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Australian Grand Prix layout changes take shape

Turns 9 & 10 at Albert Park, Melbourne. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Turns 9 & 10 at Albert Park, Melbourne. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Nico Boyce
Modified 22 Feb 2021

Australian Formula 1 circuit Albert Park in Melbourne will undergo significant changes over the next few months.

Andrew Westacott, chief executive of race promoters at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, confirmed to the reasons behind the alterations:

"We wanted to provide opportunities to reward brave driving and provide opportunities to penalize sloppy or poor drivings," Westacott said.

His plans look promising, as it involves work to widen the Australian track at several corners to promote passing. The turn 9-10 section is also set to be replaced entirely to keep battling cars together along the backstretch of Lakeside Drive.

"To get a real overtaking opportunity, the simulations from Formula 1 indicated that by getting a greater level of speed into Turn 13 and changing the geometry of the turn slightly, that might provide a legitimate overtaking opportunity.
"It also makes Turn 11 and 12 more challenging, which is a wonderful complex that the drivers love," Westacott said.

Australian circuit surface in its final year

The Albert Park circuit is a series of public roads through the park which are also due to be resurfaced after this year's race in November. The loop around Albert Park Lake will have a much more abrasive asphalt surface come the 2022 edition of the Australian Grand Prix. The existing tarmac (in place from the inaugural Melbourne race in 1996) is known for significant tire degradation.

"The track was put down in 1995 so therefore it’s extremely dated, not only from a surface point of view, but the cars have evolved. The track itself has been subject to, what I’ve called, a level of evolution and review," Westacott added.

Sebastian Vettel has won three times at Albert Park, with Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen each taking a pair of victories. Last year the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled at the last minute due to Covid-19, with the 2021 edition moved from its usual season opening slot to November. The season will instead start in Bahrain on the 28th of March.

Published 22 Feb 2021, 04:15 IST
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