The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix was canceled in 2020 and rescheduled from March 2021, until November thanks to our friend Covid-19. During that time, the circuit has undergone some major changes in an effort to improve racing, overtakes and ultimately to enhance the experience of F1 fans in Australia and across the globe.
The changes are considerable with most of the corners around the 5km circuit. The changes include many reprofiling of corners, often to increase the speed that can be maintained through that section of track. In areas the track is now wider, as to create passing opportunities.
The best thing about the overhaul of Albert Park, is that the data teams have from visiting the circuit in the past, is all now null and void and everyone is on a level playing field.
While there is probably never a great time for a dramatic change to a track, you do have to feel for the developers of the F1 game, Codemasters, as their latest edition is due for release on July 16th. Given the track changes are still being completed, the ability to get there and laser scan the track and get it into the game before the release, just isn’t there. I would expect that we will see these new circuit changes integrated into the game in a future update, hopefully before the Melbourne round on November 19th – 21st.
Let’s now take a look at what is changing around the F1 Australian Grand Prix Circuit.
Turn 1 of the opening lap is always a nail-biting moment, where championships can be won and lost in a second.
This challenge has been dialled up a notch, thanks to a corner widening of 2.5 metres.
Drivers will now have multiple racing lines at their disposal, allowing for more opportunities to overtake in the crucial opening moments of the race and throughout.
The modification is also designed to support more battles following the corner and into both Turns 2 and 3.
On top of that, Turn 1 will boast a simulated speed boost of 17km/h – bumping the pace up to a minimum of 183km/h in qualifying.
Following the changes to Turn 1, drivers will be set up to take advantage of new race lines at Turn 3, which has been widened by 4 metres.
This not only allows new overtaking openings, but it also increases the minimum corner speed to 110km/h from 102 km/h.
The modification at Turn 6 has created the largest speed change anywhere on the circuit.
In 2020 the minimum speed was 149km/h, that’s now jumped to 219km/h thanks to a huge 7.5 metre widening of the corner!
The quicker pace will reduce turbulent air, also known as dirty air, from impacting the aerodynamic flow of following cars.
What this means is better performance and more exciting racing, as drivers prepare for the upcoming and new 1.3km high-speed zone.
TURNS 9 and 10
A huge change to the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit is the removal of the chicane at Turn 9 and 10.
This section is now the largest ‘straight’ on the circuit- the 1.3km stretch along Lakeside Drive enables F1® drivers to reach speeds of more than 330km/h!
If that wasn’t enough, the high-speed zone also allows for the potential creation of an additional DRS zone, the fourth on the circuit (subject to FIA approval).
Off the back of this breakneck straight, drivers will now enter the new Turn 9 and 10 (previously Turn 11 and 12) chicane at a blistering pace.
If there was ever a moment for big risk and reward, this is the spot.
TURN 11 (Previously 13)
Another substantial improvement is the straightening and widening of the approach to Turn 11 (previously Turn 13), which has increased from 12 to 15 metres.
This change will provide generous track width, enabling multiple racing lines into the corner, allowing new options for drivers to outclass each other – but that’s not all.
To maximise overtaking opportunities, Turn 11’s camber has been adjusted and its apex is now tighter. This means drivers will be forced to change their speed considerably under hard braking to ensure they negotiate the corner successfully.
Considering Turn 11 comes off the back of a lightning-fast straight – this change is expected to provide its fair share of thrilling moments.
Turn 13 (previously Turn 15) is a challenging corner, where drivers can easily make mistakes.
To increase the difficulty for the lead car to defend its position, the corner has now been widened by 3.5 metres.
Turns 3, 11 and 13 have also had their bevelled kerb profiles amended to ensure driver overuse of the kerb is penalised, enhancing passing opportunities on the outside of the turns.
Time spent in Pit Lane is crucial – every second counts.
As part of the modifications, Pit Lane has been widened by 2 metres. The additional space is expected to increase the Pit Lane speed limit from 60km/h to 80km/h (subject to FIA approval).
This means changing tyres will cause less of a time penalty for drivers, resulting in additional options for teams to consider with their tyre strategies.
More details at https://www.grandprix.com.au/fan-zone/track-evolution