The Paddock Club hosts hordes of international corporates who mingle with WAGs and celebrities on race weekend. At its entrance, a sign lists the marquees overlooking the racetrack’s main straight: Rolex, Qantas, Ferrari…
In the Ferrari Lounge, Victoria’s Sports Minister Martin Pakula told The Age: “Melbourne does events like this better than anyone in the world, and Formula One management agree with that.
“We’re the only city on the planet that has a grand prix and a grand slam – it gives the city a special vibe like no other.”
TV celebrity correspondent Richard Reid, agrees: “I don’t know everything there is to know about racing, but I love people and love excitement … it’s the type of thing you only get in Melbourne,” he said.
“You won’t catch Sydneysiders doing anything like this.”
It’s rare for an event with such an enormous corporate infrastructure to also cater for regular punters, and kids, so well.
As the Aperol spritzes flowed in corporate suites, the sound of beer cans being cracked permeated around Albert Park’s Brocky’s Hill, a grassy general admin area where punters can let their hair down.
Andrew Marchesani travelled to Melbourne with his two sons from Perth. They are, naturally, fans of West Australian Ricciardo.