Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2011Preview | Australian Grand Prix 2011Preview
Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2011Preview: The Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne will start the 2011 Formula One racing season on Sunday 27 March 2011.
Two weeks later than planned due to the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, the 2011 Formula One racing season starts on Sunday 27 March 2011 with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Albert Park in Melbourne is a difficult circuit with bumpy hard braking zones as fast straights quickly turn into slow corners. Tyre wear is therefore likely to be high.
The start is often exciting as the cars jostle for position in the first tight corner. Such a tight circuit also increases the chance of accidents and of the safety car being needed, creating another opportunity for cars to go for a quick tyre change.
This is more important this year as the new tyre supplier for this year will be Pirelli, who haven’t been in Formula One for twenty years. Only eleven sets of dry weather tyres will be allowed during a race weekend as opposed to fourteen last season. The softer compound Pirelli tyres could cause problems as they have already been shown to degrade quicker than the Bridgestone.
Jenson Button won the race last year after Sebastian Vettel was on pole position.
Favourites for the Australian Grand Prix
Not surprisingly, the Red Bull line up of reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and Australian team mate Mark Webber are favourites to score an early victory in the 2011 season, but last season’s runner-up Fernando Alonso is also well fancied to drive his Ferrari first to the chequered flag, though bookmakers are more sceptical that fellow Ferrari driver Felipe Massa can finish on the podium.
The McLaren partnership of former world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are also likely to do well despite murmurings that their car is not yet competitive. And some feel this year could be the one in which Michael Schumacher again makes an impact. He’ll be in a Mercedes as will team mate Nico Rosberg, and both cars looked good in pre-season tests.
In With a Chance at the Australian Grand Prix
Lotus Renault, one of two teams wearing the Lotus livery, had the misfortune of losing Robert Kubica to injury following his horrific crash while rallying. However, Nick Heidfeld has stepped up to the plate to partner Vitaly Petrov. Force India’s Adrian Sutil has a new partner in Grand Prix rookie and Scottish driver Paul di Resta.
Another rookie will be in the Williams team with Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado chosen to partner veteran Rubens Barrichello. And Sauber too have a rookie, with Mexican Sergio Perez agreeing to be Kamui Kobayashi’s teammate.
Outsiders for the Australian Grand Prix
The Toro Rosso pair of Sebastien Buemi and Jamie Alguersuari are back as are the Lotus duo of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. Former Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi will be behind the wheel of an HRT along with Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan. And making up the grid will be the Virgin drivers Timo Glock and Belgian rookie Jerome d’Ambrosio.
Rule Changes for the 2011 Formula One Season
Almost every year, Formula One brings in new rules for the teams to battle with and the 2011 season is no exception. The big news is that kers (kinetic energy recovery system) is back after being missing last year. The specifications are the same as they were in 2009 but with refuelling still banned it will be a challenge to find room for the battery packs with the bigger fuel tanks.
And team orders will return, as the clause banning them is no longer in the regulations. Some would argue that they never really went away, but now there is nothing to stop drivers letting their teammates through, though this will probably be more relevant later in the season than in the opening race.
Many drivers will be glad to see the back of the F ducts, which involved tricky manoeuvring in the cab to cover the duct with the hand while driving. Some drivers will though be able to adjust the rear wings from inside the cab during practice and qualifying but only during overtaking in the actual race. The moveable front wing from last season has been banned. Gearboxes have to last for five races instead of four.
Not all drivers will necessarily start the race this year as during the first qualifying session those who fail to set a time within 107% of the fastest first qualifying round time will not be allowed, except if the stewards consider there were exceptional circumstances.
Stewards have been given more powers with time penalties and the right to disqualify drivers from the race results or suspend them from future races. And it will be an early night for race engineers as a night-before curfew has been introduced to stop them working long hours.
Qualifying and Grid Positions
Details of qualifying and grid positions will appear here after final qualifying on Saturday. If they don’t appear, try hitting refresh.