With Formula One in the middle of its offseason, the dream of driving on a Grand Prix circuit is especially vivid for many motorsport fans, including myself. However, not many are willing to steal a car and speed on public roads to fulfill that dream.
This morning in Melbourne’s Albert Park, eyewitnesses spotted a Holden Astra traveling at high speed. Albert Park is the home of Formula One’s Australian Grand Prix. The Astra was driving northbound on Lakeside Drive, the opposite direction compared to when F1 cars use the road as a portion of the circuit.
The driver of the Astra lost control, smashed through bollards lining the road and then crashed into a roadside tree. The small four-door hatchback came to a rest near the edge of the park’s lake. The smoke emitting from the Astra quickly turned into flames. Bystanders came to the rescue of three occupants inside the vehicle, a female driver, a female passenger and a male passenger. All three were taken to a nearby hospital and are reported in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.
While okay physically, the Astra’s occupants might be in trouble legally. Local law enforcement believes the Holden Astra involved in the crash was stolen from the nearby suburb of Mentone, 12 miles southeast of Albert Park. Lakeside Drive was also recently resurfaced and reconfigured for future F1 races. The road is still a work zone with a posted maximum speed of 40 km/h (24.8 mph).
Organizers made Lakeside Drive even faster for Formula One cars. Though, it’s not fast enough to be flat-out in a production four-door hatchback. The changes are meant to create new overtaking opportunities during the race at Albert Park. F1 fans will be able to see if those amendments are successful during the 2022 season, ending Melbourne’s two-year absence from the world championship.