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Know Before You Go: Australia

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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.

Watch the full session

About the panel

AdamR46: Founder of Grand Prix Travel, the #1 community on Reddit and FanAmp for Formula 1 fans enjoying races around the world

🟠FanAmp Base


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

What to Know Before You Go

[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

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