Melbourne details circuit changes to ramp-up Australian GP speeds

F1

Albert Park has put more flesh on the bone of details on its seven corner changes, which could increase qualifying speeds by 15kph and create a fourth DRS zone

Aus GP chicane alterations

Overtaking opportunities are normally hard to come by at Albert Park – Australian GP organisers will hope circuit alterations can change that

Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

The Albert Park circuit in Melbourne has revealed further detail on its circuit changes for the next Australian Grand Prix, which will significantly increase qualifying speeds by 15km/h (9.5mph) and shave off around 5sec of lap-time.

The race is provisionally scheduled for November 21, after it was postponed due to difficulties negotiating Covid-19 restrictions, with FIA, F1 & Victorian Government approval pending.

 

Turn One

Turn One has been widened by 2.5 metres on the driver’s right-hand side. Australian GP organisers hope this will encourage different racing lines, potentially prompting more overtaking manouvres, as well as further battles into the second and third corners.

The speed through the first turn will also resultantly be increased by 17km/h (10.5mph), bringing the minimum average lap speed up to 183km/h (114mph).

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Works can been see on alterations being made to turn 1 at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix track in Albert Park on April 14, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Turn 1 has been widened by 2.5 metres

Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Turn Three

Turn Three has also been widened, this time by four metres on the driver’s right-hand side. Again organisers hope this will prompt new lines and more overtaking, as well as increasing the minimum corner speed by 8km/h (5mph) up to 110km/h (68mph).

 

Turn Six

The greatest change anywhere on the circuit can be seen at Turn Six. A huge widening of 7.5 metres means that the minimum corner speed has leapt from 149km/h (92mph) to 219kmh (136mph).

Organisers believe this could reduce turbulent air, therefore encouraging racing into the new high-speed zone through what was the old Turns Nine and 10.

 

Previous Turn Nine and Turn 10 (chicane removed)

New images revealed in May of the former chicane Turns Nine and 10 showed a significant transformation.

Nine and 10 was previously a stop-start right to left chicane which opened onto a curving passage towards Turn 11, the switchback now being altered to a more gentle righthand shift going onto a short straight, before the lefthand bend heading towards the eleventh corner.

As a result, cars will hit 330km/h (205mph) on the Lakeside Drive stretch before the new Turns Nine and 10 (previously 11 and 12), creating a huge braking point at the chicane.

Circuit designers are obviously aiming with this for more passing into Turn Nine, particularly as it could be used as part of a fourth DRS zone around.

 

Turn 11 (previously 13)

The ‘new’ Turn 11 has seen an extension of straight running into corner to create a tighter turn, as well as alteration to the camber and a wideneing by 3 metres on the driver’s righthand side, all of which should create a tighter apex.

Again a wider variety of lines and harder braking zone entering this corner hope to galvanise – you guessed it – overtaking moves.

 

Turn 13 (previously 15)

This has been widened by 3.5 metres on the driver’s righthand side, with the primary aim of making it trickier for the leading car to stave off attacks from those following.

Furthermore, the kerbs at Turn Three, 11 and 13 have been bevelled, meaning that drivers will be compromised by trying to mount them if they cut the turn.

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Pitlane

Further to the on-track changes, the pitlane will also be widened by two metres, in addition to the pitlane speed limit being increased from 60kmh (37mph) to 80kmh (50mph).

This will have a knock-on effect on race strategy options for teams, as there’ll be less of a time penalty for changing tyres.

 

The Australian GP has often been a race bereft of overtaking, as drivers have found passing opportunities scare on the tight parkland street circuit.

However, with these above alterations, organisers are hoping for wholesale changes in the quality of the racing. Qualifying speeds are thought to potentially increase by as much as 15km/h (9.5mph), from 236km/h (147mph) to 251km/h (156mph), whilst lap-time could be reduced as much as 5sec.

Originally scheduled to be held on March 21, the 2021 Australian GP was postponed to November 21, due to difficulties arising for F1 staff in relation to Covid-19 quarantining restrictions.

However, the race running is still subject to final FIA, F1 & Victorian Government approval.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Works can been see on alterations being made to turns 9 and 10 at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix track in Albert Park on April 14, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Alterations are made at Turn 11, creating a tighter apex

Darrian Traynor/Getty Images