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Formula 1

Australian GP revises F1 circuit to boost overtaking

by Matt Beer
3 min read

This year’s Australian Grand Prix will be run on a revised version of the circuit, with the Turn 9/10 right/left opened out into a faster sweep and camber added to the reprofiled Turn 13 in the hope of improving overtaking.

The Australian Grand Prix was originally scheduled to be held on March 21 but was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. It will now take place on November 21, which has given time for the works to the circuit to be completed.

The changes are part of a wider circuit modification project that is part of the Albert Park Masterplan, an all-encompassing project that is designed to improve the park for all its uses that stretches far beyond its use as a grand prix track.

The pitlane has already been widened by moving the pitwall closer to the track as part of this project.

F1 Grand Prix Of Australia

The modified circuit configuration will mean slightly faster lap times, with the Turn 9/10 third gear chicane now a flat-out sweep, following the asphalt cut-through road that the track previously went round.

Work on this area is due to be completed in June and will increase the approach speed to the fast Turn 11/12 left/right.

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The Turn 13 right-hander will have a wider entry as well as the additional camber, with work there set to be completed in April. While this corner has occasionally produced overtaking in the past, it’s only done so in unusual circumstances and although this change could improve that a little, it’s not a transformative change.

Former F1 driver and Sky Sports F1 analyst Karun Chandhok, who last drove the track in F1’s two-seater in 2019, suggests that a change to the fifth-gear Turn 1/2 right/left would be the most effective way to improve overtaking.

“It’s good to try and create a better opportunity at Turn 13, that makes sense and is at least something,” Chandhok told The Race. “We never really saw overtaking at Turn 9/10 anyway so we haven’t lost a passing place.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Day Melbourne, Australia

“But I would have liked to see some changes for Turns 1 and 2 because they are a bit too quick for the cars to follow and therefore we don’t get the moves into Turn 3 like we used to. I also think Turns 14 and the final corner are just a bit too quick for people to follow.

“Reprofiling Turn 13 is a positive, but I don’t know if it’s going to fix the whole issue.”

The Albert Park circuit is also set to be resurfaced after this year’s race ahead of the 2022 Australian Grand Prix, which is expected to return to the front end of the calendar.

Albert Park has been criticised for its lack of overtaking opportunities for some time, but this is the significant changes made to the track it joined the F1 calendar in 1996 – although there was a minor tweak in 1998 that added one metre to the track length.

The version of the track first used for racing from 1953-1958, where Stirling Moss won the non-championship Australian Grand Prix in 1956, was in the same location but ran in reverse direction to the current circuit.

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