Widened Circuit and Fourth DRS Zone: Will It Improve Overtaking or Make It More Dangerous? Here's Everything You Need to Know Before the Australian GP
The 2023 Formula 1 season is well underway, and this weekend, the teams head Down Under for the Australian Grand Prix. The race takes place at Melbourne's Albert Park Circuit, and it promises to be an exciting event, with plenty of action both on and off the track. To give you a better understanding, we've also included expert insight from former F1 strategist Bernie Collins and former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer.
The Albert Park Circuit is a real driver's circuit, with plenty of fast corners and flowing sections.
"It’s a really good one to find a rhythm. It’s a very atmospheric circuit to drive as well." Former F1 driver, Jolyon Palmer
The circuit was widened in places last year, which has increased the average speed of the place. They've also removed the chicane that used to be Turns 9 and 10, and added a fourth DRS zone. However, overtaking is still difficult, and Turn 11 remains the prime opportunity.
Pirelli has chosen the C2, C3, and C4 compounds for the Australian Grand Prix. This is a more traditional selection than last year when they skipped the C4 option.
The Track Conditions
One of the tricky elements of Albert Park is that it's a temporary circuit, which means it tends to be bumpier. Although it's not a full street circuit, you can think of it that way, with initial track conditions often challenging and big improvements throughout each session.
The Fourth DRS Zone
The return of a fourth DRS zone is an interesting factor this season. Teams will need to do a lot of set-up work to return to where they were last year. The detection point for the DRS is just after a corner, which can make it trickier regarding overtaking.
The Safety Car
According to former F1 strategist Bernie Collins, "Australia is a track position race, and there's a high risk of a Safety Car." There tend to be a lot of Safety Cars at Albert Park, along with the Virtual Safety Car. From a strategy point of view, Melbourne is likely to be similar to Jeddah, where teams need to think about their track position while staying alert for potential Safety Cars.
The Unforeseen Circumstances
One of the unique challenges of racing in Australia is that it's very difficult to react to unforeseen circumstances. If teams have an incident before or during practice, it makes things tough to manage given that they will be low on spares at this season stage. On top of that, getting anything additional out to Australia is almost impossible – everything has to be done at the track.
The 2023 Australian Grand Prix promises to be an exciting event, with plenty of action on the track. Don't forget to tune in this weekend to see who comes out on top.
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