It has been three long years since we experienced the Australian Grand Prix and it is finally back this week, we have motorsport journalist Sean Parker to preview the third race of the Formula 1 season.
Plenty has changed — both in F1 and for the world in general — since the last edition was held in 2019. Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Charles LeClerc of Ferrari are leading the way while the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton struggles for pace.
Formula 1 heads down under for the first time in over three years as the Australian Grand Prix takes place at Albert Park this weekend. The Australian GP began way back in 1985 and former winners include Keke Rosberg, Alain Prost, and Ayrton Senna. Valterri Bottas won the last race in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic stopped the race in its tracks.
With the new regulations aimed at creating closer racing, the first two races have produced fantastic close battles between the drivers. Fans have been enthralled by Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen’s victories this season as the rivals went toe-to-toe in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
This weekend’s race in Melbourne will see a faster lap compared to the last time the drivers were in Australia. The circuit now has four Drag Reduction System (DRS) zones aimed at increasing the number of overtaking opportunities. Organisers have opted for only two detection points, giving the chaser a bigger advantage if the driver manages to get passed in the first already.
A new sheet of tarmac has also been put down at Albert Park and various turns have been widened to make overtaking easier, it also means it’s harder for drivers to defend.
Red Bull start as favourites this weekend by virtue of their car being faster along the straights and high speed sections in comparison to their main rival, Ferrari.
Max Verstappen comes off a win in Saudi Arabia, but the Red Bull and sister team AlphaTauri are still concerned over reliability issues that reared their head for Yuki Tsunoda a fortnight ago.
If we look at the characteristics of the circuit, the Ferraris hold a great advantage as they have shown great traction in the slow to medium corners, which still dominate the circuit despite the increased DRS zones.
Mercedes will bring a new wing to Australia and hope to have their bouncing issue sorted out, but their second place in the constructors’ championship is not a true representation of where the team is. It’ll be Ferrari up against Red Bull.
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