Foster's Australian Grand Prix Starts In Top Gear
The opening day attendance at the 2002 Foster's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park was 51,300.
It was the second biggest first-day crowd since the Grand Prix came to Melbourne seven years ago.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief executive John Harnden described it as "a fantastic start to the 2002 Foster's Australian Grand Prix". Today's attendance was 1,700 higher than the opening day at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.
"The track action has been terrific for the fans," Mr Harnden said. "Apart from the many support categories on the track today -- the Netspace V8 Supercars, the Cleanevent Nation's Cup, the Karcher Formula FordTrackAttack, the Shannons Historic Touring Cars and the Tattersall's Historics -- fans also got a taste of Formula One with the two Minardi two-seater F1 cars in action."
Olympic gold medallist speed skater Steven Bradbury and BHP-Billiton's Brian Gilbertson were the lucky passengers who experienced first-hand the thrill of Formula One.
The only bigger first-day crowd than today at a Grand Prix in Melbourne was in 1996, when Formula One cars were on the circuit on the Thursday as it was a new venue in the FIA Formula One World Championship.
The 2002 Formula One field of 22 cars and drivers -- including Australia's Mark Webber - will be on track for the first time tomorrow (Friday, March 1) at 11am for a one-hour practice session, with another one-hour practice session at 1pm.