Hello again gear-heads! Being that there was a two-week gap in race weeks I decided to change gears (pun intended) and profile the upcoming circuit in Melbourne, Australia: The Albert Park circuit. This circuit has been on the calendar since 1996 and has had some memorable Sundays from the rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton catapulting himself into the limelight to Daniel Ricciardo’s podium on home soil. It’s been a track that has delighted the locals and fans all over the world.
Let’s dive into the history of this famous track starting in 1953. The first Australian Grand Prix finally took place after World War II and Albert park was chosen as its location with its first winner being Doug Whiteford. He would be a several time winner of different competitions organized by newspapers of motor enthusiasts of the times. Back then there were other formats of racing both World and non-World championships. For a five-year span there were multiple races. However, the circuit was closed in 1958. 1
The reopening of the circuit happened in 1996 which is where we see the layout we are all familiar with. 16 sixteen turns around the Albert Park lake made it one of the few tracks up until recently near water. What made this event one that everyone around the world got excited for was that it kicked off the season until 2020. Taking one year off owing to the pandemic, allowed engineers to begin the overhaul for the return of the race weekend in 2022.
This time around there are some new features that have been worked on in anticipation for the new specifications for the 2022 season. Widening of turns and a removal of a turn into a straight is going to make sure that drivers can really turn up the pace and encourage overtaking and I for one am all about it.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the Australian Grand Prix had been put on hiatus so the return to track down under has been highly anticipated. A massive undertaking began. Not only was the track resurfaced for the first time since the construction of the track, several turns were widened; most notably in turn 1, 3 and 7. But the main modification is the turn 9 and 10 is the realignment of it into practically a new straight as well as turn 13 apex changed to allow more overtaking.
Several other modifications were done as well, perhaps most impactful for the drivers is the widened pit lane to aid in entering and exiting of the vehicles as well as the pit wall placements with the idea to help with racing strategies.
There you have it guys I am sure like myself, you are buzzing for this weekend. Are Ferrari going to keep up their pace and podium again making three in a row? Will Daniel Ricciardo on home soil make a triumphant return to glory with a strong finish? What do Max and Checo and RedBull racing have in store for the weekend? Or will Mercedes finally fix what’s been ailing them for the past two race weekends? Only time will tell.