The 2022 Australian Grand Prix looks set to be the most exciting yet after a number of changes to the Albert Park Circuit were confirmed ahead of the race this weekend.
Formula 1 last drove Down Under in 2019, when Valtteri Bottas clinched victory for Mercedes on the streets of Melbourne with the last two events being canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But while many are happy to be back to enjoy the electrifying Australian atmosphere, Albert Park has never produced the most entertaining races and some are calling for it to be replaced.
However, major changes were made to the track to improve overtaking and the overall quality of the race, the most notable of which is the introduction of four DRS zones, an F1 record.
While most tracks only have two, Albert Park will add two new DRS zones between Turns 8-9 and 10-11, in addition to the zones before the exit on the main straight and between Turns 2-3.
As well as the new DRS zones, it was previously announced that various corners would be widened and the chicane at Turns 9 and 10 would be removed, while the entire circuit was resurfaced for the first time since it debuted on the F1 calendar in 1996.
These changes will undoubtedly result in more overtaking maneuvers at a circuit where straight line speed is difficult to achieve and with the new F1 cars making it easier to follow and overtake one another, the 2022 Grand Prix looks set to be the most entertaining race in Australia has taken place over many years.
“Lap times will be four to five seconds faster than in the old cars with the old track configuration,” said Andrew Westacott, CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.
“They want to reward aggressive driving and punish bad driving and we believe the changes we’re making will achieve that. You can actually outrun the car and expect to be able to overtake and be in a competitive position.
“I think it will be the most spectacular race we’ve seen in decades.”
The 2022 Australian Grand Prix gets underway at 6am BST on Sunday.
Charles Leclerc leads the championship ahead of his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is third.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/04/05/f1-australian-gp-makes-huge-changes-ahead-of-formula-one-battle-16408086/ F1: Australian GP makes big changes ahead of Formula 1 battle