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Preview & amp; Schedule GP Australia 2020: Information about the start of the season

Wilhelm
Preview & schedule GP Australia 2020
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N after three and a half months of winter break and countless test rounds in Barcelona the Formula 1 action has finally started again. Melbourne is the venue for the first race of the year for the tenth time in a row. From the dreary European winter weather, the F1 circus goes straight to the Australian late summer.

But this year with that holiday feeling could be over quickly. And not just because of the constant discussions about the corona virus. The meteorologists predict a clearly noticeable change in the weather for the race weekend. The mercury is slipping from currently just under 30 ° C to a fresh 18 ° C. In addition, showers are expected to pour over the southeast coast of Australia on Friday and Saturday.

Except for the on-site spectators, most Formula 1 fans probably don't mind if rain spices things up on the slopes a little. In consistently dry conditions, Mercedes would be difficult to get behind. The world championship team has won four of the last six races in Albert Park and also made the strongest impression in the winter test drives.

That a good performance at the test run in Barcelona doesn't have to mean too much was only shown last year Year. In 2019 Ferrari traveled as a big favorite at the season opener. In the end, the Scuderia drivers completely missed the podium. Red Bull is also likely to arrive with mixed feelings. The last victory in Melbourne was nine years ago. In 2011 Sebastian Vettel let the Red Bull fans cheer in Albert Park for the first and so far only time.

The track: Albert Park Circuit

Even without the additional attraction of starting a new one During the season, the angular route in Albert Park is always a guarantee for good entertainment. Although it is not a street course in the strict sense, mistakes are always severely punished here. The gravel beds are deep, the walls are dangerously close. Safety car deployments are more the rule than the exception. The likelihood of neutralization at least once has been 60 percent in the last five years.

Overtaking is one of the more difficult exercises in Melbourne. In the previous year the minimum delta was 1.8 seconds. Therefore the FIA ​​set up a third DRS zone. Also in 2019, the drivers are allowed to fold down the rear wing flap three times in the race if they are to the front man within a second: on the home straight,between curve two and three and between curve 12 and 13.

The gap between the flap and the main leaf increases from 6.5 to 8.5 centimeters due to the rule changes. This lowers the air resistance and leads to higher top speed. But first it remains to be seen whether this will make overtaking easier. The rulers hope so. The front wing was therefore also dismantled to make it easier to follow another car.

In the race, the cars are allowed to use 110 instead of 105 kilograms of petrol. In theory, drivers therefore have to pay less attention to fuel consumption. Because of the stop & go characteristics, the brakes are exposed to excessive loads. The season in Albert Park often starts with a failure orgy.

Fast facts about the Australian GP

  • Distance: 5.303 km
  • Number of laps: 58
  • Race distance: 307.574 km
  • Lap record (race): 1: 24.125 s (Michael Schumacher, 2004)
  • Pole position 2019 (absolute lap record ): 1: 20.486 min. (Lewis Hamilton, Q3)
  • Number of corners: 16 (6 left /10 right)
  • Distance poles to braking point for T1: 260.5 meters
  • Length Pit lane: 280.6 m
  • DRS zones: T2-T3 /T12-T13 /T16-T1
  • Time at a speed limit of 60 km /h in the pit lane: 16.8 seconds
  • Tire types: C2 (hard), C3 (medium), C4 (soft)
  • Safety car probability: 60% (last 5 years)

Set-up:

Because of the many tight corners and the hard acceleration phases from slow corners, traction and braking stability are particularly important in Melbourne - which is not so easy on the slippery asphalt of public roads . It is driven with a relatively soft suspension and a lot of ground clearance. The setup always has to be adjusted over the weekend due to the sharp increase in brainpower.

Since the regulatory reform in 2017, Albert Park no longer drives with full downforce. In contrast to Barcelona, ​​for example. Grip is particularly important on the front axle. In the slow corners, the car has to go where the pilot steers. Understeer costs valuable tenths of a second. Good braking stability is also important. If the driver has confidence and a good rhythm, this is reflected directly in the lap time.

The tires are not put under much strain in Melbourne. In the previous year, a one-stop strategy was the best choice. It is not to be expected that this will change in 2020. The low temperatures could cause problems with graining rather than overheating. As in the previous year, Pirelli is bringing the three medium mixes C2, C3 and C4 to Albert Park.

Pirelli
The fans in Albert Park will probably not get more than one pit stop per driver again.

Technology updates:

Most of the teams already used their powder during the test drives. We don't expect any major updates in Melbourne. Only Renault has announced a more extensive package for the start of the season. Mercedes has to make modifications to the rear brake scoops after the FIA ​​specified the rules in a technical directive shortly before the start of the season.

The 'DAS' system could also cause trouble with the referees. Red Bull has already announced that they want to ask the world association for a review. It is quite possible that Mercedes voluntarily waived this in order to avoid discussions after the race.

The upgrades in terms of engines cannot be seen from the outside. During the test drives, you could see some unreliability in the power units - especially in the Mercedes engines. For Melbourne, all manufacturers have once again ordered the latest specification from the development department.

Favorites:

In no other race is the favorite question as difficult to answer as in the very first. The test drives gave us some clues, but as our experience of the Melbourne race 12 months ago taught us, it shouldn't be overpowered. The cards will be revealed for the first time on qualifying Saturday. In order to finally gain clarity about the performance level, experts hope for dry conditions.

Melbourne is generally not the ideal yardstick. With the undulating asphalt and the special layout, the Australian winner is not necessarily the favorite for the rest of the season. If we had to bet money, we would of course still bet on Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton is always doing particularly well in qualifying on the technically demanding track.

Red Bull was much better sorted out in the test drives than last year. Some optimists in the team see the RB16 on the same level as the Silver Arrow. Max Verstappen wants to become the youngest world champion of all time this year. So you always have to have the Dutch on the bill.

The big unknown is Ferrari again. No other car was discussed as much in the winter tests asabout the SF1000. The pilots complained about balance problems. The GPS measurements of the competition revealed weaknesses with the engine performance. However, some suspected that the Italians were just bluffing. In Melbourne there are finally the answers.

That also applies to the midfield. The test drives have already indicated that the balance of power has shifted. The engineers only agree that the distances are still very close. A good form of the day can make several rows on the grid in qualifying. The experts are particularly excited about the performance of Racing Point. Can the copy of last year's Mercedes really take the lead in the midfield in the first race?

Wilhelm
In 2019, Valtteri Bottas dominated the events in Albert Park on race Sunday.

That's how it went Last year's race - Australian GP 2019:

After strong test drives, Ferrari, as already mentioned, traveled to Melbourne as a big favorite a year ago. But already in qualifying, Mercedes made short work of it. Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time just ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas. Sebastian Vettel had to be content with third place on the grid - more than seven tenths behind pole position.

The decision about victory in the race followed from the very first few meters. Bottas came out of the blocks from second place better than the sister car and in the end drove the victory safely home with a lead of more than 20 seconds over Hamilton.

It got more exciting behind in the battle for third place. Sebastian Vettel had tried hopelessly to put the Mercedes under pressure with a very early pit stop. Max Verstappen benefited from this as he passed the Ferrari relatively easily on lap 30 with fresher rubbers. Vettel would probably have given up fourth place to team-mate Charles Leclerc if he hadn't been called back from the command post.

There wasn't much to cheer for the fans of local hero Daniel Ricciardo either. On his first appearance in a Renault, the Australian got off the track at the start. A pothole in the meadow tore off the front wing and damaged the chassis. Ricciardo had to retire after 28 laps. In oneThe mixed midfield brought one car each to Haas, Renault, Alfa Romeo, Racing Point and Toro Rosso.

In the gallery we once again show you the best scenes from the 2019 Australian GP.

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