Things to know about the 2016 Australian GP


1) There have been 79 Australian Grands Prix since 1928. The race became a round of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1985 when Keke Rosberg’s 1.5-litre Williams FW10-Honda finished ahead of Jacques Laffite.

2) Since 1996 the race has been held in Albert Park, the home of Vegemite Girls Hilda and Laurel Armstrong. Before ’96 the GP was held in Adelaide. Only Damon Hill has won at both tracks (in 1995 and 1996 – just four months apart). Incidentally – he’s also the holder of the biggest winning margin – two laps ahead of Oliver Panis in 1995.

3) Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in the race with four wins. If you include the non-championship races (pre-1985) then 1950s and ‘60s racer Lex Davison matches Schumacher’s record.

4) McLaren is the most successful manufacturer in Australia with 12 wins (one non-championship). It’s doubtful Alonso or Button will make that 13 this year.

5) The parkland track has three sectors and 16 turns. The race on Sunday will start at 4pm local time, which is 5am UK time and 11am in Khaidarkan, Kyrgyzstan.

6) Michael Schumacher still holds the lap record with 1min 24.125sec in 2004.

7) There are 58 laps of the 3.295-mile circuit. In 2015 two cars didn’t make the start (Kvyat and Magnussen) and four cars failed to finish (Räikkönen, Verstappen, Grosjean and Maldonado).

8) In testing Mercedes covered enough distance with its two cars to do 10.2 Australian Grands Prix.

9) Pirelli is taking the medium, soft and super-soft compounds to the race. All bar the Manor drivers have opted for either one or two sets of the medium. Wehrlein and Haryanto have gone for four.

10) The TV schedule… Sky will be showing the action live while Channel 4’s new team will show highlights of qualifying 12.30pm on Saturday and highlights of the race at 1.30pm.

11) Motor Sport art editor Damon Cogman and I have done our yearly bet. This time he says that Fernando Alonso will finish on the podium at some point this year. My money, I think, is safe.

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