A virtual lap of Albert Park, Melbourne F1 circuit with Google Street View

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The first corner at Albert Park, Melbourne
The first corner at Albert Park, Melbourne

Albert Park circuit in Melbourne mainly uses public roads, and the whole track has been photographed by Google Street View, giving us a ground-level view of the circuit where the 2009 F1 season begins next week.

Here’s a corner-by-corner look at the Albert Park Circuit.

Turns three and four, where Martin Brundle crashed heavily in 1996
Turns three and four, where Martin Brundle crashed heavily in 1996
Turn five, a fast right-hander
Turn five, a fast right-hander
Turns six and seven
Turns six and seven
Turn eight, a long right-hand corner
Turn eight, a long right-hand corner
Turns nine and ten - the main road (in the foreground) bypasses this part of the circuit
Turns nine and ten - the main road (in the foreground) bypasses this part of the circuit
Turns 11 and 12, the fastest corners on the track
Turns 11 and 12, the fastest corners on the track
Turn 13, a sharp and slow right-hander
Turn 13, a sharp and slow right-hander
Turn 14, a faster right-hander
Turn 14, a faster right-hander
Turn 15, the penultimate corner
Turn 15, the penultimate corner
Turn 16, with the pit lane entrance on the right
Turn 16, with the pit lane entrance on the right
And back onto the start/finish line to begin another lap
And back onto the start/finish line to begin another lap

You can navigate a lap of the Melbourne circuit yourself using Google Street View here: Albert Park, Melbourne on Google Street View.

More on Albert Park, Melbourne

Thanks to Al for the tip!

Images (C) Google

Albert Park, Melbourne F1 circuit 2009 (click to enlarge)
Albert Park, Melbourne F1 circuit 2009 (click to enlarge)

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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57 comments on “A virtual lap of Albert Park, Melbourne F1 circuit with Google Street View”

  1. Boston F1 Fan
    21st March 2009, 17:52

    – Do they leave the pit paddock up the whole year? What do they do with it the rest of the time?

    1. no it comes down after the race, i live across the road

    2. When I was there for New Year 2008 the Pit / Paddock building was still there. It apeared to be a permanent building which is (I believe) a sports centre the rest of the time, with football being played when I was there.

  2. I don’t know but a few people in Melbourne read this blog so perhaps they can tell us?

  3. You’re welcome!

  4. I walked round the circuit in January – it seemed really strange to see so little mention or evidence of F1. As I approached the final corner, it took me a while to realise that was actually it! The pit garages were the only permanent evidence that I could see.

  5. I wonder on what part of the track can you use KERS, if a driver is on his own and not passing someone ?
    Really I miss a flashing light on top of the cars to let us know when KERS is activated – this would be a lot of fun

  6. Any part of the track, surely? It can be used as an overtaking aid, of a defensive aid, or just help power down a straight.

    Perhaps not a flashing light on the top of the car, but an indicator would be very much appreciated indeed. Like the powerboost graphics in A1GP.

    1. In the Red Bull video they mentioned that drivers have to be careful with the extra power boost of KERS so they dont spin out … so then it seems that it can only be used on the straits, and maybe even not in low gears to avoid wheelspin.
      Really I cannot see much lengh of straits in this track –
      will be interesting … cheers !

  7. I was there four years ago in May.
    The paddock is a permanent structure, and when I was there there was a gym inside, and an indoor basket court.
    One thing I didn’t uderstand is why some of the corners has narrow way out, while during the no racing period there are huge meadows outside there.
    Some other interesting things: 3 and 4 curves are obtained in the swimming pool parking lot, while the great 11-12 fast chicane is obtained through curbs, because the street has a slightly different design.
    Anyway I found really amazing how the normal streets fit to create a f1 track. Some of the curves seem really designed for racing, for example first one, not for normal traffic.

    1. That looks preety serene!

  8. blimey albert park looks different. I think I prefer how it looks at the grand prix though,

  9. Before Melbourne won the hosting rights to the grand prix from Adelaide, there was controversy because Albert Park was obviously being designed and built with a bid for hosting the F1 race in mind. Eg. the roads have nice corners and approval was sought for a building that was 60 meters long and only 10 meters wide (later it turned out that it was a pit building).

    Local residents protested for over a year trying to prevent the GP from being hosted in the city (the track is right in the middle of Melbourne) but the government won out in the end.

    Nobody was surprised when time came for the first GP to be hosted, Albert Park was easily adapted into a pretty good race track!

    The gov also tried to pass off the pit building as a ‘multi-purpose’ venue, but not much else happens there outside of the GP.

  10. Cool, Wonder if there’s something like this for Monaco.
    I’ve been around the circuit in Montreal during the summer in my car, and the kerbs are very much there year round. Pretty much everything except the hairpin.
    Great find Keith.

  11. WOW! I can’t believe it looks like this. Nice post

  12. My father walked round Albert Park on holiday last year and he said it was difficult to tell a current Grand Prix was held there, as it looks so different from the state it’s in during the race weekend. Unlike Monaco, which is instantly recognisable even without everything that changes for the race.

    Amazingly, parts of the track at Crystal Palace are still quite clearly identifiable as old bits of race track – despite over 35 years having passed since the last race there…

  13. When I was visiting my husband (fiancee at the time) we walked around. There were still stickers down in the pit for a couple of the racers and of course I found myself a few pieces of red-painted rock. Now we just need to go back and see an actual race! Also…how do they get the stupid swans to not run out into the race? They seemed to be everywhere.

  14. Getting very excited for next week! I just did a lap of the circuit the other day to have a little looky at progress with building the grandstands etc. I was amazed that the general public could still drive around the track..fun even at 40kph. I’ll be watching the race from the outside of turn one, Albert Park provides such excellent opportunities for viewing the action, some grandstands are pretty close to the track.
    A great side benefit of have a street circuit is access for the public compared to a dedicated track, so many options, I’m lucky enough to be able to walk or tram ride in 5 minutes from home. See you there.

    1. Cool! Can you send us some pictures from the weekend?

      http://drop.io/formula1fanatic

    2. Be happy to Keith

  15. I’ve visited the circuit too, and had my picture taken on the pitlane. It’s very odd how difficult it is to see the race circuit!

    Nice idea using Streetview Keith, could maybe do with some overlays to view the track more easily. For a less serious look at the circuit, check out Badger’s Melbourne track map!

  16. As David and Nik said, the pit lane structure is permanent and has an indoor basketball court and other sports facilities. When i was at school, one of the other school’s in the competition used the paddock as their venue to play netball and table tennis, and the fields around the track to play soccer, AFL and cricket.

  17. Its amazing how different it all looks, especially without all the perimeter walls, barriers and grandstands.

    Also the gravel traps aren’t there. Do they have to dig any of the ground up to implement them?

  18. The pit garage is indeed an indoor sporting arena when not in use at the GP. There are also heaps of other sporting facilities at the park, cricket oval, sports & aqautic centre and the lake itself is used for rowing. All of these groups get booted out unceremoniously for the race, but its really only a couple of weeks that the public can’t gain access to the park.

    The swans are contained in the lake area Jenn, by the track fencing or they would indeed waddle out onto the track. If you are driving along Aughtie drive at any time, all Melburnians know to take it easy around there as the swans just cross the road wherever and whenever they feel like it ! I beleive also that wildlife carers make sure they are not unduly disturbed by the race. They don’t seem to be, at any rate.

  19. In the Red Bull video they mentioned that drivers have to be careful with the extra power boost of KERS so they dont spin out

    Mark Webber, are you listening? I’ve betted for the number of races this year you are going to retire due to KERS!!! LOL
    Anyway, if someone lives there and is a formula 1 fanatic, maybe they can give us photo updates of how it gets transformed into the fantastic track. Maybe keith, with your fans spanning the whole world you can ask volunteers for user reporting kinda thing.

    1. I can’t help with that, but I’ll probably make a short video of race day at the track, stick it on youtube and give Keith the link. Next year, I’ll certainly get some transformation shots for everyone. Outside of turn 6, just before braking zone and at the corner, that’s where I’ll be!!!

    2. I’ve taken heaps of transformation shots this year, I need to put them up online somewhere!

  20. The pit lane itself is closed to traffic all year so I love walking along there and seeing the F1 tyre marks in the boxes. All the grooves should be gone after this weekend so it’ll be interesting to see the rubber left by the slicks.

  21. Ethnic_Tension
    22nd March 2009, 6:34

    The only permanent structure of the circuit is the pit garage (it is used during the rest of the year as an indoor arena for indoor soccer, basketball, netball and table tennis). The stands, barriers and other general structures are stored offsite and reassembled each year. Reassembly takes about 1.5-2 months. They don’t bother digging down where the gravel traps are as the grassy areas there are already below track level. They simply lay the gravel on top. They water the grass along the sides of the track for a month prior to the event to make the track look more ‘green’ and ‘attractive’. All the fields around the track are used for various sports. You can access all areas of the track when the circuit is not set up.

    When the track is not set up:
    – Corner 9 is actually a car park (and like by police to book people speeding around corner 8)
    – Corner 4 goes through the Melbourne Swimming and Aquatic Centre’s and South Melbourne Soccer Club’s car park (you can tell where the track runs due to the yellow lines defining its outer extremities.
    – All chicanes and faux grass runoffs are permanent
    – There is a gate at corner 6 preventing traffic flow from the south side of the track.
    – There are entry/exits to the track at corners 5, 6, 12 and 13 (the exit at corner 12 actually has traffic lights)
    – The speed limit on the north side of the track is 50km/h and 40km/h for the south side.

  22. Ethnic_Tension
    22nd March 2009, 6:36

    Sorry mistake in my above post.
    * – All ripple strips and faux grass runoffs are permanent

  23. Ethnic Tension, you’ve answered the questions I haven’t asked, thanks.

  24. Are you sure the grass get watered to look green? I read in a Red Bulletin last year(not most realiable source I know) that they weren’t allowed to water due to draught so they just painted it green to look green and fresh on tv…

    1. Yeah I heard that too.

  25. That could be true actually, the water shortages in Victoria are pretty severe at the moment. The grass around the rest of the park looked pretty brown and dead.

    1. They are allowed to use water from the lake to take care of the track sides. Being in (sport mad) Australia, and particularly in Melbourne, certain sporting events and venues get water exemptions from the government. In fact, I think there might be a safety issue to do with grass track-sides in F1 that means they must be watered a certain amount. Something to do with dust?

  26. Oh, and the lake is absolutely massive! Took us a good hour of brisk walking to get round most of it.

    I can’t wait to see the TV coverage of the race now that I’ve been there and seen it :)

  27. Ethnic_Tension
    22nd March 2009, 12:19

    The grass is watered (seen it myself many times). They don’t water all the grass, just the parts between the track and walls. I believe they’re using trucked in recycled.

  28. Perhaps we could have a street view thread?
    There’s a funny surprise if you find the street view pictures of Laguna Seca.

    1. There is, but only on the roads around Laguna Seca, not the track itself. You can see most of the track though.

      take a looksie:

      http://maps.google.co.uk/?ie=UTF8&ll=36.582969,-121.7589&spn=0,359.986053&t=k&z=17&layer=c&cbll=36.582879,-121.758819&panoid=iOGTkiMRQcdUiEwgEkOoqw&cbp=12,94.44945787275483,,0,5.346153846153845

    2. Actually, here’s a better starting point. I can’s see any funny surprises though

      http://maps.google.co.uk/?ie=UTF8&t=k&layer=c&cbll=36.585792,-121.757845&panoid=JvIPlqFQJC-4iPLL0_yfyw&cbp=12,75.27891125642523,,0,6.938461538461547&ll=36.585829,-121.757752&spn=0,359.986053&z=17

  29. There’s some nice pics of Montjuic Park but the Google camera car stopped one roundabout short of driving round Rouen.
    They didn’t know what they missed.

  30. Great post…

  31. Mouse_Nightshirt
    22nd March 2009, 17:52

    Other than the road itself, it doesn’t look remotely like Albert Park! That’s crazy – huge amounts of work must go into this each year.

    I’d love to see Spa outside of race time.

    1. its not so weird – a lot of buildings around both pit straights are permanent as are all the food/drink places – the only thing that disappear are the stands out the back of the circuit, the cars and the fans themselves!!

  32. http://www.f1badger.com/2009/03/streuthmate/

    There are some pictures of the circuit going up on that link.

    Amy, it would be really cool to see the pictures that you have taken of the circuit.

    1. If anyone else has got pictures of the track and wants to send them in you can use the (newly upgraded) F1 Fanatic drop.io:

      http://drop.io/formula1fanatic

      If we get enough I’ll put them together in a post later on.

  33. I found two good videos on YouTube. Both are guys driving in their cars around the circuit about two weeks ago. The first link gives a full lap and you can see that most of the fences and things are all already in place. The second link is part of a lap recorded after 5pm with some cloud cover. It is really interesting to see what the drivers could possibly experiance with the late start time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6u1MDH_LZs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCm1NrjuXkM

  34. Check out photos of Albert Park right now: Melbourne today in pictures

  35. LOL. Really like the alibi for a park which is a race circuit configuration. Things people do for passion. Clever idea for future street circuits. Who’s next?

  36. In which area will the teams use their KERS? On the final straights or will they use it as a boost on possible overtaking areas?

  37. (i’m an aussie) it’s hard to tell its an f1 track, its just a dodgy road through a park, if there were no apex’s you’d never pick it for a race track

    1. I live on St.Kilda rd which is a 5 min stroll from the edge of the bitumen and I run around the lake on the inside of the track 2 times a week and I can confirm the heavily watered grass. In summer the ovals and reserves are parched, but come GP the grass between the track and the barriers is lush while the depth of water in the lake reduces…must be some connection there. lol

      Also, don’t you remember the track was used in the 50s?! The Australian Army occupied some of the land and commenced racing there in the early 50s before the council ceased the practice due to aggreaved rate payers. So the current track is an extension of the roads that pass through for local traffic and the original racing line.

      There are many sporting ovals surrounding the track, some of which have been there for over 100 years and also a golf course.

      Ripple stips are covered by green concrete ‘covers’ outside of the GP but I’m not sure about faux grass being permanent. Apart from the pit building which is used continuosly during the year for indoor sports…i’ve lost quite a bit of skin on the floors there…all other barriers, stands, marquees, bridges, pontoons etc are trucked in starting in early Feb. It takes a while to clean up too…gravel traps ain’t easy to rake up!

      I’ve been there on race day and can barely recognise the peaceful lake & park land. The transformation is something.

      http://www.silhouet.com/motorsport/tracks/albert.html

  38. That’s old-school catch fencing like F1 had in the 70s!

  39. They’ve got to do a massive amount of work every year with the track!

  40. Google had their streetview cameras lapping the track last week on the wednesday, and driving round the spectator areas on the thursday morning, so there should be some better imagery soon.

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