Melbourne ready to roar for F1 and V8 Supercars at Albert Park | Yassmin Abdel-Magied

It is not just Formula One followers who will descend on Melbourne this week, the V8 races draw a different crowd that only adds to the excitement for motorsport fans

The Australian Grand Prix is often a hot affair. The Formula One season opener comes through Melbourne at the tail end of tarmac-melting summer, the week before the nation’s first round of AFL fixtures, and a couple of months after the Australian Open. F1 fans worldwide are hungry for the first broadcast of the 2019 season and Albert Park is a fine place to start, with the picturesque lake and lush greenery a beautiful backdrop.

The Victorian capital has hosted the Australian Grand Prix since 1996, taking it from Adelaide shortly after Melbourne lost its bid for the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta. Rumour has it that the loss, combined with Sydney’s successful bid for the 2000 Olympics, fuelled the state government’s drive to secure the race. Bernie Ecclestone memorably said the negotiations took just 10 minutes – faster than a flat white at a Melbourne cafe. It wasn’t always popular: local residents lamented the lack of access to the park for three months of the year and said that the money could be better spent elsewhere. But the Melbourne contract was re-signed in 2015 and continues until 2023, so it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

Related: F1 2019: who and what to look out for in the new season

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Source: Formula 1

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