Built in: 1996
First Grand Prix:
Grand Prix Helds: 10
Capacity around 80000
Track Lenght: 5.303 km
Laps Number: 58 (307.574 Km)
Corners: 16 (left:6) (right:10)
Top Speed: 325 Km/h
Start Offset line: 0
Best lap time: M. Schumacher - 1'24''215
Australia F1 2006 Track Review :
Melbourne ran its first Formula One race in 1996, after taking the Australian venue from Adelaide. With this maiden race, also came the shift of the Australian race to the beginning of the Formula One calendar. The transition didn't come smoothly, with many disruptions from protesters, which still carry on today, although the numbers have greatly dwindled.
The Melbourne track, is contained in a park, the layout smooth and flowing, with no 90 degree street corners to break the speed. It runs clockwise around a lake, and the scenery is breathtaking. All the drivers love racing there.
Damon Hill, still all charged up from his victory in the closing race of 1995, continued where he left off, winning the maiden victory, after his new Williams team-mate, Jacques Villeneuve, had to slow at the end of the race with engine problems.
1997, Melbourne's' second year, Jacques Villeneuve looked set to win again for Williams, after dominating qualifying, by a massive margin, but he was taken out on the first corner by Eddie Irvine, and so David Coulthard raced on to McLaren's first win since Adelaide in 1993. This race also gave Damon Hill an early indication that his run with the Arrows team, would not be smooth, as his car coasted to a halt on the parade lap, preventing him from participating in his first title defending race.
1998, who of us will ever forget the season opener? A race that was won with such total dominance, and under a huge cloud. Once again David Coulthard looked set to win, after team-mate, Mika Hakkinen, lost so much time in the pits. Learning of the Finns predicament, David slowed to let Mika pass, honouring a gentleman's agreement the two had made before the race. Fans all over the world went wild.
1999 saw Eddie Irvine take his first ever GP win for Ferrari and although the Irishman had left for the Jaguar team for the 2000 championship, it was another Ferrari victory, this time a one two with Michael Schumacher claiming his first ever Australian win and new team-mate Rubens Barrichello coming in second.
The Australian race was marred by the tragic death of a safety marshal after a collision between the BAR of Jacques Villeneuve and the Williams of Ralf Schumacher. Michael Schumacher went on to take his second victory in the land down under, making it a hat trick in 2002. Being at the start of the season, the track is well known as a debut for many rookies, and local driver Mark Webber was immortalized when he crossed the line in his debut race in fifth place last year.
David Coulthard won only one race in 2003, here in Australia. The McLaren driver finished in front of Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya in second place and Kimi Raikkonen in third position. In 2004, Michael Schumacher was back in control leading home team-mate Rubens Barrichello in what would be a dominant season for Ferrari and Michael's seventh championship success.
Heavy rain fell during qualification for the 2005 event ensuring those that had been fortunate to qualify early on in the 60-minute session would start up front. Starting from Pole Position Giancarlo Fisichella got his career at Renault off to the perfect start as he took the chequered flag ahead of Rubens Barrichello who has worked his way up from 11th position on the grid.
Due to the timing of the Commonwealth Games, Melbourne has lost its slot of being the first race of the season in 2006 to Bahrain.