Australian Grand Prix – Preview

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Formula One is finally back! The 2019 Championship season kicks off in Melbourne, Australia where teams and drivers descend for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The 2019 season will be the 70th running of the Formula One Championship while this weekend’s race will be the 83th edition of the Australian Grand Prix. The highly developed country is currently under contract to host Formula One until 2023.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo will participate in his home race at his new outfit, the Renault F1 Team. Since the venue joined the F1 calendar, an Australian driver has never finished on the podium. The fourth place is the best result for an Australian driver at Albert Park. Mark Webber was the first Australian to achieve this, with Daniel Ricciardo ending the 2016 and 2018 race at Melbourne in the same position. To be precise, the Perth-born driver finished second in 2014, but he was disqualified for a technical infringement with his Red Bull car.

The 2007 Australian Grand Prix is the only time, other than the first F1 race, where every driver on the podium was making their maiden appearance for the team with whom they were competing. Kimi Räikkönen won the race on his debut for the Ferrari team while the second and third spots were occupied by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton respectively, both making their debut for McLaren.
Of all F1 drivers, Eddie Irvine is the only one to have celebrated his maiden win at Melbourne.

History

The Australian Grand Prix has been contested 83 times since it was first run at Philipp Island in 1928. Before the event joined the F1 calendar, it was held in every state of Australia, having only been cancelled in the years around the World War II. After the races at Philip Island, it was held in Victor Harbor, Bathurst, Lobethal, Point Cook, Leyburn, Narrogin, Port Wakefield, Mallala, Caversham to only name a few venues.

The race finally became part of the Championship in 1985 when the Adelaide Street Circuit hosted the event. From 1996, the race has been held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at Albert Park in Melbourne. The winner of the race is presented with a circular plate, recently named the Jack Brabham trophy in a design based on the steering wheel of one of Brabham's racing cars and a perpetual trophy, the Lex Davison trophy. These trophies each date back to the 1960s.

Since moving to Melbourne, the Australian Grand Prix has been the first race of the F1 World Championship excluding 2006 and 2010. Previously in Adelaide, it was the final round of the Championship

Considering only the Grands Prix which were parts of the F1 calendars, McLaren is the most successful contrcutor with its 11 wins. Ferrari is the second with 9 triumphs. Williams in the next in the row with five wins. Mercedes has won three times while Renault was successful on two occasions.

Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in the history of the Australian Grand Prix, winning on four occasions. Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel have both won three races at Melbourne. The group of the two-time Australian GP winners is made up of Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Davind Coulthard, Ayrton Senna, Gerhard Berger, Damon Hill and Kimi Räikkönen.

The country

Australia’s biggest city is Sidney which might also hold the unofficial title of the most famous city, however the capital is Canberra. The capital’s population is made up of 410301 habitants while over 5131000 people live in Sidney, making this spectacular city the most populous of the entire continent. Other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Australia has two sides. It is the smallest continent, but on the other hand it is one of the biggest contries of the world, lying between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Australia is a highly developed country with the world’s 13th-largest economy. Australian dollar is its currency.
Due to it history, Australia has the world’s ninth-argest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting 26 per cent of the population. In the 2016 census, 54.6% of Australians were counted as Christian, including 22.6% as Roman Catholic and 13.3% as Anglican; 30.1% of the population reported having "no religion"; 7.3% identify with non-Christian religions, the largest of these being Islam (2.6%), followed by Buddhism (2.5%), Hinduism (1.9%), Sikhism (0.6%) and Judaism (0.4%).

Australia had a liberal democratic political system, functioning as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy.

Track layout

The 5.303km-long track is made up of 16 corners. The lap record is still held by Michael Schumacher who set the fastest ever race lap of 1m24.125 in his Ferrari during the 2004 Australian Grand Prix.

The relatively short start-finish straight ends in a duo of medium-speed corners where it is of great importance to maintain speed at the exit to be fast on the following longer full-throttle section. The next sequence of corners, Turn 3 and 4 are extremely slow bend where traction is important. At the exit of Turn 4, the car has to maintain its stability on the high kerbs before it goes into the medium-speed Turn 5. The next two bend build up a slow chicane where exit is key for achieving a good top speed on the following curves full-throttle section.

Turn 11 and 12 are two fast, flowing corner where the aerodynamic balance of the car is tested. Thereafter, drivers travel at full speed for a couple of second down on the last longer fast section of the track before the approach the last third of the circuit. Turn 13 and 14 are both 90-degree corners where mechanical grip is more than important. The same applies for the extremely slow-speed Turn 15 where the rear end of the car is prone to dance out while leaving this bend. Turn 16 is another tricky section as it is a medium-speed corner which leads onto the strart-finish straight. Drivers are keen to apply as much throttle as they can, however, the aerodynamic balance of the car is only building up slowly with the increasing air speed.