Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tracking Down The Big Race

Yes, This Is The Formula One Circuit


Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


This is the circuit that the Formula One drivers will be racing on tomorrow in the Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the season. You see, Albert Park, the venue of the big race, is a street circuit that is very much a public thoroughfare for 51 weeks each year. At lunchtime on Monday, a few hours before the circuit was closed off, I decided it would be a great idea to drive through the straight and the chicanes and past pit lane and give you an idea of what it looks like.

And because this week's theme for Photo Hunt is "I Spy", I've posted a series of photographs and I want you to "spy" something. All through the week, crews have been busy putting together the myriad things that make up the necessities for the race, but there is one thing amid all that feverish activity that has to come down, not up. Your challenge is to see if you can "spy" it in these photographs ....


This is what pit lane looked like (above). It was full of massive cargo loads waiting to be unloaded - probably the most expensive single airlift into the country last weekend.

At first I thought I was trespassing because I couldn't see any other vehicles on the track, apart from the odd forklift, a ute (utility vehicle) and construction trucks and vans. Was I going to be stopped and escorted off? Then I saw the traffic cones and security personnel and I realised what I was doing was perfectly legal in the last few hours of public access.


This forklift was coming toward me and I waited till I could frame just one shot, using the bright yelow and orange, with the white chairs and canvas awning in the background - and to ensure that the forklift driver could not be identified.


This was what the gravel trap looked like on one of the bends. Of course, it was nowhere near complete - and the finished product got rather a rigorous workout yesterday as the drivers tested their new cars on the circuit and Lewis Hamilton finally beat Mark Webber's lap time for the fastest performance of the day.


As you can see, I was lucky enough to be able to stop on the track a few times - just fleetingly, to be able to take a few shots. The colours of these plastic seats caught my eye - especially as they are green and gold, the Australian colours.

Yes, there were even cars. Four of them here were waiting in the scorching heat. Look carefully and you can still see the cross-bars above the cockpits to enable the crane drivers to lift them gently onto the tarmac.


Okay, time for me to sign off now. But have you spotted the one thing that needs to come down before the race starts on Sunday? Hazard a guess - leave me a comment and tell me what you reckon!

61 comments:

aims said...

People?

CrazyCath said...

They are great photos David. I've never been to a car race. Would love it (grin).
So, since I don't know much about car racing, this is a real out of the blue guess based on what you wrote and your pictures.
The only thing I can think of is that the cross bars on the cars need to come down after the cars are lifted onto the track. And the covers on the cars need to come down. That sounds real lame but the best I can do!
Thanks for these little mind benders. You're keeping the old grey matter active while I am little able to do much else!

CrazyCath said...

Just seen aims'. Of course. That sounds good. People.

Dave Coulter said...

I'm guessing it's that "left turn ahead /20 km" sign?

Katney said...

Yeah, the sign, maybe. I know nothing of racing.

imac said...

Nice idea for I spy theme David.

Go Go Go - Lewis Hamilton.
This years Champ.

My theme is now up.

Tammy said...

I think the first picture and the last picture are my favorites!

Lori said...

I love the color in all these photographs. I wish I had more time for reading and responding. I stopped at your Sky Watch and loved the beautiful rainbow photos....was in the middle of something and didn't have time to properly address it then.

I'm always amazed at how much you write and how to coordinate such wonderful pictures and words together.

CrazyCath said...

Me one step ahead of you? ROTFLMAO!

Christina LMT said...

I figure the speed limit sign. Really nice pictures. Thank you!

SandyCarlson said...

That's amazing. What a transformation for the sake of this race.

Mushy said...

I thought for a minute you were at Bristol! Now, that would be a hoot for a good ol' Aussie...visit the rednecks up in Thunder Valley!

Seamus said...

I think that speed limit sign would be a bit out of place! Nothing like a racing event for photo ops!

Momma said...

I was thinking that maybe the fence would come down, but that would be quite an undertaking. I love your use of color in these photos. You have a good eye!

Peace - D

julie said...

David, love your shots. Hubby and son love watching F1. Well, its almost the only sport that my hubby watches.

The arrow? Is that for people? Or when the race is finished and the cars need to go near the podium? Can't really guess. Your post is great.

Have a great weekend!

Carver said...

Nice take on the theme. My guess would be the fence is coming down.

Andrée said...

This was really fascinating for me. I had to read it three times to figure out what you were talking about, but I did. I still don't know what gravel pits are for and a couple other things. And is this on city streets? Because why all of the work getting everything ready? So OK, I'm still confused, but I have 100% more knowledge about car racing now. My PH: I Spy is here. Thank you.

Napaboaniya said...

Dav! I'm feeling soooo hyper!!! I've been like a zombie ever since 2007 final race *blush*

Nothing absolutely nothing will get me outta the house tomorrow while the race is telecast!!

By the way, do check out my new photo project @ Napaboaniya APAD when you've got time and tell me what you think :)

Corey~living and loving said...

I'd say the sign. :)
great post for the theme David.
happy weekend.

D... said...

I'm hoping it's the sign that needs to be taken down!

David, my grandfather was on the submarine U.S.S. Flasher during WWII. My dad was on the U.S.S. Ethan Allan. My brother, while also in the Navy, decided not to do the submarine route. ;)

BRUNO said...

Dude! Like MUSHY said, you should make it to Bristol, before NASCAR gets too "sissy-fied" for it's own good! And, you'd be gettin' within pretty close range of "The Mush", too!

Carletta said...

It's got to be the speed limit sign! But, that might be too obvious. I better go back and look again :)

Janice Thomson said...

I'll make a haphazard guess that the lights have to come down - something turning red or green could be confusing to drivers - that's if there are any lights in that vicinity.

eastcoastlife said...

I'm looking forward to our Formula 1 Grand Prix Night Racing in September! It's different from your Australian race.

I'll probably blog about it.

Watching the Australian race LIVE in Singapore! Hope I can spy you. hehe....

Natalie said...

The fence???

quilly said...

How about the flag? And they're off!

Alex L said...

Finally the return of the one sport I care about. Unfortunately Webber didnt make the top ten, but oh well hopefully he can stick the race out.

Vienna for Beginners said...

You made my day, David, thank you!
What would I not give to be there too.

P.S.:
Wouldn't it be too cute if they all had to put the brakes on when coming around the bend? :-)))

Criz Lai said...

Hmm...sounds like the sign. I have never seen limit signs for racings before.. haha :P

Criz Lai said...

Hmm...sounds like the sign. I have never seen limit signs for racings before.. haha :P

marcia said...

very good thatis unique and scarey i had no idea such a thing existed is it safe for the town?

karen said...

wow! these are great pics! being actually there must have been exhilirating! happy weekend!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Great series, David. And I join the crowd re speed limit signs, although what do I know about F-1 races?

Have a great weekend!

RuneE said...

Interesting! Maybe Bill Gates Could have the same "Crash-testing" procedure for Windows?

Lorelee said...

wow! what a nice pictures you have. perfect for the week's theme. mine is up please pay a visit. thanks. have a happy weekend.

Dragonstar said...

Love the thought of limiting the drivers to 20kph!
Stunning shots as usual.

Mima said...

Great set of photos, and what a wonderful opportunity you had to go and take a really good nosy around just before they closed things down. I think that what is missing is all the street furniture - road signs, traffic lights & street lights!

Shrinky said...

Ha! Wonderful David. Great photo's, as ever. You've also jogged my memory of the time I marshalled at a car rally - ob boy,is that one worth writing a post on.

Cheers, my friend!

Sarge Charlie said...

I will have to come back for the answer

Akelamalu said...

Oh crikey does it start tomorrow? MWM will be glued to the telly then. :(

Cindy said...

The lift needs to come down.
Or did I miss something?
spy mine here

Hootin' Anni said...

Mine is shared....I have two hidden things in two photos...drop by and see if you can find 'em, if you haven't tried yet!! happy weekend....

Sandi McBride said...

Ah, car racing...they call us red necks for loving a car race here...does it work the same there, or is it different since it's Formulae racers not NASCAR? I can not for the life of me figure out what has to come down. If I saw a flag...I'd say it's the flag, lol...great pictures
Sandi

Love Bears All Things said...

Well, my curiosity is stirred. I can't decide what looks out of place. Surely they wouldn't take down the road sign for one day. The fence is there to protect spectators, is my guess.
Good job on the theme.
My SIL follows these and even attends one in the states.
Mama Bear

The Mama Bear said...

Awesome photos, just drove past RoadAmerica in Elkhart Lake, WI last night...still covered in snow.
Great Hunting, hope you'll pop by the Cafe for mine.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

The speed limit?

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It must have been a real buzz being able to take photos of such an event. I know absolutely nothing about racing - could do with asking my husband for this one but I'm hazzarding a guess at the speed limit sign and the turn left sign above it.

Crystal xx

Aileni said...

Something different. Myself, I'd rather ride round Phillip Island.
I guess if is trackside they'll be taking the 20km sign down and removing the stanchions.

the teach said...

Carver, is right - the fence has to come down, right, David? Something that was right in front of my eyes but I didn't see it! :D

Charles Gramlich said...

That sign that says 20 Km an hour!

Daryl E said...

What goes around .. comes around .. and around and around .. eh?

Teena said...

The Molson Indy is not far from us every July ... you can hear the vrooooooooooom of the cars and they are really really really loud!

I played too :)

whodatdare said...

The seats onthe chairs have to come down so people can sit inthe stands... At least that's my guess. Can't wait for the Super Bikes to come to Babrer's Motor Sports Tarack this April, and NASCAR comes to Talladega right after! Weeeee

Cowgirl said...

I'm guessing the 20kph sign, David?? Great shots, wish I was there - LOVE motor sports - I went when it used to be in Adelaide and got to see my hero race before he was tragically killed - Ayrton Senna. The noise even with earplugs was Something Else!!! Awesome - and you brought it all back for me!!!

ancient one said...

Maybe the fence? Good Pictures!!

leslie said...

I'm going to guess the fence has to come down. But what do I know? Regardless, love the brilliant colours in the photos! :D

jillie said...

I love the green and gold. They are also the colors of my beloved football team Green Bay Packers!

Great pictures.

BTW...thanks for the post of the day. I've had a few of your readers stop by and bid me well wishes. VERY thoughtful of you!

Enjoy the rest of your wknd

Pato & Pearl said...

Wow!!..great upfront pic of the F1 grand prix...Love the pictures. Hubby even love it more. Lots of spying around there ;)

Can't wait when it arrive in Singapore for the night race ;)

Pearl - have a good weekend or whatever left of it....

PS : continued on reading your blog, interesting...

jennifer h said...

Such colorful and well-framed photographs. I'm impressed. They catch the eye whether one follows racing or not. I'm late in this I Spy game, but I'd have to say the 20 km/h sign?

jmb said...

20 km/hr sounds a bit slow for a racing track. It's a lot of work to set it all up and take it all down again.

Lin said...

What a treat to drive the GP course before the race! My fondest memory of a GP race was nearly getting mowed down by Jacky Stewart in the pits at Mont Tremblant. Oh, what a memorably dashing figure he was, too, even though I was the one nearly dashed.