Track action started at the Australian Grand Prix today (Thursday) where the wide range of support categories held practice and qualifying sessions. Getting these out of the way today means spectators who arrive on Friday to watch Formula One practice will be treated to actual racing on the support schedule instead of being stuck with more practice sessions. In fact, there is a touring car race on Friday just 30 minutes after the gates open! Fans at Albert Park will be treated to 11 races in total over the weekend, plus a heap of other on-track displays, which helps justify the huge cost of a ticket.
Why don’t all other Grand Prix venues hold support category qualifying on Thursday so the racing can start on Friday? Most of them have absolutely nothing on Thursdays. It’s an easy way to add value to the event and it has proven to work well every year in Melbourne. It’s a shame that in a sport as globalised as F1, some promoters make significantly less effort than others.