The 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship will get underway this weekend as the series arrives at Albert Park, Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.
This year will mark the eighty-fourth running of the Australian Grand Prix, making it one of the oldest on the calendar, the track in its current configurations has only been around since 1996.
What Happened at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix?
The 2019 Australian Grand Prix saw Valtteri Bottas take victory, a shock to many fans because his Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate, and six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was expected to stroll to victory after starting from pole position. This led to fans labelling the winner as “Bottas 2.0“
Max Verstappen took Red Bull Racing to the podium whilst new teammate Pierre Gasly struggled, languishing down in eleventh place.
Scuderia Ferrari had a mediocre start finishing in fourth and fifth, an indication of how the first half of the season would go for the team.
The rest of the top ten was a mix of the midfield teams, as Haas F1 Team showed promising pace, finishing in sixth, with Kevin Magnussen.
The top ten was rounded off with Nico Hülkenberg, Kimi Räikkönen and Lance Stroll, who had both joined new teams; while tenth place went to Daniil Kvyat on his return to F1.
Albert Park, is a 5.303 km long track, which has sixteen corners. In 2018, it became one of the first tracks to feature 3 DRS zones. The first comes just after turn two of the circuit, down the slight bending track between turns two and three.
The second DRS zone sees the detection point just prior to turn 11, after the activation begins after the sequence of turn eleven and twelve. This was the newly added for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 Championship.
The final zone, comes very quickly after the third zone along the pit straight.
The lap record around the track, still belongs to Micheal Schumacher from 2004, with Ferrari when he set a time of 1:24.125.
The Pirelli Tyres for the first weekend will be the Hard (C2) compound, Medium (C3) Compound and the Soft (C4) compound.
Most drivers, have gone with nine to ten sets of the C4 Soft Red striped tyre, these will likely be used mainly for the three qualifying session on the Saturday and the first stint of the race. However, Racing Point F1 Team, have opted for eight pairs of C4 tyres.
Albert Park is usually a one-stop race, last time out in Australia Bottas opted for a first stint of the C4 soft tyres followed by thirty-five laps on the C3 medium tyres.
What should we look out for this year at Albert Park?
This year’s Australian Grand Prix will see the new system on the DAS system debut on the Mercedes W11.
Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel seem to be on the back foot with their engine. Their pace during testing was didn’t impress, but many in the paddock believe the Italian team are sandbagging, and not showing their true pace.
Racing Point’s “Pink Mercedes“, which the RP20 has been dubbed, will get its first true test to see if Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez, are the “best of the rest” ahead of last year’s winners McLaren; the midfield looks to be tight in testing and should provide a good battle.
The home crowd will have their eyes on their home hero Daniel Riccardo as he races against new teammate Esteban Ocon at Renault F1 Team. He will want to prove his place at the team, and will be looking to redeem himself after not finishing the race last year.
Red Bull will be aiming to prove themselves as they also looked quick in testing.
What’s the schedule?
Friday 13 March
01:00 GMT / 12:00 AEDT – Free Practice One
05:00 GMT / 16:00 AEDT – Free Practice Two
Saturday 14 March
03:00 GMT / 14:00 AEDT – Free Practice Three
06:00 GMT / 17:00 AEDT – Qualifying
Sunday 15 March
06:10 GMT / 16:10 AEDT – Race