It’s the new race that stops the nation – the Australian Formula One Grand Prix drew an attendance of 421,000, making it the biggest weekend sporting event in the country’s history.
It also surpassed the F1 crowd record of 400,000 set at the United States Grand Prix last year, breaking the record for the most people at any Formula 1 grand prix anywhere in the world since the start of the pandemic.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc led from start to finish to win his second race of the year, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ George Russell rounded out the podium. Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth.
But there was plenty of action off the track too as fans flocked to Albert Park to enjoy the race, plus the parties and activations in Melbourne.
Figures compiled by National Australia Bank estimate that the four-day racing event injected $38million into the local economy, with most of the money spent at retailers, restaurants and bars.
NAB predicted spend at bars and pubs in the Albert Park precinct to be up by a whopping 140%, fast food restaurants were expected to see a 50% jump in turnover, while accommodation spend was expected to be up 33%.
Getting the party started
A swag of drinks companies have scored a piece of the high-octane action via partnerships with the Grand Prix, drivers and teams. Celebrations kicked off with the Glamour on the Grid party at the Paddock Club on April 6.
According to The Age: “Stepping into the Australian Grand Prix’s Glamour on the Grid party trackside at the two-storey pleasure palace constructed by hotel sponsors Marriott Bonvoy and Ritz-Carlton was like entering an Instagram story where the filters were set to smokin’ hot. It was that next level.”
Idle Hour was the official vodka partner of the Grand Prix.
“We were blown away by the response to this exciting partnership,” the company said. “Our trackside and VIP bars in M-Lane were packed from early Thursday morning and we were proud to see Idle Hour cocktails and the Idle Hour vodka + soda range in hands across Albert Park from over 30 public bars, corporate suites and in participating venues across the city.”
Peroni Libera 0.0% hosted a black tie cocktail party on Friday night at Di Stasio Citta to launch its official partnership with the Aston Martin F1 Team.
The brand welcomed celebrity guests including supermodel Shanina Shaik along with Aston Martin F1 Team Ambassador and James Bond stunt driver, Jessica Hawkins. Actors David Wenham and Dan MacPherson.
From April 9-10 major sponsor Heineken took over South Yarra institution The Emerson, with live music and live streaming of the race.
Daniel Ricciardo and St Hugo Chief Winemaker Peter Munro came together to celebrate the launch of the new vintage of DR3 X St Hugo wines this week.
Held at W Melbourne, Peter and Daniel led guests through a tasting of the two limited edition releases – a 2018 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon and 2020 South Australia Shiraz. Accompanying the new vintage release is also a special edition hand-blown glass ‘Ricciardo Decanter’, inspired by Daniel’s podium celebration ritual and modelled on his own racing shoe.
Reporters do viral shoeys
Two reporters also went viral for doing shoeys on live TV using fans’ footwear at the Grand Prix.
Fox Sports News reporter Drew Jones was doing a live cross when he was interrupted by an Aussie fan who pushed his way into the frame and did a shoey out of his sneakers.
The fan screamed: “I love Daniel Ricciardo!”, to which a bemused Jones responded, “Well we’ve got to let this happen”, and allowed him to take centre stage.
In hilarious scenes, the young man then topped up his shoe with the beverage and offered it to Jones, who obliged and took a gulp from the shoe.
Sky Sports pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz was mingling in the paddock with a throng of Ferrari fans celebrating Leclerc’s win when he too was offered a shoey.
A fan poured a can of Heineken into his shoe and Kravitz decided he had no choice but to commit to the shoey.