With the Australian Grand Prix postponed from March to November, changes and reconstruction measures are being introduced on the track at Albert Park, which would not normally have happened until after this year’s race, but should be ready now in time for a new date on November 22.
Extra time should also be used because the gap between events in 2021 and 2022, when Australia is expected to declare the season start again, is not sufficient to implement all of the planned changes.
Regulators in Melbourne are working closely with Formula 1 to make the track suitable for the next generation of cars. “We have a good conversation about where the specs and the cars are for 2022,” Andrew Westacott of Australia’s Grand Prix told Speedcafe.
The curves should offer drivers more lines possible in the future
“One of the things that takes a lot of time is actually looking at a track and designing it to take into account the cars’ expected performance.” The aim is to “reward brave driving” and “punish poor driving,” as the Grand Prix director explains.
Part of the plans is, first and foremost, a new paving of 5.3 kilometers. It will be the first time since the race premiere in 1996 that the surface has been completely restored. This also includes modifications to the track design.
“The lane has to be repurposed, so there are some areas where we can adjust the slope and introduce alternate lines at certain corners of the track. An example of this is Turn 13, where there is only one line and Westacott says,” It is not possible to get out of the house because the corner is sloping. “
Changes in track design are limited
“If you do the opposite and expand the area a little so that you have several options for the summit, then suddenly you will have several options, more than one path, to approach certain curves without much effort.”
It mentions curves 13 and 3 and “maybe even curve 6, if you change the top a bit” as appropriate key points for your review. This should also create more opportunities for transcendence. However, one always has to adapt to the local conditions.
“The truth is that we have to take into account some physical hurdles when designing the path,” said the president of the AGPC. “So, in general, you have to work with the engineering that you have.” It is more about “developments and subtle changes” in the current structure.
A compromise between FIA guidance and driver feedback
In addition, work has already been done to widen the pit pass, which may increase the speed limit. “From now 60 km / h to 80 km / h, this reduces the time wasted digging,” explains Westacott.
When asked about the hope of some drivers to retain the character of the route despite the planned changes, the General Manager emphasized that these observations would be addressed. However, it often conflicts with requirements of the FIA, the World Automobile Federation, which harmonizes with the roads.
“So I think our first commitment is to build a track that meets FIA guidelines and specifications. But I hope that if we make the various changes and improvements, the rest will still be very good, and it will be a very exciting path for drivers.”