Melbourne hopes for 50,000 F1 spectators

(GMM) Melbourne is targeting crowds of up to 50,000 per day as the Australian GP returns to Formula 1 next year following March’s cancellation due to covid-19.

F1’s governing FIA confirmed this week that Albert Park will return to the top of the 2021 calendar next March.

Race boss Andrew Westacott denied that it will be a ‘ghost race’ like so many of the grands prix that have taken place amid the pandemic this year.

Andrew Westacott

“We will produce smaller modular grandstands, but we will dot them around, and they will typically be nine rows deep, and we can put new grandstands in new locations,” he told The Age.

Westacott admitted that Albert Park will be missing its usual “very large corporate facilities packed to the rafters with hospitality and fans”.

He also said drivers and team personnel will remain “in a bubble that excludes interaction with the public”.

However, Westacott said: “We can still have hospitality, a great experience, a covid-safe venue. But it will be configured differently to previous years because we will redesign these facilities.

“If there was to be 10 of them, if each zone had 3000, 4000 or 5000 capacity, that means you have a venue with up to 50,000 people,” he revealed.

Westacott explained that the actual maximum spectator number will be “decided by health authorities”, and did not rule out asking Formula 1 for a discounted race fee due to the forced lower attendance.

“If there are adjusted conditions we will discuss those in a confidential manner with our partners,” he said.