Albert Park is “not your average race track” – Renault’s Ciaron Pilbeam

Credit: Renault Sport Media Centre

Chief Race Engineer of the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, Ciaron Pilbeam has talked about the challenges of the Albert Park street circuit, the venue of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

The street circuit, situated around a large man-made lake is situated just a few miles south of Melbourne, posing a bumpy test for drivers and cars.

“The Australian Grand Prix is the usual first race of a Formula 1 season as we open up on a street circuit inside a park,” said Pilbeam.

“It’s not your average race track, as it’s certainly unique in its own way with some fast corners, little run off areas and close barriers.”

Pilbeam’s focus of attention was the long, medium speed right-hander that is Turn 16 – a corner that leads on the DRS-shod pit straight, the longest on the circuit.

“The last corner, in particular, is critical in both qualifying and the race,” Pilbeam added.

“In qualifying it’s almost flat out, but by the end of the lap the rear tyres can start to overheat after the preceding sequence of closely spaced corners, making the exit tricky.

“It’s important in the race as it leads on to the first of the three DRS straights, so getting a good exit is important for overtaking and defending.

“Two of the DRS zones are on consecutive straights, which allows a following car to get closer to the car ahead for the approach to Turn 3, which is the best overtaking spot of the lap.”

An extra DRS zone has been added for the 2018 weekend between Turn 12 and Turn 13 in the final sector, in order to encourage more overtaking.