Melbourne’s Albert Park Formula 1 circuit is undergoing a major makeover ahead of the return of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix later this year.
In what’s been described as the biggest change to the street circuit since the Australian GP moved to Melbourne in 1996, five corners are being modified and two removed entirely, to deliver what the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) says will be faster and more competitive racing.
The changes start at Turn 1, with the inner edge of the corner widened by 2.5 metres. At Turn 3, the corner is widened on the inside by 3.5 metres, with a camber adjustment made here, too. At Turn 6, the inner edge of the corner is widened by 7.5 metres.
The biggest change is to the Turn 9-Turn10 chicane, which has been removed for a smoother, faster entry onto the back straight and potentially allowing a fourth DRS zone to be included.
At Turn 13, the inside edge has also been widened, this time by 3 metres, but the angle of this corner has been tightened and the camber adjusted. Turn 15 gets a similar widening by 3.5 metres and camber adjustment.
Finally, the pitlane will be widened by 2 metres and the entire track will be resurfaced.
The modified layout will have only a marginal effect on lap distance (reduced by less than 30 metres), but the combined changes will see lap times decrease by 5 seconds and top speeds increase by 15km/h, including a potential 330km/h maximum on the back straight. The largest speed change on a retained corner will be at Turn 6, up from 149km/h to 219km/h. More importantly for dynamic racing, the camber adjustments will allow multiple racing lines for greater overtaking opportunities.
Off track, the changes will improve parkland space, on-street parking and new locations for corporate suites and grandstands.
“These circuit modifications mean faster racing, with plenty of new opportunities for drivers to battle it out – come November, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix will be back and better than ever,” said AGPC CEO, Andrew Westacott.
McLaren F1’s Daniel Ricciardo added: “Making race days more exciting for everyone, that’s what we all want and I think these changes are in the direction of what we want. Better races, more battles – the changes are going to push us towards that.”
While the date for the 2021 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix remains at 18-20 November, COVID uncertainties mean tickets are yet to go on sale, with only expressions of interest open on the event website.
Go to: grandprix.com.au for updates.