Albert Park to get facelift making it faster and racier

In an effort to promoting faster and more competitive racing, Australian Grand Prix organisers are using the opportunity of laying down a new track surface to also tweak the layout in time for the race later this year.

Last month we reported that the changes were in store, now the work has begun on-site; they announced on their website today:

The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix will undergo its biggest change since the race moved to Melbourne in 1996, offering a brand new on-track spectacle for fans in 2021.

Seven of the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit’s corners are being modified – with two removed entirely – enabling more overtaking opportunities and promoting faster and more competitive racing.

As part of the modifications, Turn 6 will be widened by 7.5 metres, allowing for the largest speed change on the circuit of 70 km/h in 2021 – the current minimum speed of 149 km/h is expected to be 219 km/h in 2021.

The chicane at the current Turns 9 and 10 will also be removed, creating the longest straight on the circuit and the potential of a new DRS zone.

As drivers utilise this new racing line, the widened and reprofiled current Turn 13 will allow for more overtaking opportunities. Turns 1, 3 and the current Turn 15 will also be widened, while Turn 1 and the current Turns 13 and 15 will have their cambers adjusted to provide multiple driving lines.

Off-track, the upgrade will deliver new locations for corporate suites, grandstands, and general admission fans, with spectacular views of the circuit.

For the first time since it was constructed in 1995, the entire Albert Park circuit will also be resurfaced following the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2021 in November*. This resurfacing is a much-needed requirement to ensure the 25-year-old circuit maintains its safe conditions.

In addition, the project also delivers a range of exciting community benefits, aligned with Parks Victoria’s Albert Park Master Plan. Some of these include increased lakeside parkland (more than 4000 m²), additional on-street parallel parking, enhanced cycling corridors, improved lighting, and new cycling criterium loops.

Albert Park 2021 Layout

New layout Albert Park to get facelift

The track changes will enable more overtaking opportunities in Melbourne.

Andrew Westacott, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, said: “These circuit modifications mean faster racing, with plenty of new opportunities for drivers to battle it out – come November, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix will be back and better than ever.

“Since the 1950s Albert Park has been synonymous with Grand Prix racing with these upgrades aligning perfectly with the changes in specifications of the Formula 1 cars in 2022. While the project will make for more exciting racing, it also enhances the roads and surrounding facilities for community use beyond the event for years to come.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Formula 1 driver, said: “Sundays and making race days more exciting for everyone, that’s what we all want and I think these changes are in the direction of what we want. Better races, more battles – the changes are going to push us towards that.

“With these (2021) 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.

“I see all of these changes as beneficial for Sunday and we can have some fun on the brakes. It’ll make the racing closer, I’m pretty confident of that.”

Mark Skaife OAM, iEDM Motorsport Director and five-time Supercars champion, said: “iEDM has a long and proud history in producing world-class motorsport events – we’re thrilled to have partnered with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to deliver this exciting upgrade to one of Formula 1’s most iconic circuits.”

albert-park-circuit-worker

Summary of Albert Park 2021 Circuit Changes:

TURN 1

  • Widening of the corner by 2.5 metres (to the drivers’ right).TURN 3
  • Widening of the corner by 4 metres (to the drivers’ right).
  • Camber adjustment.

TURN 6

  • Widening of the corner by 7.5 metres (to the drivers’ right).

CURRENT TURNS 9 AND 10

  • Chicane removed to create a straight, creating the possibility of a fourth DRS zone at Albert Park.

CURRENT TURN 13

  • Realignment of Ross Gregory Drive and slight extension of Lakeside Drive to create a tightened corner (between Turns 13 and 14).
  • Widening of corner by 3 metres (to the drivers’ right).
  • Camber adjustment.

CURRENT TURN 15

  • Widening of the corner by 3.5 metres (to the drivers’ right).
  • Camber adjustment.

PIT LANE

  • Widened by 2 metres (completed in late 2020).