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Melbourne Albert Park Circuit

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      29.01.2010 22:35
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      A great day out

      An excellent racing circuit in central melbourne. The track is almost man made, outside the few months before and after the Grand Prix it is just a normal park with a road going through it but as the Grand Prix approaches the whole area changes with stands being built up to two months before the Grand prix. The only noticeable thing that would give away it being a Grand Prix track is the fised engineering garages. The parl itself is about 3 miles long and a mile wide and has a huge lake in the middle. During the 3 days over the Grand Prix weekend over 100,000 people from all around the world come to the city to enjoy the traditional First World Grand prix F1 race of the season which is held in March. There has been talk of even making the race a night race but this race suites the day as the track isnt very wide. It is known as one of the hardest races in the racing calendar as its hard to take over on the narrow track. I visited this F1 race in March 2007 and it was worth every dollar even though as was travelling from the UK and on a budget - very good day out.

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        28.10.2005 12:55
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        Australia's true Capital!

        I suppose I should probably begin by declaring my unquestionable bias on this subject… Melbourne is my home town, and although I’ve lived in a lot of other places around the world, I’ve probably spent the majority of my life there. It often strikes me that whilst Australia is obviously a very popular destination for tourists generally, Melbourne is frequently overlooked in favour of Sydney; its bigger, brasher, older sister up north. This seems a great pity because Melbourne is in many respects a much more lively and appealing city to visit. WHY VISIT MELBOURNE? Why? Well, because it’s a city like no other. For starters, it has a fabulous climate with four genuine seasons, which is a rarity in Australia. Melbourne tends to be hot and sunny all through the summer, pleasantly bright and warm in the spring, romantically autumnal in the autumn and suitably frosty in the winter, albeit with plenty of sunshine during the day. On a September day in Melbourne, it’s actually possible to spend the morning at the beach, have lunch at a vineyard, and go skiing in the afternoon. Having said that, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as a schedule unless you’re particularly pressed for time. Melbourne has a fantastic public transport system, a highlight of which is an extensive network of swanky green & yellow trams. There is also a free, burgundy coloured Victorian tram, the City Circle, which does a scenic circuit around the CBD, as well as a Restaurant tram, which serves up fabulous local cuisine whilst touring around the city. Melbourne’s taxi’s are all a canary yellow colour, after an embarrassing post New York-jaunt initiative on the part of Jeff Kennett, a controversial, authoritarian, go-getter State Premier in the 1990’s. Other Kennett gems included the abolition of certain Public Holidays, and changing Victoria’s state slogan from “The Garden State” to “Victoria On The Move”. The river Yarra (an Aboriginal word for water) runs through the centre of the city. It’s a disconcertingly brownish colour, due to the colour of the silt in the riverbed, but the river itself, which flows out into Port Phillip Bay, is actually remarkably clean. School and University rowing crews glide up and down it throughout the day, and an absolutely spectacular Dragon Boat festival is held on the river every Chinese New Year. SOUTH BANK: The south side of the Yarra is home to the Botanical Gardens, which are undulating & extensive, incorporating both Government House and the Shrine of Remembrance, and with a superb restaurant/cafe beside the lake at its centre. These Gardens house large colonies of furry fruit bats, which resemble little winged mice, and can be spotted during the day, suspended in great numbers from the claw-like branches of enormous Moreton Bay fig trees. The Yarra’s south bank also houses the Victorian Arts Centre with its spider-web inspired spire, which looks stunning at night, when lit up & encircled by spiralling seagulls. There’s also the National Gallery of Victoria, which boasts enviable collections of both Australian and International Art, and then of course there’s the Crown Casino. CASINO: I worked as a cocktail waitress in one of the so-called ‘high-roller’ gambling suites in this establishment for a couple of years, whilst a student at Melbourne University. The tips were great. Problem is that you tend to feel pretty morally awkward when you see the same guy who tipped you $100 an hour earlier ashen faced and staggering bleakly away when it all goes horribly wrong. Anyway, I can confirm that it really is a Casino in the truest, most Vegas-y sense of the word…and built on a phenomenally huge scale. At Crown there are more blackjack tables than could ever be filled, more Casino-Royale style restaurants with more mayonaisey, prawn-laden buffet spreads than could ever be eaten, more marble and gilt and miscellaneous architectural obscenities than, once seen, could ever be entirely forgotten. Or forgiven. Outside the casino, every evening, several enormous Bunsen burner style turrets along the river are fired up, on the hour, every hour, emitting huge flames that light up the cityscape beyond. It’s quite a spectacle, I’ll give it that. And like the Southbank centre, further up along the river, the casino has magnificent views across to the aquarium and the city’s skyline on the opposite bank. CITY CENTRE: Cross the river towards Flinders St Station (Melbourne’s main railway station and a famous landmark) and the newly-completed Federation Square. You’ll find yourself in Melbourne’s CBD which is based around a roman-style grid system, and hence, pretty easy to negotiate without getting lost. There is quite an array of charming lanes and arcades, mostly dating from the Victorian era, some complete with original 1890’s tiling and mosaics. Here, as elsewhere, Melbourne presents some pretty gorgeous possibilities for shopping and eating. Neat little Tokyo-style Sushi bars are dime a dozen, as are tiny, tucked-away Florentine-style cafes, some seating as few as eight or ten customers… Melbourne is a city of immigrants, many of them relatively recent, and it shows. Melbourne’s China Town, situated principally along Little Bourke Street, is the longest established Chinese settlement in the Western world, rivalling even those in San Francisco or London’s Soho. Lonsdale St, nearby, is the cultural home of Melbourne’s large Greek community, whereas Lygon St, a couple of blocks away in Carlton, and close to the University of Melbourne, is almost exclusively Italian. BAYSIDE; Melbourne extends around Port Phillip Bay, with a number of beautiful, leafy bay-side suburbs, and some fantastic, sandy beaches, some of which are less than 10 minutes from the city centre. Arguably the most charming of Melbourne’s bayside suburbs is St.Kilda, about a 10 minute tram ride from the city centre. St.Kilda was Melbourne’s most fashionable suburb in the 1920’s and has all the Art Deco treasures to prove it. Things went spectacularly wrong in the 50’s and 60’s and the area degenerated into a haunt for vice in all the usual forms. It’s still a little rough around the edges in places, especially at night, with tranny streetwalkers & the odd junkie begging for change, but all the run-down mansions and apartments have been lovingly restored & the yuppies are well & truly ensconced. St.Kilda’s also home to Luna Park, another relic of the decadent 20’s, an antique amusement park with an entrance underneath a massive, gaping mouth. The Esplanade hotel, a Victorian monolith opposite the beach, is a Melbourne institution. There’s no better place to be on a Sunday afternoon than on the front porch at the Espy, drink in hand, waiting for the sunset. It’s also a brilliant live venue, mainly alternative and scene acts. Nick Cave is a Melbourne boy & played some of his earliest gigs there. Other well-known Melburnians include Barry Humphries, Germaine Greer, Rupert Murdoch & Kylie Minogue. FOOD: I probably never feel more homesick for Melbourne than I do when traipsing along the aisles of my local Sainsbury’s, listlessly squeezing some rock-hard mango from deepest Peru, or some sad & shop-soiled pineapple of indeterminate origin. In Australia, oranges and avocadoes grow in back gardens. The old-fashioned green grocer is still a high street staple, and Australians buy their fruit and vegetables fresh. Only in Germany will you find better bakeries, and you probably won’t find better fishmongers anywhere in the world. Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is an ultimate Foodie Mecca spread over seven hectares. The fruit & vegetables are in a traditional open-air setting, whilst separate meat, fish, and deli counters are housed in the market’s main building, constructed when the market first opened in 1878. The Melbourne Food Festival celebrates all things edible & is an absolutely superb, unmissable event. As to Melbourne’s restaurants, cafes, and eateries, I’m frankly uncertain where to start, as the subject probably warrants a review in itself. I’ll have to write one at a later date… Suffice to relate that my superlatives probably won’t do them justice, and cheap eats abound! SPORT: Melbourne, set to host the Commonwealth Games in 2006, is already home to virtually all of Australia’s most stellar sporting events. The Melbourne F1 Grand Prix is held annually in March, on a stunningly beautiful, palm-lined track around Albert Park Lake, and is the first event in the Formula One calendar. The 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix is held on Phillip Island, famous for its colony of Fairy penguins, about an hour and a half’s drive out of the city centre. The grand slam Australian Open tennis championship is held in January. The Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s greatest horse races, is held on the first Tuesday in November. Perhaps tellingly, a public holiday is held in its honour, and the entire nation virtually grinds to a halt for the duration of the race. This degree of national enthusiasm was summed up by the American writer Mark Twain who wrote, after a visit to the Melbourne Cup in 1895, “Nowhere in the world have I encountered a festival of people that has such a magnificent appeal to the whole nation. The Cup astonishes me.” Many visitors to Melbourne are equally astonished by the ease and relative inexpense of securing tickets to these international events, especially the Australian Open, which, unlike its sister events at Wimbledon and the US Open, is very much accessible to all. The MCG, or Melbourne Cricket Ground, home to the 1956 Olympic Games, is probably one of the most famous cricketing venues in the world, and has a massive seating capacity in excess of 120,000. It plays host to the AFL (Australian Rules Football) Grand Final, held in September. LIVEABILITY: Although really intended as a guide for tourists/ visitors, no review of Melbourne would be complete without mentioning what a wonderful place it is to live in. Melbourne routinely trumps the EIU’s annual list of the world’s most ‘liveable’ cities and deservedly so. It isn’t really a place with a brief list of ostentatious landmarks for the visitor to tick off & consign to the “done that” list, like Sydney with its Harbour Bridge and Opera House, or Berlin with its Wall and Gate. You probably do have to live in Melbourne to appreciate it properly, because there is so much to see, so many nooks & crannies to explore, and so much to do, that the casual visitor will invariably leave feeling they’ve left things out. Which is pretty much how I feel now! Will try to add some brief summaries of shopping, accommodation & other attractions at a later date… ARRIVAL: Whilst most foreign visitors to Melbourne will arrive by air, the drive along the east coast from Sydney is spectacularly beautiful, passing through an array of picturesque sea-side towns, lush forests, and presenting a number of opportunities for whale watching etc. Visitors flying into Melbourne will arrive at the recently refurbished Tullamarine airport, which is light, spacious, and well served in terms of shops, restaurants and amenities. If arriving from abroad, it may be useful to know that there is an extremely good & competitively priced Duty Free shop in the arrivals area prior to customs, so there’s no need to lug your duty free goods half way around the world. The trip from the airport into the CBD takes approximately 15 mins. A shuttle bus runs every 20 minutes, and taxis are also fairly inexpensive.

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          10.03.2003 17:59
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          Helenc is entering Sports Journalism with a bang to celebrate the start of the Formula One Motor Racing season, beginning in Melbourne Australia. The date ? 9th March 2003. The circuit is Albert Park, Melbourne; a circuit which is partly a road circuit, as well as having the setting of the park itself. The back drop is Melbourne?s CBD and St Kilda Road area. The Grand Prix Australia has been at the Melbourne circuit for several years now, and is also the date that most F1 fans wait for, from the previous October, as we can look forward to motor racing approximately every two weeks throughout the summer. Over the last couple of years, and last year in particular, Formula 1 has been slated for being boring, predictable, fixed, lacking in excitement, dominated by Ferrari, etc. So over the winter months, the executives have been reconsidering some of the rules that govern the sport. Viewers of the sport were drifting away and Bernie Ecclestone?s digital TV channel was not very successful either, although £12 to watch a badly commented race could have been the reason for that. Now I have to admit, as an avid F1 spectator (I even managed to make it to the Albert Park race in 1999 and 2000) I get a little cheesed off with people who slate Ferrari for their domination of their sport. So B****y what? They worked hard to get where they are. Indeed, when Michael Schumacher joined them a few years back they were nowhere to be seen in the winners circle. In fact, I think there had been a twenty year break in their success, which hardly qualifies as long standing sporting dominance now does it? McLaren Mercedes were dominating everything for the couple of years before that. What goes around comes around. Williams dominated for a while too, from the mid nineties. So that is three major teams all having their spell of leadership in the last eight to ten years that I have followed the sport. People seem to have short term memories only when they make these statements. Granted the alleged race-fixing that was blatant and was going on between the drivers for the Ferrari team is enough to hack people off, as despite this being a ?team? event too, most people think of it as an individual competition. As a result of this negative press the rules have changed. In the past, drivers had twelve qualifying laps to try and post their fastest score, now they get only two. Previously, the car would have been filled with barely enough fuel for three laps (The Out-lap, the flying lap, and the In-lap). Now there is an added twist ? the car must be filled with the fuel that the driver will start the race with the following day. This gives the team strategists a real dilemma. Do they attempt the qualifying lap with a light fuel load, which makes the car lighter, and means they will be able to go quicker; or do they fill the car up with a heavier fuel load, which will mean they will post a slower time, but will possibly gain an advantage on the day of the race, when the drivers with the lighter fuel load will have to pit first. There is no right answer to this- it depends very much on the factors on the day, as we have seen from today?s Melbourne race. The other main changes are that the tyres used for qualifying must be the tyres which the driver starts the race with, and once the car has qualified on the Saturday afternoon, it must be parked in the Parc Ferme until the time of the race, meaning that the mechanics are not able to adjust its settings i.e. tinker with it. There used to be two tyre manufacturers ? Bridgestone and Michelin, with their standard product ? wet tyres or slicks. The number of manufacturers is the same but now the tyre manufacturers are making tyres specifically to each team?s requirements. The new rules were perhaps rushed through, and this left a loophole which Minardi exploited. Minardi are not one of the top teams, and have a much smaller budget than the big names. On th e 2nd qualifying session, they did not post a time, but drove into the pit garage instead. Because they did not ?qualify? they would start from the back of the grid ? i.e. the pit lane. Minardi are used to this anyway. What it gave them was the rest of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to work on their cars as they saw fit. Now to the race. The front row was once again dominated by Ferrari, with M Schumacher in pole position and his team mate Barrichello in 2nd place. Montoya, a relative newcomer who has entered the sport with a storm took up 3rd place beside Heinz Harald Frentzen, who has left Jordan and now races with Sauber. Olivier Panis was in 5th position and Jacques Villeneuve completed the top six in his BAR; a car which has not exactly performed that well over the last few years since its inaugural race. Jensen Button, the young brit who sits alongside Villeneuve for BAR took up 8th place, while David Coulthard (DC), the man from Twynham, Scotland took up an unimpressive 11th place. This is a long way down the pack for a man who has won the GP 12 times in the past, and drove for a team which has led the pack in the late nineties. His team mate Raikkonen, from Finland, fared even worse at 15th position. Was this a poor car, poor performance by the drivers or simply a heavy car with a fewer pit stop strategy? Now the obvious challenge to the team strategist once again, is deciding which tyres to put on the car. Should they be wet weather tyres, slicks, or intermediates? For most of the last few days, Melbourne was sunny, but weather in Melbourne is notoriously changeable (the four seasons in one day rule applies there too). On the morning of the race the skies were overcast, and immediately prior to the race the circuit contained damp patches although the weather was dry for the warm up lap. Clearly all the teams would be reviewing the weather forecasts and would have made their most educated decision. Surprisingly, after the wa rm up lap, Raikkonen drove straight into the pit lane for a pit stop. This meant he gave up his position as starting from 15th place, and had to start from the back of the field. What was Ron Dennis? team doing? The race got underway, and unlike so many starts, there was no real incident to speak of in the first corner and the first three positions were unchanged. Ralf Schumacher, who started ninth, ended up 11th after only a couple of laps, and so he did not get the greatest start of his life. DC took a very early pit stop, and changed his tyres over to slicks. Heidfeld was one of the drivers that had a good start and had jumped two places to fifth after three laps, and after lap four the Ferrari boys had a 9.5 second lead over Montoya, the 3rd place driver. Were Ferrari simply going to run away with this race after all? Villeneuve also elects for an early pit stop and changes to slicks at lap four. The gamble had paid off for those drivers who had started on the slicks. Montoya, one of those drivers gained 2 seconds a sector by lap four, and top marks to the teams which quickly saw that this could only be the tyre suitability and pulled their drivers in. Barrichello got a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Unfortunately for him his race soon ended as he hit the wall, without even managing to make it back to take his penalty. So the Ferrari team were down to one man. Frentzen pits by Lap Six, and newcomer Firman (Jordan) crashes out soon after. He seemed to come unstuck in the same place as Michael Schumacher has a spin. Schumacher pits and had a poor stop at 14.2 seconds. This puts Montoya as the new leader. The safety car is brought out and this hampers Montoya?s ability to break away from the back, as the rear runners are able to catch up. The safety car is off again by Lap twelve and Williams are 1st and 3rd with Montoya and R Schumacher respectively. Michael Schumacher is 3 seconds behind Montoya, a nd this gap increases to 4.5 seconds by lap thirteen. Schumacher is in 5th place. By lap 15, Montoya has increased the gap to 7.8 seconds. Unfortunately for the 100,000 plus Australian crowd, their man Webber drops out of the Grand Prix from 6th place with a suspension failure at the RHS rear, and DC enters the top six for the first time. More pits stops, with Trulli, R Schumacher and Montoya entering the pit lane during the same lap. This was possibly a mistake for the Williams team as they could hold up Ralf in the pit lane whilst attending to Montoya. They just about got away with it, but poor Ralf has a delay due to a problem with the Right Rear tyre. He leaves the pit lane, presumably fired up inside and spins almost immediately. He recovers quickly with no lasting damage. Another newcomer, Wilson, who drives for Minardi has a problem and pulls into the garage. The team did try and fix the problem so he could re-join the race, mainly to get some laps under their belt than to make any real impact on the race result. However this was not to be. Due to Webber's little incident the Safety Car comes out yet again. By this stage Raikkonen is leading the race and Michael Schumacher in second place. The race restarts at lap 21. With regards to the Brits, DC is now in 3rd place and Button in 5th. Heidfeld goes out at this point, but not before forcing Ralf into the gravel trap. Michael Schumacher puts the pressure on Raikkonen and attempts to overtake him. Raikkonen is having none of that and emerges from the corner retaining his lead. Raikkonen is having a great race, for someone who was 15th on the grid, and actually started last due to his pit stop after the warm up lap. By the end of lap 24 there are only 2.5 seconds between the first three runners. A mistake by BAR causes them to bring both their drivers in at the same time for pit stops. Unfortunately there was insufficient distance between them to be able to pull this off successful ly, with the net result that Button has to wait while Villeneuve takes his pit stop. This costs Button at least six places in the race. Has this effectively ended any chance for him to win points? Lap 30, and we now have a McLaren 1,2 with Michael Schumacher having pitted at lap twenty nine, having been unable to overtake Raikkonen. This is the opportunity for Raikkonen to push as hard as he can, before going in for his own pit stop in a few laps. Raikkonen was nearly 12 seconds ahead of Michael when he took his stop and manages to emerge ahead of him, while Montoya now has the lead. Olivier Panis receives a Stop and Go penalty for crossing the yellow line when emerging from the pit lane. When Frentzen pits from 3rd place, this leaves only fresh air between Raikkonen and Michael once again, but Raikkonen is now under investigation and also seems to be slowing slightly. Raikkonen receives a Stop and Go penalty too; his is for speeding in the pit lane, and he has to come in within three laps. This takes the pressure off Michael, and Raikkonen loses several places. By lap 42, Montoya takes his pit stop and ends up behind Michael but ahead of Coulthard. Now Michael runs into trouble as not one but both of his Barge boards are practically falling off. If he doesn?t come in, he could possibly be black flagged and that would end his race. We are also not sure whether he needs fuel to get to the end. Michael receives the Black and Orange flag and comes in for fuel, the barge boards having already detached themselves. He emerges in fourth place, behind Montoya, Coulthard and Raikkonen. This effectively looks like Michael will not make it to the leaders? podium for this race, and amazingly, will be the first time since September 01, that he has not led the Championship. Surely Montoya will take the ten points, with only ten laps to go? Alas for Montoya, in his determination he spins, and while he remains in the race he loses the lead to DC. By Lap 49, DC is 11 seconds ahead of Montoya, and victory looks imminent. DC manages to hold the lead for the remaining part of the 58 lap race to take the chequered flag and his first podium finish since Monaco 2002. THE RESULT 1st Coulthard ? McLaren ? 10 points 2nd Montoya ? Williams BMW 8 points 3rd Raikkonnen McLaren 6 points 4th M Schumacher ? Ferrari 5 points 5th Trulli ? Renault 4 points 6th Frentzen ? Sauber 3 points 7th Alonso ? Renault 2 points 8th R Schumacher ? Williams BMW 1 point So DC started the day with the worst qualifying position in his last 74 races and takes the chequered flag. Steve Bracks, the Premier of Victoria, awards him his winner?s trophy. CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONSHIP 1st McLaren 16 points 2 Williams BMW 9 points 3rd Renault 6 points 4th Ferrari 5 points 5th Sauber 3 points SUMMARY Well was it the new rules or is Ferrari really down on their luck? I think the uncertainty and changeability of the weather has had a lot to do with the result, but the new rules combined with the weather factors certainly made it a race worth watching, with lots of potential winners who had the race taken away from them for one reason or another. Well done DC! Helen Bradshaw March 2003

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            04.03.2002 22:25
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            What away to kick of the season with this spectacular race down under. I went to the OZZY GP when it was on the Adelaide street circuit in 1992 when I was travelling around a bit and had the best time. It costs my $48 dollars for a seat and the beer was 50p a bottle. Like the Melbourne street track, the cars really are down town and one wrong turn or flip can land them in domestic traffic or a Hungry Jacks car park. Schumachers face was nearly as red as his car as team mate Barrichelo managed to out qualify him with a bolt of fortune and guile. But that portent for the season turned at to be lucky for the World Champion after his brothers crazy move on race day. Ruebens swinging pole position line across the road on the green light had Ralph barreling into his rear and sending Michael?s younger kin in the air like a powerboat racer heavy on the throttle. The luck was with him this time as he narrowly avoided Fittipaldis 360 aerobatics and the horrific Gilles Vileneuve decapitation in 78 from a very similar accident. The carnage put nine cars out of the race on the first corner leaving the door open for the lesser teams surviving to pick up valuable points .One such driver keen to score early on was mouthy Eddie Irvine who was openly unimpressed with his money green Jaguar. It had been handling like Arthur Daleys all weekend and the Irishman looked very disinterested. But after the break smoke and dust cleared he had gone from 19th to forth in just one corner. Another driver to weave through the spinning metal was local bot Steve Webber in the notoriously under funded Minardi team who suddenly found them selves way up the rack. A pit stop early on to change the cup holder and take on beer early on was canceled as suddenly Australia had a chance of a racing and not a beer pint for the first time since the great Alan Jones in 84. The crowd loved it and cheered his every gear change along with the Ozzy team manager in Paul Stottard.Scuhey and Montoya dueled like Musketeers not for the last time this season as the cocky Colombian laid the moves on the stoic German. But the world champ one the day and romped home for victory number 54.But the message has been sent to Ferrari that the second placed driver and team in William?s are going to be right up their exhaust in this fascinating season to come. Coulthards gearbox had other plans and had him going every which way but win and out of the race mid way. The brilliant Fin Rikinan who replaced the not so flying one who lost his bottle in Mika Hakinen drove sweetly for third. Eddie kept it on the road for forth with the homeboy hero crossing the line for fifth just ahead of the spinning Miko Salo in the Toyota. The Japanese car firm are a bit like Arsenals midfielder Inamoto in that they are only really there to sell merchandise in the land of the rising sun to the exuberant race fans. The prodigal son in Webber was roared around the final few laps and enveloped by just about every Aussie as he jumped out of his car. Minardi now stands fifth in the world championship and the two points earned maybe the only ones they get all year, but also pay for 2002s expenses and costs. Critical for a small team bankrolled by the owner?s pocket. As Martin Brundle quipped after this tumultuous grand prix. Its all back to the Minardi caravan for a party of a life time. And its not often you can say that in Formula One. With only nine cars finishing and nice coming of on that turn one it was critical for the little guys to take their chance. Those who didn?t like Button have along year ahead of them. But what a great start to the season with two more early morning southern hemisphere races in Malaysia and Brazil to come .It looks like those could favor any of the top three teams leaving the middle of the year to shake out the winners and losers this year.

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              18.02.2002 04:52
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              So this is it F1 fans, a new season, full of new surprises, challenges, faces and competition. And what better way to start it, than with a 2am GMT race?! Nothing better to get you in the mood for the 17 Grand Prixs of this season, than a long night, and plenty of Fosters to get you in the mood! I'm hiring in a kangaroo for good measure. Last year saw a tragic start to the season with marshall Graham Beveridge being struck by a wheel from Jacque Villenueve's BAR, and dying from his injuries shortly after being admitted to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. If anything good is to come out of the events of last year, it is that safety will not be absolutely paramount. No chances can be taken, and with any luck, the sport will be safer than ever before. Last year's grid line-up was as follows: 1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 2. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 3. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren Mercedes) 4. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan Honda) 5. Ralf Schumacher (BMW Williams) 6. David Coulthard (McLaren Mercedes) Favoured rookie Montoya was in a very respectable 11th place in the BMW Williams. The final result was: 1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 2. David Coulthard (McLaren Mercedes) 3. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 4. Nick Heidfeld (Sauber Petronas) 5. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan Honda) 6. Kimi Raikkonen (Sauber Petronas) With slight changes to the major teams, will the outcomes be reflected this year? These are the 2003 teams: Ferrari - Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello McLaren - David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen (Mika Hakkinen has taken a year out) BMW Williams F1 - Ralf Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya Sauber Petronas - Nick Heidfeld, Felipe Massa Jordan - Giancarlo Fisichella, Takuma Sato BAR - Jacques Villeneuve, Olivier Panis Renault - Jarno Trulli, Jenson Button Jaguar - Eddie Irvine, Pedro de la Rosa Arrows F1 - Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Enrique Bernoldi European Minardi - Alex Yoong, Mark Webber Toyota (new 2003 team) - Mika Salo, Allan McNish The actual circuit is 5303 metres in circumference, with a race distance of 308km (58 laps). Last year the weather was cloudy, with a temperature of 23C. The drivers are only expected to make one pit stop for the duration of the race, often around the mid-thirties laps. So, with all that information, who are you putting your money on for the season opener? I would love to see BMW Williams do well this season, but if my money were actually on a team, I think the huge Ozzie support for Ferrari might give them a moral boost.

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                05.03.2001 03:17
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                Hi everyone and welcome to my first opinion on the 2001 Formula One season. I’m aiming to write on for each race (Though the dreaded exams may mean I have to have a break). For each race I’ll identify three drivers that are ‘heroes’ and three that are ‘villains’ as well a hero team and a villain team as well as giving my general opinion on the. Right then, that over let’s get stuck in. * The Results – Finishing Order Isn’t Everything * Once again controversy enters Formula One as the order the cars finished doesn’t match the official results. BAR’s Olivier Panis was demoted from fourth to seventh for overtaking under a yellow flag. I didn’t catch the offence on camera but as BAR aren’t appealing (yet at least) I’ll assume that it did happen. In my mind Panis loosing his points is a fair punishment. Yellow flags aren’t just a pain in the arse for drivers, they’re there for the protection of the marshals. Panis’s demotion alters the point scoring positions as follows: 10 - Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 6 - David Coulthard (McLaren) 4 - Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 3 - Nick Heidfeld (Sauber) 2 - Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan) 1 - Kimi Raikkonen (Sauber) * The Race – Season Opens with Sadness * When ITV opened coverage of the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Park the only aspect of the event that was expected to be sad was that it was the start of Murray Walkers farewell season. Unfortunately the safety car came out after a few laps, after a dramatic crash between Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve sent debris flying everywhere resulting in twelve spectators being injured and an as yet unnamed fifty year old marshal being fatally injured. As futile a gesture as it may seem to a family on the other side of the world, I’d like to add my condolences to the ever-growing list. A s this is the second time an event like this has happened there maybe calls for the sport to banned as it is to dangerous. All I can suggest to people who are thinking along these lines is that they remember that marshals are volunteers who give up their time because they enjoy the sport. Changes will surely happen as a result of recent events but if the racing was made 100% safe no-one would be able to go an see it live, it’s a unfortunate fact but it’s true. I’ve been to racing tracks and sometimes wished I could get closer to the track to get a better view but I know that there are good reasons why we are kept at the distances we are but there is still a risk. Moving spectators back far enough so that there was no chance of injury would make binoculars a requirement of any trip to a grand prix, as well as signalling the end of racing at tracks like Monaco and Melbourne Park, where there just isn’t room to move spectators back. After the safety car pulled off we were treated to a race that was more than just a procession, something there was a bit to much of last year. Schumacher attempted to disappear off into the distance but despite the difference in qualifying times, Hakkinen seemed to be able to keep with the German until a right front suspension failure pitched Mika into the tire wall at frightening speed. Despite the heavy impact Mika only suffered mild concussion. This left Schumacher leading Barrichello who was in turn leading Coulthard. The order wouldn’t stay this way though. Approaching the first corner of circuit down the main straight Coulthard closed on Barrichello, Rubens moved to the inside to cover his line. Unperturbed by this Coulthard moved to the left and drove round the outside of Rubens to claim second place. Coulthard then set off after Schumacher but didn’t really have much chance of catching him as Schumacher paced himself to the flag to take yet another win. Behind the leading four of Schumacher, Coulthard, Barrichello and Panis, a battle was developing between the rapidly recovering Frentzen in the Jordan (Having been knocked off from fourth early on by Barichello) and Nick Heidfeld. Frentzen obviously had the faster car and homed in on Heidfeld in the closing laps of the race. Despite a few will he/won’t he moments, Frentzen never committed fully to an overtaking manoeuvre. Possibly not wanting to risk loosing one championship point for a chance at two points, a score he would later get anyway after Panis’s demotion. Overall in Australia it was business as usual for Ferrari while McLaren seemed to flounder around, especially during qualifying. Williams it seems are going to be at a similar level to last year, while Jordan, Sauber and BAR have all caught up and may even be ahead of Sir Frank’s boys. Hard to say after one race really. Meanwhile, at the back of the grid, Arrows seem to have fallen even further back after Tom Walkinshaw chose a pay driver over the fairly talented Pedro De La Rosa and for reasons we may never know, last years Peugeot engine (Now branded Asia Tech). Strange choices Tom, strange choices. Minardi however have been somewhat of a revelation, or at least Fernando Alonso has. Despite Minardi only being rescued and work started on the 2001 championship six weeks ago Alonso managed a good finish beating Benetton, who have sunk to the bottom of the grid. Is it, as they claim, because their car and engine are revolutionary, or is the car just a dog? Time will tell. * Heroes and Villains * * Drivers: Heroes * Kimi Raikkonen: Melbourne Park was the young Finn’s twenty-fourth single seater race and he finished in the points! OK, he finished seventh and inherited sixth when Panis was demoted but it’s still a stunning performance. Just beats Montoya for this place, mainly because I already know Montoya’s quite a driver with some races under his belt from wat ching the Fedex series. Heinz-Harald Frentzen: I admit that I’m a bit of a Jordan/Frentzen fan but his comeback drive to fifth (Sixth until Panis’s demotion) was impressive and a sign that Jordan have bounced back as was Trulli’s drive – spoiled only by a failed Honda engine. Michael Schumacher: I don’t like the man, not one bit, but I have to admit that he got the job done pretty well in Australia. Pole on Saturday after rolling his Ferrari twice and then leading almost start to finish, pit stop aside. He also says he will look into ways of improving trackside safety and I believe he will. * Drivers: Villains * Rubens Barrichello: This isn’t about him putting Frentzen off. Or at least not directly. It’s about his comments after. Heinz just put the incident down as ‘just racing’ and was happy his Jordan had performed well. Rubens though, blamed him for the entire accident and claimed that is car was sufficiently damaged to impede his performance for the rest of the afternoon. Don’t forget that Rubens gained third place from his manoeuvre, while Heinz was sent off towards the end of the field. Sorry Rubens, but you’re acting like a spoilt child! Ralf Schumacher/Jacques Villeneuve: I’m sitting on the fence for the moment, one of these drivers caused a huge crash. It may have been Ralf giving Jacques a brake test or it may have been Jacques having a rush of blood to the head. I’m not going to guess, there is going to be an official investigation into this so I’ll let them decide. They didn’t set out to murder the poor marshal and they’re not here because of him. It was just a stupid incident. Tarso Marques: First of all, sorry Tarso – if your performance was down to car problems I apologise. The only thing is that you were way off the pace of your team-mate, you didn’t even qualify for the race. You got in on appeal and I’m not entirely sure what grounds other than your team is now Australian. * Team Hero * Minardi: Wow, that was some achievement getting the cars from nothing to twelth place for Fernando Alonso in only six weeks. Given a decent engine and some more time I think Minardi could surprise a few people. * Team Villain * Benetton: That was pathetic, yes you have a new car with a revolutionary engine but are sure it’s not a Formula Three car? More in two weeks…

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                  03.03.2001 15:38
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                  This wonderful looking circuit is a great way to break the Winter F1 Grand Prix famine and return to regular fortnightly races. Albert Park in Melbourne is the venue of the Australian Grand Prix and is nearly always bathed in sunshine and extremely popular with everybody in the sport. The 5.3km circuit encircles the lake in the middle of the park and with the palm trees along the side of the track it is a very picturesque circuit. During the rest of the year this street track is used by the public as a normal highway to drive around the edge of the lake. Even with all the cleaning and preparation that goes on before the Grand Prix event this does mean that there are always some remnants of oil and muck on the track at the start of the practice sessions. It is only by about the start of the qualifying session on the Saturday that the road surface turns more into a Grand Prix circuit with a layer of tyre rubber put down on the racing line. This slippery track does therefore sometimes lead to unexpected trips onto the grass for some of the drivers. The race is just over 300km long (58 laps) with a lap time of about 1.5 minutes, so a race is normally about 1.5 hours. The clockwise oval has 16 turns, a lot of which are quite technical, with braking from 180mph into 3rd gear turns. This leads to a lot of brake wear and in the past this had often led to a number of failures during the race. The high speed straights into slow corners does mean that overtaking is not too easy and unfortunately this does not always lead to the most exciting racing of the season. However, Albert Park always produces very fast races, often with a few surprises as the start of the season can mean that the cars are not quite set up as the teams would like. Also the reliability of any new cars is seriously tested at this track as it will be the first time that many are tried over a full Grand Prix race weekend. The qualifying days and the actual race normally leads to a full capacity crowd of over 100,000 very enthusiastic spectators, a large number of whom are very passionate Ferrari fans due the large number of Italian descendants who live in Melbourne. The only draw back for us is that the race runs in the early hours of the morning (UK time), but that is what TIVO and video recorders were made for. The challenge is making sure you do not hear or see the result anywhere before watching the recorded race. I particularly enjoy the Grand Prix at this circuit as it always seems to produce interesting races as it is the first race of the season. This race gives everyone the first opportunity to see the new cars in a race situation, any new drivers, the effects of any new regulations and any other changes that have been made over the closed season. A lot of “scene setting” seems to happen at Melbourne and often the result of this race has a great effect on the teams and the drivers, particularly during the first half of the season. If you enjoy F1 racing then you really must see the race at this splendid circuit. Unfortunately, as you are probably aware a race marshal was killed at the 2001 race following a collision between the two cars of Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher. A wheel from one of the cars hit the marshal and caused fatal injuries. A similar incident happened at Monza in the previous season, where again a marshal was killed by a flying wheel. For the 2002 season the height of the track side fencing at Albert Park has been doubled and the access points for the marshals have now been enclosed so that such an incident cannot be repeated. These marshals do a fantastic job and the sport would not be possible without them, so it is pleasing to see that actions have been taken to help secure their safety. We can now look forward to many more great races to open the F1 season.

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                    15.02.2001 01:39

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                    You might have seen me on the tele. Sitting in the crowd at the tennis, during the Australian Tennis Open. Calling out "oi oi oi" as an Aussie tends to do when a larrikin across the court calls out "Aussie Aussie Aussie" at the top of his lungs between matches. Or you might have seen me amidst the sea of the blue and yellow faced Swedes inspiring their countrymen to "work work work!", in their own tongue, if you watched the coverage. I was the one just up from the girl holding the "Dump Brooke Marry Me!" banner, a few years ago, when Agassi was playing. And the person nowhere near the men dressed up as Mary Pierce that cameras seemed to follow, the year after. I jest-- but there were cameras there to film this world class sporting event each time I have attended it; and world class it is. Accessiblility - A+ It is easy to get to Melbourne Park. Even coming from the country, by train, which I did once or twice, it is not difficult; a quick tram trip from the city gets you there .Flinders Street Station is quite close; and there are trams nearby as well. Although Melbourne Park is centrally located and easy to find, if you haven't got tickets waiting for you, I'd suggest getting there early if you have a particular match in mind. Lining up for a long time was the norm when I attended; enough to make you dizzy on a particularly hot day. The Courts: Just fine! Venus Williams I'm not, so I can't comment on the courts as a tennis player. But as a spectator, they were fine. I particularly enjoyed the outside courts,as by going there early in the tournament, I was able to see some major players strut around, quite close up. I was a bit stunned by how close Steffi was to me; just warming up one year. I got used to this in subsequent years..the big names just walk by you,early in the tournament; and you can usually see them play.Or talk to them very occasionally. The games played on Co urt 1, if popular, were a slightly different story. Once seated, well all was wonderful. But one year between sets, I had to stand in lines in 40 degree heat waiting for a break in the game ,to be seated. Decided Becker wasn't worth it and sat in the shade, with a drink . (Something I'd recommend taking, depending on the heat.)I could tell from the cheers what was happening. And it wasn't like I couldn't get the results;large score boards were updated frequently and were centrally located. And they even had computers just outside the main arena. I remember typing in the name of a player I wanted to see. Up came not only his bio, but his games schedule for the day. This main arena at Melbourne Park is now called the Rod Laver Arena, after one of our tennis legends here. I found it quite comfortable. The game was easy to see; the chairs comfortable enough; the atmosphere much more enjoyable than the television cameras ever capture. Each time I have gone I have struck friendly people,too. Talking about matches, wins, and losses was all part of the fun, here. (Between games, of course.)I haven't seen the roof closed as yet; but believe it takes around 25 minutes for this to happen if it rains. Other things you can do at Melbourne Park: One thing I love to do when there is just relax and watch the crowds. I had a picnic lunch at the Park with friends; just near the outside courts. There was grass. There were plastic tables provided. And although we were doing things cheaply, there was plenty of food and drink for sale. There were hitting competitions you could try your luck at if you fancied yourself as the next "Scud". Lots of tennis magazines you could buy. And as there were little sign posts all over the venue; any court or activity could be found with ease. And there was of course the tennis. It can get disappointing when a big name doesn't feel like putting Melbourne on the agenda, as it is so far away or too hot in Summer. But I have seen some wonderful tennis here. And as a spectator, had a wonderful time. It's a fun day out at a wonderful venue; and for me, a world class event, not far from home. For £20 a ticket it is well worth it!

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                    31.01.2001 03:31
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                    I went to the 1999 Melbourne Grand Prix and thought it was amazing! To date it is the only Formula One race I have been to, but I intend to go to more because it was a brilliant experience. The circuit itself is very close to the centre of Melbourne and is very easy to get to thanks to the excellent tram service they have through the city. It is so close that I could easily hear the cars zooming around whilst in Melbourne on the Practice days. The general admission ticket cost about £30 and was fantastic value for money. With my ticket I could walk around most of the circuit which allowed me to see the action from many perspectives. Although the prime spots were reserved for seating, you could still see plenty to appreciate the event. All in all a fantastic day of adrealin and action.

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                  Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, and many people say the capital of culture in Australia. Set out alongside the banks of the Yarra River, the city is a hot-bed of arts, theatre, has a bustling local music scene, and is a food-lover's paradise.