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Old 7 Apr 2022, 13:30 (Ref:4105667)   #1
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Australian Grand Prix 2022: Grand Prix Weekend Thread - Round 3

The Australian Grand Prix in some way bookends the state of the pandemic, as the world now goes from tentatively to increasingly boldly emerging from restrictions. It was two years ago that the Formula 1 circus arrived in Melbourne to raise the curtain on the season, a curtain which remained down after several paddock cases of the pesky virus and the global situation made the race untenable and events did not even get as far as Free Practice. Now, Albert Park keenly resumes racing and is back with a modified version of its circuit.

Given the previous difficulty in overtaking in Albert Park, the positivity nonetheless bestowed upon this venue goes some way to explaining how well it has done to enter people's affections. Visitors often comment on how the city comes even more to life at the presence of Formula 1 and most will doubtless have a warm feeling about the return of a staple of the sport.


The history

For a population of around 25 million, Australia has had a decent return of results on the international stage, most notably with two world champions in Sir Jack Brabham (a three-time one, once, most impressively, with his own Brabham car) and Alan Jones, and more recently, Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo repeat winners. Despite this, an Australian has never won a Formula 1 World Championship Australian Grand Prix and McLaren's current form sadly makes 2021 Italian Grand Prix winner Ricciardo look unlikely to rectify that fact.

The Grand Prix has a much more extensive history than solely the championship. The first race formally recorded as such is the 100 Miles Road Race on Phillip Island in 1928, with cars in four classes (up to 750cc, 751-1100cc, 1101-1500cc and 1501cc to 2000cc) and won by Arthur Waite in an Austin. Race victories were then taken by Bugattis (mostly Type 37, 37A and 39) until 1932. From this year, the race was run on a handicap system, with entrants starting at intervals, and held for cars up to 2000cc. The following year, the event was opened up to 2300cc engines and won by Bill Thompson's Riley Brooklands, with Bob Lea-Wright's Singer Nine winning in 1934. 1935 was a return to the 2000cc limit and MGs mostly dominated the finishing list with Les Murphy's MG P Type the victor.

With the end of the Phillip Island event, a 1936 race (on 26th December) was retrospectively classified as the 1937 Australian Grand Prix, and took place on closed public roads between Port Elliot and Victor Harbor, and was for factory-built and catalogued racing cars and sports cars, with no engine capacity limit. Les Murphy's MG P-type won in a little under four hours.

Bathurst's Mount Panorama track saw its inaugural event when the Grand Prix meeting arrived in 1938 and was held over 40 laps of the 3.8-mile circuit. In a field of Australians, the event saw two British drivers turn up, and one of them, Peter Whitehead, took victory, his status as a scratch handicap competitor perhaps assisting him, in an ERA B Type 1.5l.

The town of Lobethal organised the 1939 Grand Prix. There were 8.6 miles to the circuit and 17 laps, and the MG TA 1.3L of Allan Tomlinson won at an average speed of 84mph.

Post-war, the Australian Grand Prix alternated between various states, including races on airfield tracks and street circuits, and was run to Formula Libre rules. They included Bathurst, Point Cook, Leyburn, Nuriootpa, Narrogin, South Port, Port Wakefield, Caversham, Longford, Mallala, Warwick Farm, Sandown, Lakeside, Surfers Paradise, Oran Park, Wanneroo, Calder and, Albert Park, the latter in 1953 and 1956. Jack Brabham took his first Australian Grand Prix victory in 1955 in a Cooper T40 Bristol 2-litre. The old Albert Park circuit, incidentally, was run on a similar layout to today's, but went anticlockwise instead.

Lex Davison and Bill Patterson shared the victory at Caversham in 1957, while future world champion Alan Jones's father Stan won at Longford the next year. In 1964, the rules stated that cars must comply with the Australian National Formula or Australian1 ½ Litre Formula. In 1968 at Sandown Park, Jim Clark (Lotus 49T) pipped Chris Amon (Ferrari 246T) at the post by 0.1 seconds, but the following year Amon won, leading home Derek Bell for a Scuderia Veloce 1-2 in their Ferraris.

The 1970 edition at Warwick Farm was held for Formula 5000, 2.5-litre Australian Formula 1 and Australian Formula 2 machinery and marked the first time since 1956 that the Grand Prix did not form a round of either the Tasman Series or the Australian Drivers' Championship. Frank Matich won and repeated the feat the following year, this time in his own car. The rest of the 1970s featured few Formula 1 drivers, but 1980 at Calder Park saw World Championship Formula 1 cars permitted and home hero and newly-crowned world champion Alan Jones competed in his Williams with his own entry. In the race he tangled with Bruno Giacomelli's Alfa Romeo and the Italian emerged in the lead. Jones got him back, though, and he made himself and Stan the first father-and-son to have won the Australian Grand Prix. Jones remains the last Australian to have won the race.

The following year, it was a Brazilian driver and Graham Watson Motor Racing 1-2 with Roberto Moreno leading home Nelson Piquet from Geoff Brabham in his private entry (all in Ralt RT4-Fords, the machinery which was to take victory up to 1984). 1982 saw an Australian fail to be on the podium for the first time since 1968, this time with French drivers taking the top two slots, and Alain Prost winning from Jacques Laffite. In 1983, John Smith took the final podium for an Australian until the present day (not including Mark Webber actually standing on the podium after finishing in 5th place in the Minardi on his debut), with a 2nd place. Roberto Moreno won both this year and the following one.

Australia joined the Formula 1 World Championship in 1985 with the Adelaide street race. In the first event, Niki Lauda led on his final Grand Prix, until retiring with brake failure, while Keke Rosberg won in his McLaren from the Ligiers of Jacques Laffite and Philippe Streiff, the latter completing the podium despite having just three wheels properly attached to his car, with his front axle damaged after touching his team-mate.

1986 was the scene of Nigel Mansell’s dramatic failure to take his first championship. He headed into the race battling team-mate Nelson Piquet (seven points behind Mansell) and McLaren’s Alain Prost (six behind) for the title, and was set to take it when, while in a comfortable 3rd position on Lap 64, his left-rear tyre exploded and Nigel struggled to control it, the blow-out ending in a minor touch with the barrier at the end of a straight. Piquet now led, but Williams made a precautionary stop for him, and Prost came through for race victory and his first championship win. Alan Jones competed in his and Haas's final race (with the new incarnation of the team arriving in Australia in 2016).

1987 witnessed a Ferrari 1-2. Gerhard Berger led home Lotus's Ayrton Senna, but the Brazilian was later disqualified for oversized brake ducts. Michele Alboreto took the slot, while Thierry Boutsen completed the retrospective podium for Benetton. Prost beat his new team-mate and new world champion Senna in 1988, while 1989 was a wet one, stopped after 70 laps with 11 scheduled to run. Boutsen won for Williams. Pierluigi Martini, having qualified an excellent 3rd in his Minardi, came home for the final point in 6th.

Piquet won in his Benetton from the Ferraris of Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost in 1990, while 1991 saw the shortest Grand Prix ever held (until Belgium last year). Held in atrociously wet conditions, Senna won from Mansell and Berger, when the race was called off after a mere 14 laps. Mansell and Berger had both gone out of the race, but the early stoppage rules meant that the results went back one lap, when they had still been running. The following year, Gerhard Berger took the win for McLaren, with the Benettons of Michael Schumacher and Martin Brundle filling the other steps on the podium. World championship-winning Williams saw both their cars go out, Patrese due to an engine failure and Mansell retiring following a botched move from Senna, which also saw the Brazilian have a DNF.

1993 is remembered as Ayrton Senna's final Grand Prix victory. Williams pair Alain Prost and Damon Hill followed him home and Senna and Prost's chumminess on the podium seemed to end their long-standing feud.

A year later, the Formula 1 climate had changed. The dramatic denouement of the championship battle saw Schumacher drive into Hill in a desperate last-moment bid to save his season after he had gone off and brushed the wall. Hill, having not seen the incident, did not hang back in his attempts to pass and was soon brought into the pits, handing the German the first of his still record-breaking seven titles. Meanwhile, Nigel Mansell, like Senna a year earlier, took his final Grand Prix win.

A race of attrition in 1995 featured some unusual key players, with just eight finishers and a dominant Damon Hill sealing the win by 2 laps. Olivier Panis somehow made it home 2nd in his Ligier, in spite of a messy oil leak, while Gianni Morbidelli got Arrows’s penultimate podium and last for a year and a half before Hill took his runner-up slot in Hungary. It was in practice that Mika Häkkinen suffered his big impact with the wall and he was in a bad way. Impressively, he managed to return by the next race the following season, which was also the Australian Grand Prix, with the revival of the Albert Park track.

Jacques Villeneuve had something of a sensational debut, with pole position and almost the win, before an oil leak caused by an off-track excursion handed it to that season's eventual world champion Hill. Martin Brundle had a dramatic barrel-roll on the opening lap, but made the re-start in the spare car. In 1997, new world champion Hill was out before the start with a jammed throttle in his Arrows. Ferrari's Eddie Irvine eliminated himself, Villeneuve and Johnny Herbert at the first corner. World champion team Williams's new signing Heinz-Harald Frentzen was running well and closing up on leader David Coulthard and Ferrari's Michael Schumacher. Schumacher made an unscheduled stop and Frentzen moved into second, but retired when a brake disc failed, promoting his compatriot back into second, with Coulthard winning for McLaren.

In 1998, McLaren dominated the first race of the new regulations with the narrower cars and grooved tyres, although there was controversy when David Coulthard was forced to move over for Mika Häkkinen, following a pre-race agreement about whoever got into the first corner first being given the right to win. That year's eventual world champion had done just that, but received an erroneous call asking him to pit, leaving Coulthard in the lead, which Coulthard conceded. Häkkinen took his second ever and second straight win, while Bridgestone tyres took their first.

The next year certainly did not go according to plan for McLaren. Firstly, the Stewarts of Rubens Barrichello and Johnny Herbert had oil leaks on the grid with small fires, and the start was aborted. Then, on the next start, Häkkinen, on pole, eventually got going just before the final car left the grid and took up his place, but Schumacher stalled behind Häkkinen and had to start from the back. Häkkinen slowed from the lead with throttle problems on Lap 18 and retired shortly after, while second-placed Coulthard had earlier gone out with a transmission failure. Ferrari's Eddie Irvine took his first Grand Prix win, ahead of Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen. With only eight finishers, there were other unusual placings, with the Arrows of Pedro de la Rosa (a point on his debut) and Toranosuke Takagi in sixth and seventh.

The 2000 race saw a similar occurrence for McLaren, this time both cars going out with Mercedes engine failures, first second-placed Coulthard, then leader Häkkinen. Michael Schumacher won for the first time in Australia, from new team-mate Rubens Barrichello. In 2001, a collision between Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher, in which a wheel from the Canadian's car got through a gap in the fence, caused the death of marshal Graham Beveridge. Schumacher won the race, while debutant Kimi Räikkönen (like De la Rosa a year previously), took a point on his debut in sixth.

In 2002 and for the third year running, there was a points-paying finish for a first-time starter, this time Mark Webber's turn in the Minardi, scoring two points for fifth. He and team boss Paul Stoddart even featured on the podium after the top three had gone. Also, like two years previously, there were just eight finishers, as many were eliminated in a first-corner collision. Michael Schumacher was a familiar winner, though. In 2003, Schumacher ended his podium-finishing run, which had lasted since Monza 2001, after tangling with Räikkönen. He made it to 4th. It was also the first race in 54 without a Ferrari podium. Juan Pablo Montoya spun at the first corner while leading, handing David Coulthard his final Grand Prix win.

Schumacher and Barrichello finished way out in front of Fernando Alonso's Renault in 2004, but in 2005, Renault were on form, Giancarlo Fisichella taking the victory and Alonso again coming home 3rd. Jarno Trulli had been running in 2nd in the Toyota, but dropped back with a blistered rear tyre. Michael Schumacher, who had qualified well down the field after being too late to set a time before heavy rain, collided with Nick Heidfeld.

Schumacher had another scruffy one in 2006, qualifying just 11th and crashing out. Alonso won from the McLaren of Räikkönen and the Toyota of Trulli.

After a year as the third round of the season, Melbourne reverted to being the season opener in 2007, with a new feel to the sport. With Schumacher gone and in his first retirement, the top three finishers were all new to their teams (the only Formula 1 race this has happened, if you discount the inaugural F1 race at Silverstone in 1950) and, in Hamilton's case, to Formula 1. Räikkönen won on his Ferrari debut, while McLaren's Fernando Alonso finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who was making his first start. Hamilton had made quite an impression, overtaking Alonso on Lap 1.

In 2008, Hamilton beat Robert Kubica to pole, but the BMW driver was out after colliding with Kazuki Nakajima. The McLaren man won from Heidfeld and Williams's Nico Rosberg. As with some previous years, there were just eight classified finishers. A year later, the Brawn team, rising from the ashes of the defunct Honda effort, dominated, with Jenson Button coming home to win from Rubens Barrichello. Trulli completed the podium, but was given a time penalty for overtaking Lewis Hamilton under safety car conditions. After some wrangling about the incident, he was later reinstated in the position, while Hamilton was disqualified and McLaren got in trouble for misleading the stewards about whether they had given an instruction to the driver about letting Trulli back past. For the second year in a row Kubica tangled with someone, this time with Sebastian Vettel.

In 2010, Melbourne hosted the second round and Button won in his second race for McLaren, while Kubica got second, after starting back in ninth. The race started damp, but Button timed his switch to slicks perfectly.

After Bahrain's cancellation, Melbourne took up its place once again as the season opener in 2011, an honour it held until 2020, and Sebastian Vettel won from Hamilton and Renault's Vitaly Petrov, with Button beating Hamilton off the line in 2012 to win from Vettel and his team-mate. Lotus's Kimi Räikkönen won in 2013 from Alonso and Vettel.

The 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine made its debut in 2014 and Nico Rosberg, like Alan and Stan Jones, made himself and Keke a father-and-son combination to win the Australian Grand Prix. Kevin Magnussen took 2nd on his Formula 1 debut and fellow McLaren driver Button took his final podium placing in third, although he didn't stand on it, after home driver Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from 2nd for breaking fuel flow rules. Mercedes drivers dominated the following year, with Hamilton leading Rosberg home. They finished about thirty seconds up the road from Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

Hamilton slipped down the order at the start the following year, but battled back to 2nd behind Rosberg, while Vettel claimed 3rd. Haas grabbed a point with Romain Grosjean on its debut. In 2017, Sebastian Vettel got Ferrari’s season off on the right footing with victory from eventual world champ Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas completed the podium for Mercedes.

In 2018, Hamilton was the filling in a Ferrari sandwich, with Vettel winning. Hamilton had been leading, but Mercedes claimed that a software glitch did not calculate the gap they needed to Vettel to stop him being jumped by the German during a safety car period.

Then, a year later, Bottas led home a Mercedes 1-2 by just over 20 seconds from pole-sitter Hamilton, and took the fastest lap, which now earned drivers a point for the first time since 1959. Max Verstappen completed the podium in the Red Bull.

What are your Australian Grand Prix memories?


The track



The Albert Park circuit requires a good front end for various parts of the lap and is one of the tracks with a high average speed. Turns 1 (Brabham) and 2 (Jones) form a quick chicane with a long exit. Turn 1 is wider than before

The next straight is never quite straight, making Turn 3 (Whiteford) a slightly tricky 90 right where lock-ups often send drivers off. Turn 4 often requires a lift of the throttle in race trim and Turn 5 is a quick flick right. Turn 6 is a 90 right and much wider than previously.

7 and 8 are more part of the next straight. There is no longer a chicane here. You can carry reasonable speed into 9 (Clark), as the track is fairly open on the exit (10) and leads to a vital straight. 11 and 12 are a short high-speed left and right (with Turn 11 now cambered and tightened) and again crucial in terms of carrying speed all the way to the next bends, the 90 rights 13 (Ascari, also widened) and 14 (Stewart). 15 is a tighter stop, where drivers must soon settle the car on the exit to provide them with their wide exit at the lap-ending Turn 16.


Trivia

Lex Davison and Michael Schumacher are tied on the highest number of Australian Grand Prix wins by driver, with four apiece. Sebastian Vettel would equal them if he took victory in Melbourne this Sunday. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, has just two wins, despite being on pole seven times. Of the current crop of drivers, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas have all won.

Hamilton has been on pole for the last six Australian Grands Prix.

If he takes pole this weekend, it will be his ninth at the Grand Prix. No-one has ever taken as many poles at one World Championship Grand Prix.

No Australian has finished on the Formula 1 World Championship Australian Grand Prix podium and kept the result. Ricciardo was later disqualified from 2nd in 2014, although he had at least stood on the podium.

The most successful constructors are Ferrari and McLaren, who are tied on 12 wins. Mercedes have a long way to go to catch that with just four.

Only one driver has taken his first Formula 1 win in the Australian Grand Prix - Eddie Irvine in 1999.

By contrast, Keke Rosberg (1985), Ayrton Senna (1993), Nigel Mansell (1994) and David Coulthard (2003) all took their final F1 wins in the Australian Grand Prix.


Other information

Circuit length: 5.278 km
Number of laps: 58
Race distance: 306.124 km
Race lap record: n/a
Dry weather tyre compounds: C2, C3 & C5
First Australian Grand Prix: 1928
First World Championship Grand Prix: 1985
First Grand Prix at this circuit: 1996
First Grand Prix on this configuration: 2022

Join in the fun with the Predictions Contest and Fantasy F1!

https://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=157032

https://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=156986

Last edited by Born Racer; 10 Apr 2022 at 05:31.
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Old 7 Apr 2022, 15:19 (Ref:4105691)   #2
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Great intro BR - thank you. The Australian Grand Prix has a long and rich history as you illustrate so well, with some really cool stories and venues long before the World Championship had a round here.

Looking forward to this weekend, it is something of a bookend moment not just for F1 on either end of the virus but very much so for Melbourne - as the city that statistically had the world's longest lockdown period due to Covid, having the AGP back is a key part of convincing everyone here that we truly are living with the virus and getting our lives back to something close to normal.

Oh and it'll be a "de-blinged" grid for Sunday's race - long time since I've seen a reminder about that issued to drivers.
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Old 7 Apr 2022, 16:41 (Ref:4105699)   #3
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TrapezeArtist should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTrapezeArtist should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTrapezeArtist should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTrapezeArtist should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
How long did it take you to research that?!!!!!!!!
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Old 7 Apr 2022, 17:11 (Ref:4105706)   #4
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Great stuff BR.... many thanks and much appreciated.
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 06:51 (Ref:4105760)   #5
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Dixie Flatline should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Sitting in the Brabham stand on the first turn. Will be my home basically for the next two days. Been wonderful autumn weather and it's going to be fairly warm (mid twenties) and fine and sunny for qualifying and race day.

Stroll just managed to cause a red flag by breaking off pieces of his car by running over the kerb.
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 06:51 (Ref:4105761)   #6
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Dixie Flatline should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Cars back out on track with about nine minutes in the session left.
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 07:02 (Ref:4105763)   #7
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Have quite a few memories of the Australian Grand Prix. Went to the first one in Melbourne in 1996. My late father was a Hill fan and I was a Villeneuve fan from his time in Indy Cars. I was happy to see Jacques start from pole and gutter that he basically threw away a debut win. Some 22 years later, actually got to meet Jacques at a Australian Grand Prix event and listen to him talk about Formula One. Was unfortunate that he allowed his manager to sidetrack his career.

Went to the 2005 grand prix with my wife. Webber crashed out early. After the race we wandered to behind the pit paddock complex. My wife had an Australian flag on her shoulders. A random stranger approached her and offered my wife his pit pass. Turned out it was Mark Webber's father. My wife went up and down the back of the pit paddock getting autographs from drivers. She also managed to congratulate Fernando Alonso in Spanish for coming third (from memory it was the year Fisichella won).

Been to plenty of races here over the years and I'm so glad that it's back, though it's bitter sweet as I was going to go to the cancelled 2020 race with my father and he unfortunately passed away earlier this year so we never got to go to the race after 2018 (we skipped 2019).
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 07:49 (Ref:4105774)   #8
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Hopefully the track changes and new regs will result in a better race than the last few at this track.
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 08:20 (Ref:4105776)   #9
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Sodemo should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSodemo should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSodemo should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSodemo should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
I applaud the track changes on the one hand because it hasn't resulted in barriers moved 500m away and tarmac runoff at every corner, however I am puzzled as to what they were trying to achieve with the flat out section at the back, because you are unlikely to get any passing into that fast chicane.
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 09:25 (Ref:4105786)   #10
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The track changes have certainly not done any harm, it's still a tough circuit that's not for the faint hearted. Certainly there's a nice flow to it. I feel they needed to make it faster and give the drivers and fans something to get excited about
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 13:15 (Ref:4105826)   #11
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Beau2 has a lot of promise if they can keep it on the circuit!
I've missed Albert Park. It's usually a good race with some incidents. It will be interesting to see how the new layout might affect the racing.
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 13:24 (Ref:4105827)   #12
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I applaud the track changes on the one hand because it hasn't resulted in barriers moved 500m away and tarmac runoff at every corner, however I am puzzled as to what they were trying to achieve with the flat out section at the back, because you are unlikely to get any passing into that fast chicane.
This is my stance. These changes aren't bad, but I don't understand them.
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 14:40 (Ref:4105837)   #13
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This is my stance. These changes aren't bad, but I don't understand them.
Done so locals can have a tempting high speed section for the 50 weeks per year users who will now get pinged for exceeding the new reduced to 40kmh speed limit that has gone with this section at none GP time. [/end cynical local road user rant]
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 17:39 (Ref:4105858)   #14
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Excellent intro as ever.


I'm looking forward to F1 returning to Albert Park, as well as the differences the track changes make. For qualifying it will be highlights but I'll make an attempt to get up at stupid o'clock and watch the race live.
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Old 8 Apr 2022, 22:18 (Ref:4105889)   #15
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Originally Posted by Sodemo View Post
I applaud the track changes on the one hand because it hasn't resulted in barriers moved 500m away and tarmac runoff at every corner, however I am puzzled as to what they were trying to achieve with the flat out section at the back, because you are unlikely to get any passing into that fast chicane.
DRS zone in the lead in to those fast corners - might have some impact - but then that wasn't a passing opportunity with the previous layout either.

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Originally Posted by S griffin View Post
The track changes have certainly not done any harm, it's still a tough circuit that's not for the faint hearted. Certainly there's a nice flow to it. I feel they needed to make it faster and give the drivers and fans something to get excited about
Certainly faster and it may lend itself to a better spectacle - probably felt it was time for some changes to freshen the old park up a bit.

Honestly don't know how the changes will go but the race will be the thing that really tells us and before then we're all engaging in conjecture - does appear to really require commitment and getting it 100% right to crack a strong lap & to me that's no bad thing.

One thing of note is that the Supercars had really high levels of tyre degradation - really high - with the new track surface. If that flows onto the F1 cars then the whole approach to the race could have a fair few variables.
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