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Everything you need to know before the Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1 is back this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix, but before we head to Australia here’s everything you need to know about the track and the previous winners

The Australian Grand Prix has been a constant presence in the F1 calendar since 1985 with the only exceptions being the 2020 and 2021 seasons. However, this historic event has deeper roots in the sport’s history. Despite it not being part of a Championship until 1985, we can trace the first Australian GP back to 1928. Since 1985 and until 1995, it was the Adelaide Street Circuit that hosted the Grand Prix as the last stop of the Championship. In 1996 however, the home of the Grand Prix changed to Melbourne and has been the same ever since.

Plot twists and problems

The Australian GP has also had its fair share of problems and plot twists during the years. For instance, the venue was decisive in the awarding of the Championship title twice. In 1986 Nigel Mansell, leading the standings on the eve of the race, lost a tyre during the race and was forced to retire. This subsequently allowed Alain Prost to win, becoming World Champion for the second time. In 1994 the two title contenders, Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill, collided during the race and were forced to retire. In the end, the title went to the German driver who was leading the rankings before the race.

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On top of that, the GP has had several problems linked to weather conditions. In the 1989 and 1991 editions, which were run under violent downpours, bordering on unsafe conditions that saw the victories of Thierry Boutsen and Ayrton Senna. Indeed in 1991, the race was interrupted after just 14 laps precisely because of the unsafe conditions. In addition, in 1993 Ayrton Senna conquered his last historic victory precisely at the Australian Grand Prix.

The track

The Albert Park Circuit is a motorsport street circuit built around Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. Since 1996, the circuit has been a part of the F1 calendar every year. After a hiatus of two years for Covid-19, the racetrack came back on the F1 calendar in 2022 with 14 curves instead of 16. The course has now a length of 5,278 km with nine turns to the right and five to the left.

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The track is considered to be quite fast and easy to drive. With many curves and only a few long straights, the course makes the use of high downforce necessary. Furthermore, it also causes considerable tyre wear. One of the tricky elements in Albert Park is that it’s a temporary circuit, so it tends to be bumpier. From the four DRS zones, one of the detection points is placed just after a corner, which can make it trickier in terms of overtaking. The circuit also requires a well-sorted chassis. This is because of the several spots on the track where the drivers need a reactive front end to allow them to check into a corner.

Previous winners and possible new competitors

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The last five winners of the Australian Grand Prix are Max Verstappen (2023), Charles Leclerc (2022), Valtteri Bottas (2019), and Sebastian Vettel (2017 and 2018). However, the Australian GP has seen a lot of talented drivers take the win at Albert Park over the years. As of now, Michael Schumacher remains the driver with the most wins in Australia. After him, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel are tied with 3 victories on the venue. Alongside them, there are drivers of the caliber of Kimi Räikkönen, Lewis Hamilton, and Nico Rosberg. Despite this, Ferrari remains the team with the most victories on the circuit.

At this point in the season, Ferrari seems the team most likely to create problems for Red Bull. Meanwhile, McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin are still trying to understand their new cars. Since the season started the field appears to be closer than ever. Despite this, while Ferrari managed to put one of their cars on the podium the other teams still need to improve to at least come close to the Prancing Horse.

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Looking at the track’s racing history, nothing is to be taken for granted. However, we can imagine what could happen this weekend, and we can figure out who could climb the rankings of drivers with the most wins on the circuit.





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