The Formula One World Championships are in Melbourne, Australia this weekend for the first race of the Australian Grand Prix since 2019. The race, which serves as the third round of the 2022 season, is regular in the F1 calendar but was last canceled for several years due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Those who are visiting or tuning in this year will be welcomed with a revised Albert Park Circuit. The popular road circuit has undergone significant changes for the first time since 1996, when it made its F1 debut. It now features a modified layout and new asphalt.
Seven corners have been changed and two have been completely removed, the total number of turns has been reduced to 14 and the track has been shortened to 3.28 miles.
The most notable change is the Turn 9-10 chicken removal, which has been replaced by a long, sweeping turn. Turn 1 and 3 were widened inward, as was Turn 6, which is now significantly faster. Later in the lap, what was turn 13 (now turn 11) has been rearranged to tighten the angle. The side angle (now turn 13) has been widened further, and its camber has been adjusted to take different lines.
Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, home of Formula One Australian Grand Prix
Due to the road circuit, Albert Park is usually quite quiet, but the new surface is expected to reduce this problem. However, the grip level may be lower due to the new surface. Pirelli named his C2 as P Zero White Hard, C3 as P Zero Yellow Medium and C5 as P Zero Red Soft. C5 is being used for the first time this season.
The weather in Melbourne could be a mixed bag but the current forecast could have light temperatures and only partly cloudy skies for both Saturday’s qualifiers and Sunday’s race. The Australian race will also be the first day of the season.
At the end of Friday’s practice session, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was the fastest, ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and fellow Ferrari driver Carlos Sange.
Over the weekend, Leclerc is leading the 2022 Drivers’ Championship with 45 points. Science is second with 33 points and Versatapen is third with 25 points. In the Constructors Championship, Ferrari leads with 78 points, vs. Mercedes-Benz AMG with 38 points and Red Bull with 37 points. The winner of the 2019 Australian Grand Prix was Valtteri Bottas driving for Mercedes.