Formula 1 Just Got Faster With Tweaks to Melbourne's Albert Park Circuit
Formula 1 has announced that Melbourne’s Albert Park Grand Prix circuit is "undergoing its biggest transformation since joining the Formula 1 calendar in 1996" partially because modern cars are wider and longer than those of the 1990s.
A total of seven corners at the circuit are being modified and two removed entirely in order to make lap times over five seconds faster, bringing the average qualifying lap time from 1m 21.0s down to 1m 15.8s. There will be a widening of the track at Turns 1, 3, 6, 13, and 15, while Turns 13 and 15 will soon allow for multiple racing lines.
There will also be a widening of the track at Turn 6 which is expected to increase driving speeds from a current minimum of around 92 mph (149 km/h) to an impressive 136 mph (219 km/h). Meanwhile, the chicane at Turn 9 and 10 will be removed to create a sweeping right-hander.
“These changes are in the direction of what we want,” McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo said in a statement. “Better races, more battles — the changes are going to push us towards that."
“With these  cars the changes should help a lot, but from 2022, if next year promises everything it does with being able to follow the car in front and the racing to be enhanced, then coming to a circuit like Albert Park with these changes should make a pretty amazing spectacle," Ricciardo continued.
The organizers are also taking the opportunity to add new locations for corporate suites, grandstands, and general admission fan zones as well as almost an acre (4,000 m2) increase in the parkland around Albert Park’s lake. There will also be improved infrastructure for cycling to add to the location's green credentials.
The changes are all being made ahead of the Australian Grand Prix set to take place on November 19 to 21. We will therefore have to wait till fall to see how all these changes pan out on the racecourse, but truth be told, we are excited.
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