Race guide for the Australian Grand Prix

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Following the opening two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Formula One is back in action this weekend with Melbourne set to host Round 3 of the 2023 F1 season, the Australian Grand Prix. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó picks out some vital facts ahead of the Melbourne race.

The Australian GP has a long, wealthy history in Formula One. The country joined the sport in 1985 with the Adelaide Street Circuit, in South Australia hosting the inaugural Australian Grand Prix. The Adelaide race used to be the last round of the championship and hosted numerous racing memorable race, including title-decider rounds. The Grand Prix moved to Melbourne in 1996 and became the opening race of the championships, although this spot has been taken by Bahrain on several times.

The Grand Prix is the oldest surviving motor racing competition in Australia which has been contested 79 times since it was first run at Philip Island in 1928. Prior to the inclusion in the F1 Championship, the grand prix was held at different venues like Bathurst, Lobethal, Southport, Longford, Narrogin, Lakeside, Sandown, etc.

McLaren is the most successful team in Australia with 11 victories with Ferrari lagging just behind with 10 triumphs. When it comes to the Australian Grands Prix held in Melbourne, the Scuderia is the most successful team as it collected nine wins at Albert Park. Ferrari’s only win scored not in Melbourne came courtesy of Gerhard Berger, who won in 1987 in Adelaide.

Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in Australia with four victories with Sebastian Vettel occupying the next spot on this list with three triumphs. Lewis Hamilton is a two-time winner in Australia while Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas have scored a single victory at Albert Park respectively. Charles Leclerc is the most recent winner with the Monegasque having recorded a dominant victory in Melbourne last year.

For three drivers, this weekend’s Melbourne race will mark a debut appearance at Albert Park. Oscar Piastri will race in front of his home crowd, becoming the fifth Australian to contest his home race. Williams’ Logan Sargeant and AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries have no prior experience at Albert Park either.

The track has a length of 5.278km, resulting in a 58-lap-long Grand Prix. The circuit sports 14 corners, many of them are named after previous great drivers. The race course has a stop-and-go nature due to heavy acceleration and braking zones.

The circuit uses everyday sections of road that circle Albert Park Lake, a small man-altered lake (originally a large lagoon formed as part of the ancient Yarra River course) just south of the Central Business District of Melbourne. The road sections that are used were rebuilt prior to the inaugural event in 1996 to ensure consistency and smoothness.

The 5.278km lap is a tricky one to tackle. Turn One is a tight right-hander but the apex speed is more than 150km/h. The apex is also blind and Turn Two follows immediately after, setting up the long, flat-out run to Turn Three.

Located at the end of the first DRS zone, Turn Three is another tight right-hander that provides an opportunity for overtaking. However, it's easy to lock the front-right tyre under braking into the corner which can put you at risk of running wide into the gravel trap on the exit.

Turns Nine and 10 were spectacular corners before to the circuit alterations, but now they are more fearsome than ever. At the fastest point of the circuit, it's a small dab of brake on the entry to Turn Nine, before a second deft touch of the brake before Turn 10 and the high-speed run to Turn 11.