This weekend Formula 1 roars back into life with the opening round of the 2014 season, the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
This temporary street circuit may not share many features with other street circuits like Monaco or Singapore but still provides a good challenge for the drivers and their new cars. Here’s a look at the circuit in more detail.
The Albert Park track winds around the roads that circle the central lake inside the park. The circuit passes other landmarks with a sports stadium, a golf course and the surrounding skyscrapers letting you know you are right in the centre of Melbourne.
Unlike most street circuits Albert Park contains many gravel and run off areas next to the track all part of the country’s bid to increase safety at non permanent tracks.
Another unique feature is the variety of corners and not a single hairpin which is virtually unheard of around any circuit in modern F1.
The track contains a number of key corners, turn one is a tricky corner, easy to run wide and can overtake but also crucial to maintain speed for the long straight that follows.
Because at the end of that straight is turn three, the best overtaking spot on the circuit, DRS will be active into this corner and should see plenty of action come Sunday.
Turn five will be an interesting barometer of just how these new cars compare to their predecessors, particularly through the corners. For a few years it has been an easy flat right-hander with no margin for error on the exit.
With less downforce, more weight and increased torque however don’t be surprise if the challenge of this corner returns and remember any mistake there – the wall awaits.
The best sequence of corners is the medium speed chicane at turns 11 and 12, as the video shows, small apexes, narrow exit, easy to run wide any mistake ends in disaster.
Finally turn 15, looks quite simple on the video but being the slowest and tightest corner on the circuit demands a lot of respect.
There’s your guide to the Albert Park circuit and with so many variables and unknowns heading into the weekend we really are set for an enthralling start to the 2014 F1 season.
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