The idea of hosting a Formula One race was first mooted in the early 1980s. Businessman Bill O'Gorman put together a proposal with the the backing of South Australia's Premier John Bannon, the aim being to liven the state capitol's slightly dull image, compared with Melbourne or Sydney. A meeting in London with Bernie Ecclestone followed, with the delegation emerging with a seven year contract to host Australia's first Formula One event.
With the contract secured, the State put senior civil servant Dr. Mal Hemmerling in charge of the project. Various laws had to be passed to allow racing to take place on the streets and a site around Victoria Park Racecourse hippodrome was chosen as the venue. Engineer Bob Barnard was engaged to create a course which incorporated a purpose built section of road in the centre of the racecourse and several nearby city roads.
Various federal and state grants were obtained to fund the works, which saw the construction of 2,142 concrete barriers, over four miles of wire fencing and temporary pit buildings and grandstands. All were designed in such a way that they could be quickly assembled each year for the race, before being packed away and put in storage.
In late 1993, it was announced that the city of Melbourne had signed a deal to host the Grand Prix, starting in 1996.
Adelaide has always been that rarity: a street course with a minimum of right angle bends. This is because when the city was originally laid out, the central core was entirely circled by parkland, and the track took advantage of this. To the southeast of the core, the city had an oval horse racing track. Disused and falling into disrepair, the organizers decided to use the infield of the track to construct part of the circuit with the pits and paddock. The original plan was to use the old grandstands behind the pits, in addition to temporary stands all long the start/finish straight.
Adelaide is a vibrant city that knows how to organize an entertaining event, so it was no surprise that after Melbourne 'stole' away the Grand Prix in the mid-1990s, a shortened version of the street circuit was revived for the local V8 Supercars. The new event is Australia's largest domestic motor sport event and has become a four-day festival of speed and music which is unsurpassed even by the Grand Prix.
The following is a list of Formula One World Championship events held at the Adelaide street circuit:
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