Working the 2018 Formula 1 Grand Prix was an unforgettable experience that seemed to go by at the speed of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.
This year’s Grand Prix was a fun-filled experience that took over Albert Park, Melbourne during the weekend of 22 March – 25 March. The Grand Prix extended across a large portion of Albert Park and housed a 5.3 km circuit, various food trucks and booths, VIP areas, Heineken Village, the Chicane Pavilion, corporate suites, and much more.
Spectators from all over Australia and the world came together to enjoy food, drinks and thrilling racing. Excited fans piled in each day of the Grand Prix, buzzing and ready for a new day of racing.
Within the gates of the Grand Prix was over 200 Octopus staff. Octopus helped to fill various roles such as food and beverage attendants, baristas, chefs, and bar attendants. Through Octopus, I had the opportunity to work as a bar and food and beverage attendant at the Grand Prix over the course of the 4-day event.
On the first day of the Grand Prix I catered to the drivers and teams who took part in the Ferrari Challenge. While I was not working this area on Sunday, the final day of the Grand Prix, the atmosphere in this area was that of excitement and celebration as Vettel flew across the finish line. Colleagues had the thrill of celebrating with those in the Ferrari Challenge area as Ferrari pulled the win at the 2018 Grand Prix. Champagne was flowing and cheers that could be heard from kilometres away filled the suite as celebrations were at their peak.
Several hundred metres away at the corporate suites similar cheers were heard as excited spectators celebrated their favourite drivers crossing the finish line. The corporate suites offered clear views of the racetrack and offered an excellent viewpoint to watch as the cars raced by in each race. If you couldn’t see the cars as they raced by, you could certainly hear the loud vroom as they rounded the corner. Similarly, when a car wiped out or crashed you could see a cloud of dust hover up from the sides of the track and smell the burnt rubber of the tyres.
Each day started with a canapé breakfast featuring breakfast rolls and burritos. As midday approached we set up and served a buffet lunch including chicken, beef, prawn, and rice dishes with side salads and bread rolls.
Drinks were flowing (responsibly) from morning into the early evening. Guests started the day with coffee, tea, and orange juice switching to G.H. Mumm champagne, beer, bourbon and cokes, vodka lime sodas, and gin and tonics as the day progressed.
On Sunday, the bar in our suite was extremely busy for at least 3 hours straight. Despite the constant business and stress of the fast pace of the afternoon we managed to stay above the tidal wave of orders and maintain a high level of service. It could not have been done without the strong team efforts of each and every staff member. And really, where’s the fun in a shift without a few challenges?
The work was not all easy and the long hours certainly contributed to end-of-day exhaustion. However, the work atmosphere was enough to kick-start a positive attitude for the next day.
As a food and beverage and bar attendant in the Corporate Suites I had the opportunity to make and serve drinks and delicious food throughout the weekend to a great group of guests. Each guest was so kind, appreciative and fun the whole weekend, which fostered a work environment that you couldn’t help but look forward to every day. My role also gave me the chance to chat and get to know the guests, which added to the overall positive experience working at the Grand Prix.
As a Canadian expat working in Australia, it provided me with the opportunity to socialize and get to know Australians from various cities around the country as the Grand Prix brings individuals from all over.
Overall, the weekend of the F1 Grand Prix truly raced by. Looking back at the time spent working, I can honestly say that the experience was unforgettable. Until next year, F1 Grand Prix!