:12:58] AdamR46: Yeah, that was really cool.
[00:13:05] kallmemaybe: We actually had a question come in, and this is… because I know we were on like the testing piece. I wanted to ask from, I'm gonna hopefully not mispronounce it, but @andarellano. But it was a question around any updates on the car designs or F1 regulations for tech spend. So last year, obviously there was a big change in the cars. Now you're seeing the testing on the track. Was there anything of note, or do teams feel like they're kind of in the right rhythm now?
[00:13:30] MichaelPottsF1: Yeah, they had some minor changes, many to do with the floor height. So they've raised the floor height a little bit, millimeters. But that will reduce the amount of porpoising. So hopefully we don't talk about that beyond race two. Other than that, there's all kind of evolutions from last year. Alfa Romeo changed their style quite a bit, but when you see the cars for the first time at the race, they'll look quite different. So they've got these kind of weird kind of bulges towards the back where all that kind of aerodynamic effect are trying to get the air over the car has been sort of enhanced quite a bit. So they’re more or less the same as last year, but there are some quite visual, big visual differences at the back.
[00:14:19] AdamR46: I saw Mercedes had, it looked like two tubes kind of running parallel along the fin, and looked like, I figured they were trying to make the car a little bit wider and just kind of give it more air coming over it into the wing.
[00:14:33] MichaelPottsF1: Yeah, they've almost got sort of three surfaces. They've got that bulge and they've got where the side pod would be. And then they've got what looks like an almost second floor before it gets into the floor. So they're definitely channeling the air in some quite specific ways around the car.
[00:14:49] AdamR46: That's crazy. I'm excited to see it in person.
[00:14:54] MichaelPottsF1: It does make the numbers hardto read on some of the cars because they've grown stuck there, the numberstickers on those bulges. So yeah.
[00:15:01] kallmemaybe: Well, they were installing those glowing ads, right? The ones that could change dynamically. So maybe they'll dothe same with the [laughs], with the numbers.
[00:15:12] MichaelPottsF1: The other thing that came up in testing, was a lot of the cars are looking quite similar. I was strugglingto tell the difference between the Alfa Romeo and the Mercedes. Sometimes theWilliams and the Aston Martin looked a bit similar. They're all very dark.They've got a lot of naked carbon fiber. So yeah, that's a little bit of, a bit sad. It's not the most colorful field.
[00:15:42] kallmemaybe: Well, hopefully it's not leading to a lot of issues. I think that was one of the things… I mean, it's nice to see crash outs when we're in the beginning, but maybe a little bit more stability and like then they're actually fighting for even the midfield.
[00:15:56] AdamR46: All right. So I think we're going to kind of change subjects a little bit. We'll start talking about the Australian GP, which I've actually never been to. I was trying to go this year, or yeah, this year, 2023. But last year, my terrible financial decisions, I started thinking about it and it was like, I probably shouldn't do it. So I backed out of my plans. I did a bunch of research trying to figure out the best ways to get to the track, kind of what tickets are like when they go on sale. Just try to get an overall idea. Just started my basic research and that's where… I mean, race has been around for a long time.
It's one of those where normally it's then at the beginning of the year where you don't know what's going to happen. You don't know who's going to win. The testing takes place at a different circuit and it just looks like a fun weekend to attend because it's a true four-day event. You've got track action like it's V8 supercars, you've got the Porsche, I think it's the Carrera Cup. There's just all… I've seen the, what is the stadium trucks? I've seen videos of those out there. I feel like I'm not making that up unless it was a different circuit. But yeah, it just seems like a great weekend. misskarne, you wanna give us a bit of a rundown on what to expect?
[00:17:15] misskarne: Yeah. I don't think we've had the stadium trucks for a few years and we definitely won't have them this year. Because with the addition of F2 and F3, I think this is actually the most packed I've ever seen the schedule for on-track action. And the on-track action does start on Thursday, which is, you said it's… I think it's the only four-day event on the whole calendar. And I think that that makes it a really great event [laughs]. The fact that Supercars and Carrera Cup themselves are also championship rounds for their own events also makes it really great.
Those drivers are scoring points for their own championships, so the racing for them is really great as well. Even if it's not the season start, to me it still has that real season opener feel. Last year I didn't feel it lost anything by not being the first race of the year. It still felt like it was, and I expected it to be the same this year. It'll still feel like it's the first race of the year where things happen, and we also saw a bit of a shake uplast year. The McLaren wasn't so fast in the Middle East, and then they came to Australia and they were actually very quick. So things can still move around by the time they get to Australia as well.
[00:18:35] kallmemaybe: What is it like when you think about this race and what the start of the season means? What does that feel like in terms of the atmosphere, the way that the whole track feels, the vibe of the fans?
[00:18:48] misskarne: General excitement. There's a real…it's sort of, it feels like you're going back to school for the first day, except you're actually looking forward to it [laughs].
[00:18:35] kallmemaybe: No homework.
[00:18:48] misskarne: No homework, unless you wanna swat up on what all the results were beforehand or all the latest technical changes for the track. I think the drivers get really excited to come to Melbourne as well, which really helps. They're almost always in a good mood. There's a lot of… I know last year they came to Melbourne and there were a lot of jokes and a lot of fan interaction on the stages, where they were just really upbeat and really excited for the season. It used to be that when it was the first race of the season, it usually always meant quite a bit of carbon fiber going, flying at turn one.
There has been a little less of that last year, but even then things like watching the, watching Carlos Sainz have his accident, which actually happened right in front of the stand I was sitting in last year was, I think it was one of those moments where you were like, “Oh, I wonder if this will be the sort of issue that we see more of this season,” which wasn't as apparent in the earlier two races.
[00:20:04] AdamR46: So what grandstand do you like to sit at?
[00:20:08] misskarne: My preference is for, where I'm sitting this year is Jones, which is on the outside of turn one. Brabham is also really good, which is on the inside. Last year I was sitting over at turn nine which is Waite. So all the grandstands, the Australian Grand Prix obviously have names and usually get referred to as such instead of their turns, and I think Waite’s turn nine because of course they took a turnout last year [laughs], and I can't quite remember if it was nine or 10 now. Because I think there's not really too many bad ones, honestly.
[00:20:41] AdamR46: What is nine now I think used to be turn 11. The really fast left-hander coming… I can't remember what it is.
[00:20:49] misskarne: I think it used to be 10.
[00:20:50] AdamR46: Okay. Yeah, that sounds right.
[00:20:52] misskarne: Because it goes left and then right. It was where Vettel went off in Saturday Practice and rode the scooter back last year, and where Sainz had his accident in the early part of the race.
[00:21:09] F1Destinations: One thing I think it's worth mentioning about Melbourne, Albert Park is a city park for the whole year. So I think that improves the spectator experience because you've got lots of infrastructure that's permanent rather than just portaloos lined up everywhere. I mean, you have that as well, but I just wrote an article for my website a few days ago. I was looking at the fan experience and I separated the circuits on the 2023 calendar into four different types. Melbourne is one of the four park circuits, city park circuits on the calendar. I argue that they offer one ofthe best experiences on the calendar. Do you guys know the other three city park circuits on the calendar?
[00:22:01] AdamR46: Montreal's one of them?
[00:22:02] F1Destinations: Montreal is one.
[00:22:06] kallmemaybe: Mexico City for sure. I did…
[00:22:08] F1Destinations: Mexico City, yes.
[00:22:09] kallmemaybe: I know that’s fun.
[00:22:11] F1Destinations: And then the oldest circuit of all is the city park circuit.
[00:22:16] misskarne: Oh, Monza.
[00:22:17] F1Destinations: Monza, of course.
[00:22:18] AdamR46: Oh yeah.
[00:22:20] kallmemaybe: Yeah, because remember, I mean, also having not been to the Australian race, but in looking to go like the Mexico City, that sort of mix between, you feel like you're in a, like you say, a park, but then you have all the benefits of not needing to travel an hour out by bus to get to the track. It makes it a lot easier of an experience, then you can really enjoy the city itself.
[00:22:38] AdamR46: So if I wanted to attend Melbourne from North America, I'm assuming I'm flying into Melbourne, or is there a different airport?
[00:22:51] F1Destinations: Melbourne Airport.
[00:22:53] AdamR46: It's a long flight. What's the transport like from the airport to get to Albert Park? Is there a public tram?
[00:23:04] F1Destinations: From the airport to the city, it's a bus, isn't it? What, Sky Bus, I think it's called?
[00:23:08] misskarne: Yeah, the Sky Bus. Which is about, one way is about 22 AUD, I think, but you can get the return ticket, and then that drops you off at Southern Cross Station. And then from Southern Cross you can get the free tram to the track, which is about 20 minutes, depending on how long it takes them to pack you on.
[00:23:30] AdamR46: Yeah. What are crowds like to get on the tram?
[00:23:36] misskarne: Last year on race day it was quite packed. I think we had almost a record. Last year it was 150,000 I think on race day, so obviously with that many people it is gonna take a while. Going into the track is not as much of an issue on race day because obviously there's still racing before the actual race itself, so people come in at different times. After the race you have to have a bit of patience because everyone's trying to get out at the same time. But it wasn't actually too bad, they manage it pretty well. I think they were caught by surprise on the Friday.
Friday Practice was the only time where I thought the trams weren't running the way they probably should have. I don't think they were expecting that, sort of that level of attendance on the Friday, but they laid on extra trams. They get it moving. It does take a while, but even after the race last year, I think I was only standing in line about 40 minutes for a tram.
[00:24:34] AdamR46: Yeah, that's not bad at all. I usually in my head, mentally prepared for like two to three hours each direction. Especially at peak time, just so that when it takes less time, you're happy [laughs]. Kind of set your expectations a little low so that when it doesn't take that long, you have time to drink a beer or get some food before you actually go in or get to your seat and wander around, check out the fan zone, just things like that.
[00:25:01] F1Destinations: I think it's fair to say that Melbourne is one of the best organized races on the calendar. I know for many years running it won the best organized event. I think Mexico has won it most of the last few years. But trains is a good example. Free trains is a good example. Like at so many circuits like last year where Spain and Italy are two prime examples, where the organizers knew months in advance that they had a sellout on their hands, and the organization didn't respond to that. It was a lot of horror stories from those races last year.
[00:25:40] MichaelPottsF1: Spain reduces the amount of trains on Sunday.
[00:25:46] AdamR46: Yeah. I've been to Spain for MotoGP in Valencia for the last round. When I went in 2017, it's a title deciding race, it was down to points at the last round. And so it was sold out, it sold out months in advance, and it was the same thing with trains. They just, they don't plan to add trains, which I'm assuming what Melbourne does. They don't accommodate the master crowds. All they do is they open up the station at the circuit. And I think there were some people that took about four hours to get on a train to get back to Valencia. And we just kind of lucked out and we bumped into some friendly people from the UK who asked if we wanted a lift back to Valencia.
So my brother and I just hopped in a car with a couple friendly strangers who all share the passion of motorcycle racing, coming back to Valencia. Wouldn't let us buy them a beer or give them some food or anything. They just dropped us off and disappeared, never to be seen again [laughs].
[00:26:48] kallmemaybe: You're still looking for them, so if they're watching now, they should reach out.
[00:26:52] AdamR46: Yeah.
[00:26:55] kallmemaybe: What about walking or buses or Ubers? Because in Mexico, when we went, we went with a group and we were able to rent a small shuttle bus for our group, and that made it really easy. But I don't know if it's better to just walk if everything's in closer proximity or take an Uber. Is that reliable?
[00:27:14] misskarne: So I did have a look at Google Maps to see how far it is to walk. And if you're staying somewhere like Crown, I think it's about 40 minutes Google Map said. But if you've had a few during the race, I'm not sure I'd trust that [laughs]. I did see a few people trying it on the Saturday after Qualifying. I don’t know how that went [laughs].
[00:27:42] kallmemaybe: Do you recommend hanging out in the area and finding like are there bars nearby or other places to stay and wait it out?
[00:27:48] misskarne: Yeah, you could. You could. It's a stone’s throw from St. Kilda, and there's a lot of good pubs in the area that you could go to. With that said, of course, because it's close by, they all get very busy very quickly. With driving and Ubers, Ubers you could get, but you'll obviously have to watch out for the surge pricing. Driving, the issue is a lack, I think a lack of parking really.
[00:28:16] F1Destinations: Basically, the organizers, they don't…
[00:28:20] misskarne: They don't actually want you to.
[00:28:22] F1Destinations: They don't drive to the circuit, no.
[00:28:20] misskarne: Yeah, they don't actually want you to.
[00:28:24] kallmemaybe: @rachel's saying trains and walking are the best options because a lot of the streets are closed, so.
[00:28:30] misskarne: Yeah. And then of course there's another surprise option, which is electric scooters, which I did see a few people using. We have the ones available for hire. They have some hire ones in Melbourne and I did see a few of those being used last year. But again, if you've had a few at the circuit, I'm not sure that's a wise decision [laughs].
[00:28:52] AdamR46: Yeah. I rode one of those in Misano to get to MotoGP one time. I stayed in Misano and it's like a 20, 25 minute walk. But then I was leaving the Airbnb I was staying at and I saw a scooter and I was like, “Oh, they have those here.” And I just rented it and got therein like, I don’t know, five or 10 minutes. I was zig-zagging through traffic while, like side by side with Ducatis and Yamahas and all kinds of bikes. Just zig-zagging through all the cars, and I was just on a bird scooter, just hilarious [laughs].
Let's touch on the subject of like restaurants, bars around the area where if we do encounter a lot of traffic, is it a good idea, is it something to make a reservation at a restaurant for one of the nights post-track action, or hang out, wait for the concerts? Because I think that there's a lot of live music going on at Melbourne as well, right?
[00:29:50] misskarne: Yeah. I mean, I think if you're planning to have a sit down dinner at a restaurant and you haven't booked one already, book one now [laughs]. Especially if you wanna have it on the Sunday night after the race, there's not just… if you are on the far side of the circuit, so along Lakeside Drive and turns 9, 10 across the back there, you'd probably wanna walk up towards St. Kilda and Prahran and places like that. Whereas if you're on the other side, you can actually walk into Albert Park proper, the suburb. There's a lot of places to eat around there.
[00:30:31] F1Destinations: Is it the Middle Park Hotel, which is literally right across from the main gate behind all the main grandstands?
[00:30:39] misskarne: I think that's the main…
[00:30:50] F1Destinations: Middle Main Park Hotel, yeah.
[00:30:54] misskarne: Yeah, it's right? You can literally walk across the road, although actually I wouldn't recommend walking across Canterbury Road [laughs].
[00:30:50] F1Destinations: That's where the trams from Southern Cross stop as well.
[00:30:54] misskarne: Yeah. The trams from Southern Cross stop along gates one, two, and I think some of them go to three as well. And then trams from Flinders Street Station will stop at 5, 6, 7… No, they stop at 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 across the back. So they've got almost all of the gates covered. There are a couple of gates around either end of the track that aren't serviced by the trams, but it's not too far to walk.
[00:31:22] kallmemaybe: And can you get the trams to run around the circuit, like when you're there?
[00:31:26] misskarne: No, they don't do a loop. They don't do a loop around the circuit.
[00:31:29] kallmemaybe: Okay. You have to walk for that.
[00:31:30] misskarne: Yeah, you do have to walk. And it is quite a walk, don't under estimate how big Albert Park is. Bring your walking shoes [laughs], because if you do decide to do the whole circuit, it is quite a walk.
[00:31:44] MichaelPottsF1: What's the food and drink situation at the tracks? Do they have good quality food, and how much is a beer?
[00:31:52] misskarne: It's pretty pricey. I think a lot of Australians watching will know that the situation of most Australian sporting events is that you're gonna pay through the nose for food and drink. I think last year it was…
[00:32:05] MichaelPottsF1: Not only in sporting events.
[00:32:08] misskarne: Not only sporting events [laughs]. I think last year it was a good six or seven dollars for a beer for a lot of the cheaper ones. And then you could buy more expensive craft beers and a whole range of spirits. It was quite well serviced if you were into a whole range of different alcohols. Food varied from your average chicken tenders and chips kind of offering. Some of the big brands had food trucks. A few years ago I remember buying a Red Rooster roll there.
[00:32:44] AdamR46: I don't know what that is, but I want one [laughs].
[00:32:47] misskarne: It's a chicken. A chicken chain here. There's usually pizza, tacos, donuts, and you're probably gonna pay around $10 AUD for that kind of thing as a minimum starting pace. But the good thing about Albert Park is that you can bring in food. You can't bring in alcohol, you can bring in water and they actually encourage you to bring in a water bottle. Definitely bring in, I'm taking this monstrosity with me to Melbourne this year [laughs holding huge water bottle]. Definitely bring in a water bottle, they provide refilling stations, and you can bring in food. They’ll let you do that.
They obviously don't like it if you push the limits a bit and start bringing in, stop off at the local markets and bring that in with you. They're not a fan of that. But you see a lot of people, they'll stop off at the local Woolies and grab some bread rolls, cheese, ham, whatever, and make sandwiches, bring those in. Yep, they're fine with that. And there were a lot of times last year where we sort of felt almost a little smug sitting in the grandstand. I'll just reach into my backpack and pull out a bread roll while all the silly people are queuing for the food [laughs].
Last year there was a bit of a problem because there were, we did still have some Covid restrictions and there was a bit of Covid still getting around and they found it difficult to find people to run a lot of the food stalls. So food and drink did have some quite big lineups, but I think they're not expecting that same issue this year.
[00:34:31] kallmemaybe: Does that… just hearing it and thinking about it, I know we wanted to talk a bit about the tickets and, is it fine? Can you kind of go as GA and make it like a picnic day and go with a large group, bring a blanket and sit out? What are the different tiers to the experience that you've seen?
[00:34:47] misskarne: Yes, a general admission is actually a really fun way to be. The only thing with general admission is that on Saturday and Sunday you have to pick a spot and that is your spot and you don't move from that spot [laughs]. Otherwise you'll never get another one. But there's certainly lots of picnics going on in the general admission areas. And then you can go with the different grandstands. The grandstands have their different price and tiers. Obviously, the ones along the front, straight and down in turn one are more expensive than other areas of the circuit.
But I'm not sure I'd consider that there's ever a bad grandstand, so to speak around Albert Park. They all have pretty great views. And then obviously you can go for your hospitality suites and paddock club and the things that the people with a lot more money than most of us [laughs] go in for.
[00:35:40] AdamR46: On the subject of food, sorry. While we're on the subject of food real quick, at picnics, what I normally do is I have like a cooler bag that I travel with that rolls up nice and small. I put it in a check bag and when I'm going to a race, I'll freeze some water bottles that I use as ice. And I have this cooler that fits inside my backpack and I'm able to use the frozen water bottles as ice to keep sandwiches, or we usually get cheese and I end up buying some little meats or we just have fruit that we keep cold with our frozen water bottles. And as everything goes out, as you're munching all the stuff throughout the day you can drink the water and it's cold still, especially after being out in the sun all day, it really helps.
But yeah, having a cooler bag that can kind of fold up smaller that you can travel with and then fit it inside your bag. And if you're allowed to bring that in, you don't have to hide it, it's game changer. Save a ton of money.
[00:36:35] MichaelPottsF1: Check before the race that you're going to that it's allowed. Some races are a lot stricter than others.
[00:36:41] AdamR46: Yeah.
[00:36:43] kallmemaybe: And kind of on that vibe, actually, you reminded me of thinking about it, what about weather? What can people expect for the atmosphere? Like it's 30 [Fahrenheit] in New York right now, but I'm not sure what it's all like down there [laughs].
[00:36:57] misskarne: Melbourne weather. Where should we start with that [laughs]? I suppose the trick with Melbourne is that you can get, the running joke is that you can get all four seasons in one day. I have actually had that at the race before where I spent, I think it was Saturday Qualifying a few years ago and I spent the morning roasting and nearly getting sunburnt. And then by the time Qualifying came, I actually got soaked through because it started absolutely bucketing down. So the weather can turn Melbourne pretty quickly [laughs] so it's one of those things. Always make sure you've got a poncho in your bag and you're pretty good.
In late, because it's late March, it should still be fairly warm. Probably, I'm gonna give all mine in Celsius, sorry. You'll have to do the Fahrenheit conversions [laughs]. Probably mid-twenties, which is sort of nice and warm, not too bad. Last year it did get very hot on one of the days. I think Sunday was pretty hot as well. Close to 30 [Celsius]. The sun is very strong. I will say that you will feel it bite. So if you ever come to Australia for the Grand Prix, buy some sunscreen. As soon as you get here, you will need it even if it’s not that warm.
When the wind gets up though, it can get pretty cool pretty quickly when the sun drops. But with that said, I'm also from a city in Australia where it does actually get quite cold. So for me it's not that bad in Melbourne, but some people might find it a bit cool at that time of year at night. But it should be, it's sort of mid-autumn so it's not too bad. We might still get some really hot weather.
[00:38:48] kallmemaybe: Someone was saying they're giving out sunscreen around the track.
[00:38:52] misskarne: They will do that, yes. There's stations where you can get sunscreen and they'll sell earplugs and ponchos as well. But sunscreen is usually available for free at a lot of different stations. With that said, yeah, I just find it easier to have some on me, obviously, because then you can reapply. I also burn really easily, so I go through a tube in not very long. So if you wanna be reapplying regularly, you don't wanna have to get up and go find one of those stations
[00:39:24] kallmemaybe: Are there a lot of places with shade, like to get out of the sun, or if it's raining to duck under, knowing that you're in a park?
[00:39:32] misskarne: A little. There's plenty of trees alongside, but they're quite set back from the track. A lot of the eating areas will have umbrellas up for shade. But obviously if it's hot, if it's sunny, those go very quickly. People will sort of camp out underneath them to try and stay cool. So it isn't actually that shady, you'll need a good hat, but there are a few places you can retreat to.
[00:40:01] kallmemaybe: The motto is bring one of everything.
[00:40:03] misskarne: Exactly.
[00:40:03] AdamR46: So what's it like at 10, or if you go with a group versus solo, what's it like being by yourself if you have a grandstand seat or what's the vibe like if you’re by yourself? Also, like @Mynameisnotphoebeand @Vegetable_Point_2786 asked, what's it like attending as a woman? We've heard a lot of things on social media in the last year about some rowdy fans and things like that. What's the whole vibe if you're solo and solo woman? I know it can be kind of a touchy subject, but I feel like it's beneficial to kind of talk about this.
[00:40:42] misskarne: Yeah. And unfortunately it's… yeah. There's gonna be boof heads at a lot of these events. I won't say I've never had any comments in Melbourne, because I have. Like you get some guys that are drunk and that they'll make a few stupid remarks and you just kind of give them the bird and keep walking [laughs]. But with that said, in Melbourne, I've never had a situation where I felt genuinely unsafe, or where I felt genuinely uncomfortable. Where I felt the it was ever gonna be more than just a few stupid morons making comments. I've never felt that I wouldn't want to go to this race alone, and I have gone alone multiple times as well as in a group.
It's just, it seems to be pretty safe. There might be others out there who've had different experiences, but even last year I didn't hear any comments, any remarks at all. It was everyone was just there to have a good time. There is plenty of security and lots of… I was gonna say marshals, but distinct from the racing marshals like per track staff around.
[00:42:04] AdamR46: Event staff.
[00:42:06] misskarne: Event staff, yes. That's the word I was looking for. There are a lot of those people around and they will get involved if you need them to. So with somebody always in view, I've never had that issue.
[00:42:20] AdamR46: Yeah, which pretty much at any large event with alcohol, you're gonna get some guys that act like idiots, just in general.
[00:42:26] misskarne: Yeah.
[00:42:27] AdamR46: Yeah. I feel like having that expectation where it's like something like that could happen, but it's small enough where you can just ignore and keep walking, I feel like that, as long as you have that mentality, it helps you be aware to it and just kind of be prepared to either just keep going or find an event staff that can help step in or kind of diffuse the situation if it arises something a little bit past something to ignore, you know.
[00:42:54] misskarne: Yeah. And it sucks that we still have to think about this in 2023, but unfortunately when this has been a male-dominated sporting environment for so long, it is something that if you are going to a event as a woman by yourself, you do need to think about. But certainly, I'd recommend Melbourne for any woman fan who wants to go to a race on their own.
[00:43:18] MichaelPottsF1: Are you noticing a bit of a change in the people that are attending? Is it becoming a little bit more mixed? Not so male dominated as it was in the past?
[00:43:28] misskarne: I think last year there was a definite mix up of people. I am gonna be interested to see [laughs] how many of the orange number three shirts could come back this year [laughs]. But, and certainly I think there's a lot of people who are attending the race for the first time now who never have before, which is really great. And I think it is making a big difference to the demographics that are going.
[00:44:01] MichaelPottsF1: Yeah. I'm noticing that a lot of races, it's, yeah, there's a lot more coming, more female fans and it’s fantastic.
[00:44:11] AdamR46: Yeah. My first race was at Circuit of the Americas in 2012 when they first opened, and the audience compared to then to the last couple years, even at Circuit of The Americas, the average age has probably dropped at least 20 years. It's a really young crowd compared to the way it was 10 years ago, and there's a lot more women there. And I think a lot of that comes from Drive to Survive with just the accessibility for some of the… I guess, or that or the target audience of the show. It's really helped boost just the visibility and awareness of the sport a lot. It's really cool to see.
[00:44:52] kallmemaybe: Sorry, go ahead.
[00:44:54] MichaelPottsF1: I was gonna ask what's Melbourne like for families? Is it good to take kids too?
[00:44:57] misskarne: I've obviously never done that part, but I would say so. The only concern that I would have if you had really small children, is the sort of walking distances involved, because as I said before, it is quite a big park and things are spread out quite a bit. There's a lot of the facilities, where there's a grandstand, there'll always be facilities, but between the grandstands there can be a lot of walking involved. So if you had quite small children, that would probably be something that it might be worth waiting a couple of years until they can handle a bit more walking.
But I see a lot of small kids there especially on the Thursday and the Friday. You see a lot of small kids and they're always having a great time. There's a lot of kid focused activities as well for them to get into. So it'd be a pretty good event for them.
[00:45:51] AdamR46: So Andrew, what's it like buying tickets for this event? I know you've kind of got a big feel for a lot of the ticket sales and involved in some of that. So what's your take on it?
[00:46:03] F1Destinations: Well, in general the last couple of years since the end of the pandemic, it's got a lot more difficult to buy tickets for all the races. Australia is pretty popular and it does sell out quickly. People that go every year like yourself will know that if you join you become a member essentially of the Grand Prix silver or gold, I can't remember what it's called. But if you buy tickets one year from the organizer, then you sign up and basically you can get priority when the tickets get released for the next year.
So that's definitely worth doing via the official website, grandprix.com.au. But in general you buy quick buy as soon as they go on sale. And if you don't then you're probably gonna have to pay more from a reseller or on the secondary market, which you really want to avoid if you can.
[00:47:07] kallmemaybe: We actually had a question from someone, from @Roflcopter44444, who actually asked about that specifically. How does that work? Because we've tried to buy tickets before and have gone through a third party to do it because it was easier than when the sites went out. But where can you go for…?
[00:47:24] F1Destinations: It depends on the race, but in general, almost every single promoter or circuit will be the best place to buy tickets. If they sell out super quickly, then you can look at the official resellers. So every circuit or promoter will appoint agencies who will sell the tickets. They'll be a little bit more expensive, maybe five or 10 percent, but you're still getting tickets direct from the promoter, the same tickets as everyone else. So they're fine as well. We can talk about different companies. We can definitely talk about them on the Grand Prix Travel Subreddit.
But in terms of secondary market, it's really something I can't talk to because that would really have to be a last resort, the likes of StubHub and those kind of sites. Because the tickets are gonna be considerably more expensive, like marked up a lot, and there's no guarantee that there's not fraud involved. And even if there was a case where you're protected in the case of fraud, but it's not gonna help you if you're at the track, your ticket doesn't work and you can't get in. If you get your money back, you're still gonna miss out on the event, aren't you? So…
[00:48:44] kallmemaybe: Is anything around authenticity of it, like ways to check or things to look for?
[00:48:49] F1Destinations: Well, you'll be fine as long as you buy from an official source. Whether it be the promoter or an official reseller, almost all the circuits on the website, they'll list the companies that they cooperate with, and if you buy from any of them, you're fine. Whereas if you buy on StubHub or whatever, your only recourse is to StubHub because you're buying normally from an individual and you don't know if that individual isn't selling the same ticket over and over or whatever.
[00:49:19] AdamR46: And there’re some people on the Subreddit that happened to, for Singapore and for Mexico or Singapore. They got to their seat and there was somebody in it who had the same exact ticket, and somehow they both got in.
[00:49:30] F1Destinations: Yeah [laughs], and that's the other thing.
[00:49:35] AdamR46: There was a group of people who went to Mexico and they got there and got turned away at the gate after flying in. I think one person was from Hawaii and the other was from New York, and yeah. So they couldn't go.
[00:49:46] F1Destinations: Well, that's the other risk with electronic tickets. So pretty much every single race now, maybe apart from a few, Monaco is an exception, where the E-tickets are issued rather than physical tickets. This is for grandstand and general admission. Normally hospitality tickets will be physical. But yeah, if we're talking about E-tickets you have to be careful with the tickets you've bought and make sure you don't share them with anyone else or post a picture of your ticket online or something because someone can scan the QR code and use your ticket potentially.
[00:50:23] AdamR46: And typically the most protections you get from things like that is getting your money back. You don't necessarily always get a ticket. If say for some reason I buy a ticket from somebody on Grand Prix Travel on the monthly tickets thread, and PayPal will have a goods and services kind of protection, but that's only gonna get your money back. And if you fly somewhere, you spend all this money and logistics to get there and then just to be turned away at the gate. That's where I personally don't travel to a race unless I can buy the ticket from the circuit or a verified reseller.
[00:51:01] misskarne: And I just wanted to circle back to Melbourne tickets for a moment, because they did previously have a lot of pre-sale for grandstand tickets. But one of the big criticisms of the Grand Prix organization this year was that they actually changed how pre-sale worked after the pandemic. You could only get into pre-sale for this year's event if you bought tokens. So you had to outlay extra money to have access to the pre-sale, which for a lot of people wasn't possible, or they weren't prepared to do that.
It was one of the reasons why the ticket sold out so very, very quickly. Literally the same day, for like… I actually didn't get tickets in the first two public releases, because when I finally got through to the Ticketmaster site, there were about 20,000 people in the queue ahead of me. But it was a really good point about resellers, because they had on the official site a list of tour companies and official resellers where you could buy tickets. And I ended up getting my ticket through as like a ticket and a hotel package through a tour company.
But also in Victoria, they actually have legislation that prevents you from selling tickets to major events that are designated as major events, a markup. So if you do have tickets from Melbourne and you're trying to resell them, you can't actually sell them and buy more than a specified amount.
[00:52:44] AdamR46: Also, do tickets get you access to any special events or like the concerts and things like that? Is it all included with the normal four-day ticket?
[00:52:52] misskarne: Yeah. So you can get into all the concerts with the general admission ticket.
[00:52:57] F1Destinations: Someone mentioned Melbourne Walk before. Is that now open to anyone with a ticket? Because I think it used to only be for grandstand ticket holders.
[00:53:09] misskarne: I think you could always get in with general admission. But it is certainly one of those things that it is quite fun to do, but you have to be there really early if you wanna spot along the fence, and you have to be very dedicated to it. You have to be prepared to stay all day for the chance of seeing the drivers you want to see. And some of the drivers don't come in that way. Lewis never comes in via the Melbourne Walk, but most of them will, and a lot of them will stop for autographs and photos and it's quite a fun experience.
Actually, one of my favorite stories from the Melbourne Walk is one, I don't usually do it anymore, but one year I did do it and I ended upstanding next to a chap who'd come all the way from Poland to watch Robert Kubica race, and he was very excited about it. When Robert arrived, he went into a bit of a meltdown. “Robert, Robert, can you come sign my flag?” And he did. He came over and signed a few things and they had a little chat in Polish and he was very happy to see him. After that he disappeared and I never saw this chap again. But it was the year that Kubica ended up on the podium in Melbourne, and all I could think of after the race was, “That guy must be in seventh heaven right now.”
But obviously your Australian drivers will be very popular, Mark, Daniel, Oscar, I suppose this year will be very popular on the Melbourne Walk. You see a lot of celebrities along there as well. Most of them are pretty fun. Some can be, some will just walk on by and not see you. But most of the drivers will stop and they'll do photos and autographs and they'll come and see you. But it is one of those things you do need to be there early if you wanna be close to the fence to have a chance to actually get autographs, and you need to be prepared to stay there for quite a while.
[00:55:01] AdamR46: What time's early?
[00:55:03] misskarne: Gates open [laughs]. So probably 9:00 AM, you got to be there pretty quick. And on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday, it's gates open and you run to get there.
[00:55:16] kallmemaybe: So don't go out the night before, do it the day of.
[00:55:19] misskarne: There are some people that do it all four days to the Grand Prix and they're very dedicated. I don't know how they do it.
[00:55:25] AdamR46: Eat your veggies and drink your water and stay hydrated and get ready for a sprint in the morning.
[00:55:30] misskarne: Exactly.
[00:55:32] MichaelPottsF1: It's a really great system and it's quite unique to Melbourne. Most of the other races, you won't be able to get that close to the drivers with general admissions. So if you are looking to meet your hero, that's a very good place to start.
[00:55:45] F1Destinations: Silverstone does the inner track, don't they? Which is an addition to the ticket and it gets you inside the track, and you can go where the drivers enter the paddock.
[00:55:59] MichaelPottsF1: Austria has a similar thing, but it's a much smaller, much smaller spot, and I think Mexico. A few of them do have it, but you generally need quite a souped-up ticket to be able to get that access.
[00:56:14] AdamR46: Yeah. Mexico, I've hung out outside the fenced area where they drive in to get to the paddock and its… it's a strong police military presence that kind of guard that area. It can be a bit intense if you're not used to seeing men with rifles. It's pretty, pretty crazy experience, but you see just blacked out SUVs and there's a whole fleet of that that just pull in, no stopping. So it's not, Mexico's not an option really to meet drivers like that. Like Austin for example, they drive into the service road, but they're not necessarily gonna stop there. There's always a little crowd of people that wait there, but the place to meet them is gonna be like outside the paddock behind the main grandstand, there's a parking lot.
You can only get access to that if you have a pass for that lot. So that's the place where you see people kind of post social videos of them taking a quick selfie or kind of ambushing them for an autograph and things like that. But like you said, you kind of have to have like a souped-up ticket to get access to that area, to even be in the place to meet some of these, to meet the drivers or team staff and things like that.
[00:57:28] kallmemaybe: So just on this topic, we've talked about the GA and the grandstands, and you mentioned the Melbourne Walk. But are there any other experience packages that are really unique to this circuit that people, if they're willing to spend a little bit more money, should take advantage of?
[00:57:50] F1Destinations: You could talk about F1experiences, but they're at every race now. And they do specific activitiesthat are unique being the only or the official F1 Experience and travel program. They take people on a lap of the circuit, normally on a flatbed truck. The same one that the drivers normally use for driver's parade. But in Melbourne, it's always been double decker buses, I don’t why. They also have a few other activities and some of the packages there's a Champions Club hospitality where you get a 30 minute tour of the paddock, get your photo taken with the championship trophies. And they have driver appearances and stuff like that as well.
[00:58:45] AdamR46: I've always wanted to do one of those packages and never… when I travel to a race, sometimes I don't even go Friday just to try to maximize the trip if I'm going to a different country or I kind of wanna visit the cities and I wanna see some new things. So I end up going to the track only on Saturday, Sunday, where it's been kind of tough to bite the bullet to commit to it. Especially from my wife's going, she's kind of long for the ride and just kind of open for whatever, and I feel bad dragging her along to three full race days. Or it just, it's a lot of walking and it's one of those things that… it takes a toll on you and as I get older, it's harder to do [laughs].
[00:59:28] kallmemaybe: Is there anything else maybe from the, I don't know, from the paddock side or anything else around like tickets that people should be mindful of? I know there was search, or not… Well, it wasn't search pricing, it was dynamic pricing for this year, I think.
[00:59:45] AdamR46: In Melbourne?
[00:59:47] misskarne: Yeah, there was some dynamic pricing. I would be interested to see if that will stay for next year because there might be borderline with some Australian law as to whether they're allowed to do that [laughs]. But generally, the tickets stay in the same range of what they advertised as on the website. But there were some, in some of the grandstands they were about 40 or 50 dollars more expensive than the prices that were advertised.
[01:00:21] F1Destinations: It's worth saying for people traveling internationally to Australia, the Australian dollar's not particularly strong. So the tickets in Australia are pretty affordable by international standards, looking at all the ticket prices for this year.
[01:00:39] AdamR46: What about lodging? What's it like? Are hotels expensive or is Airbnb an option? I know a lot of this stuff varies by city and country, but what should I expect to spend on lodging for… if I'm going for a four day event, I'm probably gonna stay there at least a week. So just depends on budget per night and things like that, or neighborhoods to stay. Does that have a big effect?
[01:01:06] misskarne: Yeah. With Melbourne, it's a pretty major city, so you can get your Airbnbs and your regular hotels. There are some budget ones around. With that said, book really early if you want the budget/cheap hotels. The place I stayed in for last year's race was already booked out as early as August. So even if I hadn't bought my ticket this year with a hotel package attached to it, I would've been staying in a different place, and it would've been more expensive anyway. Most people will stay generally in the CBD close to either Southern Cross or Flinders Station because of the access to the trams, but I have stayed in the past closer to the track, sort of in that prior run St. Kilda area.
But again, those will fill up pretty quickly as well. You'll see a lot of price bumps. It's not really gonna be a cheap stay. You probably could if you stayed quite a way out of the city and got the training every day, you could probably do it for quite a bit cheaper. Some people like to be close to the action, I'm one of those. I don't like to go for ages before I get on the tram. There is that. In terms of logistics from Melbourne, I actually prefer to fly in on Wednesday night because I find that if I fly in on Thursday, by the time you fly in, get into the city, deal with your bags and all of that, you've missed half the track action on Thursday.
And this year there will be actual races on Thursday where normally it's just Practices and Qualifying and things. So I think that's something to consider if you can, to get in sort of on the Wednesday rather than Thursday.
[01:02:52] AdamR46: What about accessibility or limited mobility within the circuit?
[01:02:59] misskarne: They actually have a pretty good setup in Melbourne. There's a shuttle bus that can take people around to the various grandstands. They have a lot of pickup points, you just call a number and they'll come and get you. There's, I think several of the grandstands are wheelchair accessible. They're always marked on the map. They have specialized changing facilities with hoists and cranes and a sensory room I know they added last year, which I think some people found pretty good. But they have a whole dedicated team that you can email before the event. And they're on site during the event and you can call the number and they'll sort you out. They're pretty good there.
[01:03:44] AdamR46: That's pretty awesome. I'd never really seen an event like that, or that had a number that you can call.
[01:03:51] misskarne: Yeah, and the pickup signs for the shuttle bus are really well marked. You'll see the big signs. They're mostly out of the back of the grandstands, but there are a few other places during circuit as well. They're marked really clearly with symbols and writing and everything saying, “This is the pickup point for the shuttle,” and they have the phone number on them.
[01:04:11] kallmemaybe: That's great.
[01:04:12] AdamR46: That's awesome. What's the kind of nightlife like? Does everything close down early or is it possible to go get a bite and a drink after the concerts, for example?
[01:04:25] misskarne: Yeah, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, you're pretty good. And most of the businesses will stay open anyway because they know they're about to get... I know last year particularly, it was very, there was a lot going on in the city on the Sunday night because everyone was very excited. No one expected the McLaren to do as well, and therefore Ricciardo to do as well. And so everyone was quite hyped. The little Collins Street was absolutely hopping when I got off the tram.
[01:04:57] AdamR46: That's fun. It's always a fun vibe.
[01:04:59] kallmemaybe: And there's actually a lot of stuff I was looking for different events that are going on. Like there's the, well, Australian football Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I think, maybe even Sunday. And then there was the Wine and Food Festival, and actually International Comedy Festival on that same weekend.
[01:05:17] misskarne: Yeah, Melbourne usually has a lot of things going on. There are two football codes in Australia, so the Aussie rules and the Rugby League both start next weekend, the same weekend as the F1. So I'm about to be very busy [laughs] as a sports fan. I was sort of hoping that my rugby league team would be playing the Melbourne one on that weekend in Melbourne, but of course I didn't get that lucky with the draw. But yeah, so I have known friends who've come down for the race and then gone to the AFL after they've left the circuit for the day to watch a game.
So if you've never seen AFL before that, that could be a really fun experience because in Melbourne it's a bit something else. They're a bit crazy about it down there, and it's really good atmosphere.
[01:06:05] kallmemaybe: Is there like a bar that people go to? If someone doesn't wanna go to the stadium let's say, but they wanna go to a bar instead.
[01:06:10] misskarne: Oh yeah, any bar will be showing it. I'm going to a very specific one this year on the Friday night after Friday Practice. I'll be heading to a very specific bar in Carlton to watch my regular team play. They'll have it on the big screen there and there'll be a bunch of out-of-town fans. Then we're gonna have a bit of a meetup and watch the game. But most Australian bars sort of have pseudo sports bars. I suppose that they'll be sport on just about every television anyway. And most will put it on a big screen in Melbourne.
[01:06:48] AdamR46: That's awesome. That's a whole vibe [laughs] within itself. That's really cool.
[01:06:57] kallmemaybe: I guess then maybe a good way to summarize it would be, and I know Andrew, you've done this really well on your site that I've seen with thinking about different tiers to an experience. Because you can choose to go more on a budget or you can really choose to go all out. How do you think about if you had that sort of like mild, medium, big, or however you want to frame it, what would Australia look like for someone?
[01:07:27] F1Destinations: Budget, mid-range or…
[01:07:32] kallmemaybe: Yeah…
[01:07:36] F1Destinations: Yeah, so budget is gonna be general admission ticket. I need to check how much. Was it $250?
[01:07:44] AdamR46: Yeah.
[01:07:45] misskarne: I think it was about that.
[01:07:46] F1Destinations: Yeah. And then it's normally, well at some tracks that would be camping. That's not really an option at Albert Park. So I'd probably be staying in a youth hostel or a hostel in a shared dorm type space. I don't know, maybe $50, $70 a night Aussie for that, bringing your own food to the track, that kind of thing. So yeah, pretty affordable weekend. A mid-range fan would buy a grandstand seat. I think they range from what, $300 Australian to $600 or $700 Australian dollars.
[01:08:30] misskarne: Now, $400 [AUD] was the cheapest one this year.
[01:08:34] F1Destinations: $400, yeah, okay. So 400 to 700 or 800, something like that is a range [all AUD]. Stay in probably a three-or four-star hotel, hopefully in a reasonable location somewhere like CBD or South Bank or South Yarra or St. Kilda. And can maybe afford to go out to some restaurants, a show, or maybe one of these sporting events. And then at the high end, well, I mean, there's different levels of high end in Formula One now, isn't there?
[01:09:05] AdamR46: It just got crazy and then extreme.
[01:09:09] F1Destinations: Yeah, there's something that's called the VVIP Garage. I don't know how many races they're planning to do it this year, but that's like Paddock Club on steroids, where you're actually in a garage box in the pit lane with full hospitality and everything, which is… I think they started in Miami last year, but they did up to four or five races. But then there's cheap, I don’t know all the hospitality options in Melbourne, but there are cheaper options that are probably, I don't know, I'm guessing $1,500, $2,000 Australian dollars for the weekend. I don’t know, Paddock Club is expensive and getting more expensive.
It's kind of minimum I think around $6,000 USD this year for a two- or three-day package, which is expensive. You put that in Australian dollars, it's $8,000, yeah? Staying at the best hotel, the five-star hotels or South Bank or in the CBD it's… Well, there are fans that can afford to pay that kind of money.
[01:10:13] AdamR46: I want a helicopter transfer to the circuit please [laughs].
[01:10:16] F1Destinations: Yeah, exactly.
[01:10:17] kallmemaybe: Yeah, I saw one of the larger, larger, the more higher end, like Red Bull packages was about $5,500 Australian dollar per person. And I know there was something interesting where within the tiers, even the experience, it wasn't entirely inclusive. So like the lower end, lower end experience packages may just be beer and wine, a little bit of grazing food, whereas it felt like the Red Bull side was, spirits are included, full meal, sit down, all of that.
[01:10:47] F1Destinations: Yeah. Something for everyone.
[01:10:54] AdamR46: [laughs] That sounds like money. I'm also good with, I just love GA and just the vibe, meeting friends who… makes it hard to coordinate, especially when everybody needs to buy a $500 ticket. It's hard to get everybody to commit and lined up and on the same page. Whereas if you have GA, bring a picnic, meet some friends, and I'll be at this corner. I see you or I won't, whatever. That's where I kind of like GA for some of those events, and it's nice when they actually have good GA like Americas or Melbourne where you can, yeah, you're in your spot, but it's easy to meet up with people.
[01:11:32] F1Destinations: Unfortunately, GA's got really expensive in the States now.
[01:11:36] AdamR46: Yeah, I know.
[01:11:37] F1Destinations: I think COTA maybe going back four years, it was about $175 US dollars.
[01:11:42] AdamR46: 2019 I paid at most $59.
[01:11:44] F1Destinations: This this year 475 US dollars for general admission at COTA.
[01:11:50] AdamR46: And they're getting smaller and smaller areas too, because they keep adding grandstands.
[01:11:54] F1Destinations: Yeah, exactly.
[01:11:56] kallmemaybe: One thing with COTA that was we were able to buy a single day down there, and it wasn't that bad. I think it was the Qualifying and it might have been like $50 USD the day of or day before. But obviously those are the people who know they're not gonna sell it otherwise. But you might be able to get a good flash sale, and unfortunately it was through Ticketmaster, but fortunately that also meant that they transferred the official ticket and so we weren't worried about showing up and having it not scanned.
[01:12:25] AdamR46: Yeah, because around… I live in Austin and there's a lot of locals who go just for the concerts at night. And so they find kind of people who are only going for race day or they find people who aren't going last minute, and you can typically find some cheap deals.
[01:12:45] F1Destinations: We always talk about going to a Grand Prix for three days. For all three days, but I think there's a lot to be said. Especially as a new fan, if you can get a ticket for a single day, go and experience it. Even if it's a Friday or a Saturday, it doesn't have to be race day, just to get a taste of Formula One on a budget. It makes you wanna come back for more.
[01:13:10] misskarne: Yeah, and the first day at Albert Park is actually pretty good for that as well. You get a lot of the families coming in on the Thursday.
[01:13:21] AdamR46: You were gonna say something, Michael?
[01:13:22] MichaelPottsF1: Yeah, my first experience was Practice on Monaco. That was fantastic. So yeah, just seeing the cars is brilliant.
[01:13:32] AdamR46: Yeah. Just getting out to the track and getting a feel for it, because sometimes it's, it could be a pain to get out to the circuit anyway, where that's why it's like doing it for three days. That entails its own journey sometimes. And it's nice when you have public transport, like Melbourne with a tram. All right guys, I think I'm going to start kind of rounding it out a bit. I feel like this is going pretty well, and I think we've gotten some pretty decent audience interaction. I think we'll probably start doing these semi-regularly. And so just try to get some people to follow F1Destinations, get on that newsletter. And Michael Potts, subscribe to your YouTube channel and join FanAmp, get on the discussion.
We've got the new Grand Prix Travel Base that we're starting to kind of, or we'll probably organize some meetups at some of these, some of the Grand Prix through this year and just kind of get a discussion going. And if I'm on there, Greg's on there, I know we will get more and more interaction going and try to kind of see where it takes us and share some info. And especially when you're at an event, sometimes traffic might be backed up, but the public transport's a better option. Share that tip, get people to the circle a lot easier.
Just things like that is why we're kind of building this community and trying to get things going. Just a lot of this is new to everybody and every year is a little bit different. And so if you have a general idea on how it works, I feel like that can just go a long way. And then communicating with people directly on that weekend is just game changer.
[01:15:21] kallmemaybe: Yeah, and share with us if there's other specific questions you want answered or races that you really wanna get covered, or you wanna jump in and get involved. Let us know and we can figure that out because everyone here has graciously volunteered their time to make this happen and it was really helpful. So…
[01:15:41] AdamR46: Yeah. We've got links on the bottom of the YouTube channel or the YouTube stream. We've got links to our socials and websites as well. So feel free to follow and join in on the next one. Keep an eye on the Grand Prix Travel subreddit and we will post the announcements whenever the next one is going to happen. It'll likely be either in Imola or Miami, kind of, we're still trying to get a feel for this and see how much interaction we get and try to get some more people involved.
So mention it to anybody who is looking into researching going to a Grand Prix, or just travel in general to one of the event cities. Just see where it takes us. Anybody else wanna chime in with anything?
[01:16:33] F1Destinations: Thanks a lot for today. It was really, really good talking to everyone.
[01:16:38] MichaelPottsF1: Yeah, I had really good fun. Thanks for organizing.
[01:16:42] kallmemaybe: Cool. Thanks everyone.
[01:16:43] AdamR46: All right guys. Thanks. We'll see you on the next one.
[01:16:48] MichaelPottsF1: See you later.
[01:16:49] misskarne: Thank you. Bye.
[01:16:47] kallmemaybe: Bye.