Hundreds flocked to Albert Park over four days for the first race of the season

The first race is always very exciting. New cars are racing, we’ve got the halo this year, new drivers, new team members… basically lots of new things, and the event side of the race isn’t any different. Each year Melbourne has the chance to show off, to set the scene, and give the fans something awesome.

Albert Park is getting bigger, better, and broader every year. Last year, instead of riding with the BajaBoard gang, I was driving with the simulation team.Β  So I was at the Industry & Innovation Precinct once again.

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At the Innovation Precinct with the fantastic CAMS team

Each year, the precinct welcomes scores of students; something it appears the Formula 1 is working on. Having spoken to some people over the course of the weekend, it seems there is a generational gap in the F1. There are lots of older people watching the Grand Prix, but it currently lacks the mass engagement from the younger audience. And it’s doing something about it. Here’s my observations from the few days.

More entertainment

Today’s generation is all about being entertained. In an age of social media, if you bring out something that is boring, your content simply gets looked over – people just scroll down or flick to the next screen. This translates to the physical world too. If an event is boring, spectators move on.

But the Grand Prix is anything but boring. There’s the usual F18 stunts, the Roulettes, the Heineken Village, DJs, and driver signings, but Melbourne turned it up a notch in 2018. This year we the event showed off all the things Melbourne is known for; it’s street art, wealth of food trucks, performances from acrobats, technology, after parties, and dance shows. Anyone from any walk of life could come to the Grand Prix and find something they enjoy.

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Some of the awesome street art (Photo credit: Judy Roller*)

On track action wasn’t left behind either. More support categories ensured fans from any era would be excited. Ferraris took too the circuit, and even RMIT University’s three cars made an appearance on the turf.

More opportunities for kids

If you’re going to engage the younger generation, why not get them when they’re kids? If you make someone a fan when they are young, you’ll most likely have them for life. Makes sense right? So that’s exactly what Formula 1 is doing.

Kids Corner at the GP was a huge hit this year. The young ones came to play, while the parents could watch the races on the big screen. With puppies to pat, a massive Max truck from Disney’s CARS, and plenty more, kids as young as four were happy to come out for a day at the track. But the F1 didn’t stop there. There’s been a lot out in the media about the grid kids and I was lucky enough to meet some of them. The look in their eyes as they walk out of the paddock is priceless. They won’t forget opportunities like this and it’s a great building block as they grow up.

If the kids weren’t lucky enough to be selected to get on the track, there was plenty more on offer. The F1 in Schools Program, CAMS Rising Stars, Dare to be Different, or the workshops in the Innovation Precinct are all fantastic opportunities for kids to start getting ahead. Not only did the precinct have seminars on engineering, robotics, 3D printers, technology, and fast cars, but there was also the opportunity to try virtual reality, check out the electric bikes, see the helicopter, learn some basic CPR, or even join in some parkhore with the experts.

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Seminars were mostly packed in the precinct

I’m of the firm belief that education is best learned through practice and hands on experience. The Grand Prix goes out of it’s way to make this happen and it’s going to keep growing every year. These kinds of opportunities are crucial to the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs and I love the effort AusGP puts into it each year.

Branding that aligns

We all know the Formula 1 changed its logo last year, but this was the first time we saw all the branding and collateral out in full force.

To be honest, I was a bit taken back by the logo when it first came out. Just like Google and Instagram, once you’re used to it, it’s weird when something changes. But I think the F1 logo is starting to grow on me. Sure it still looks a little bit like an R, but I’m becoming fond of it. It’s clean, crisp, and fits nicely on the phone screen – definitely useful in our tech age!

But I’m not here to talk about the logo, I’m here to talk about the branding – all the bits and pieces you see around the track – signs, the big AusGP letters, track flags, uniforms – all that stuff. And I can definitely say ‘all that stuff’ is certainly on point. The font aligns very nicely to modern marketing; large, blocky letters, easy to read, and very nice colours. The type of reds used are very vibrant and catches the eye nicely. Overall a fantastic job and it looks great both up close and afar.

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Blocky font makes it easy to read, and easy to do stunts like these acrobats! (Photo credit: Australian F1 Grand Prix*)

Probably the most important thing is photos! Social media is everywhere so you gotta make sure your branding looks good in images. The AusGP nailed it here! Looks great as a backdrop or off in the distance. The red makes it pop. Love it. Speaking of making pop,Β  a few nice additions to the broadcasting were made too.

Better on screen visuals

As much as I’m still waiting for the logo to really grow on me, it looks fantastic on screen. It blends in nicely with the image and the square-ish-blocky shape makes it work well without being washed out. I love the addition of the logos of each team next to the drivers’ names, and the on-screen graphics for items like interval timings, DRS, tyres, flags etc. work so well together; great use of fonts and colours. It makes a very nice touch to have these finishings and details.

Check out these visuals! If you want to get into broadcasting, this is how it’s done. (Screenshots taken from Formula 1).

There’s more to come

The AusGP and the F1 clearly stepped it up this year – Melbourne style. Almost everyone I spoke to – fans, workers, team members, kids, drivers – they all love Melbourne. They say it’s a city with fantastic culture, great atmosphere, and the Grand Prix brings all that to them. I think things are only going to get bigger, better, and broader. I think we’ll see the F1 engaging with fans in new and exciting ways, probably even tapping more into rising stars and esports! Hopefully more on these things later.

 

Well that’s all from me today. If you were down at the track, watched online, or followed the action on Twitter, let me know your thoughts on the above. Would love to hear what others enjoyed and what they think of these new things the F1 is doing.

 

* annoyingly, I was so busy running around I forgot to take heaps of photos (so unlike me!) all due credit is given to the photographers
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