Oscar Piastri, Alpine, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2022

Albert Park’s second sector “now basically a massive straight” after changes

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Revisions to the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix have drastically changed the nature of the track, say Alpine’s drivers.

Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri, who is from Melbourne, said lap times at the circuit are “going to be a lot quicker than the old layout” this year.

“I don’t know how much quicker the lap times will be but I’ve driven the circuit on the simulator and it’s significantly quicker,” said Piastri.

Several corners have been widened which should allow for higher cornering speeds. But the most dramatic change has been made at the former turns nine and 10, which have been bypassed on the new layout.

“[On] the back section where they’ve removed the chicane, it’s now basically a massive straight leading into the right hander,” said Piastri. Drivers will therefore approach the quick left-right chicane which follows having accelerated all the way from the widened turn six.

“There could be some interesting overtaking moves into there and cars side-by-side at very high speeds,” said Piastri. “It’ll be exciting. I think these new cars can follow better at high speeds, so I think the changes made here suit the new cars very well.”

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Albert Park, Melbourne Formula 1 track map
Track data: Albert Park, Melbourne
Esteban Ocon, who is returning to the circuit for the first time since 2018, said “the track layout changes are actually pretty significant,” including those which appear minor.

“Turn nine-ten has been removed and [the] turn six-seven changes look small, but are substantial for cornering speeds. These types of changes will mean the lap times should be several seconds faster this year, compared to the last time we completed a lap at that track.”

He is hopeful the modifications will make overtaking easier. “With these changes and the new generation of cars, it should make for an exciting race and some good battles on track,” he said. “We are excited and can’t wait to get our first taste of it in real life on Friday morning.”

Turns nine and ten, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2022
Turns nine and ten, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2022

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2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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23 comments on “Albert Park’s second sector “now basically a massive straight” after changes”

  1. Still seems it will be difficult to go around the outside unless the speed delta is large. Probably the tyres will cause more overtakes than DRS.

    1. @f1g33k I agree, tyres could very well prove more crucial for overtaking than DRS.

  2. I hope they haven’t ruined my favourite track.

    1. @peartree I certainly prefer this configuration over the original.
      I generally enjoy tracks with a high-speed flow.

      1. @jerejj the old one was already fast. Fast street circuit, cars always looked spectacular at this track. Racing was above average. I can still remember 98, 2001 and 2002 for bad reasons, 05 Button, 07 kimi, 08 Lewis, 09 new formula, 2010 rain, 2012, 2013 kimi and maldonado, 2014 silence, new formula. Race was always ranked low because of high expectations.

  3. I think the track changes look great, but following through the final corner will still be a bit of a nightmare which limits overtaking opportunities into T1. It seems like T11 will become the main overtaking spot now, and given the way the corner is, I expect to see quite a few cutback overtakes.

    1. @mashiat Very plausible.

  4. Basically a massive straight, yes, which I like as I always found the original 9-10 combination quite annoying.

    1. @jerejj I always kinda liked the old 9/10 section because while it looked fairly straghtforward it offered a few extra challenges.

      The braking zone was fairly bumpy which made braking tricky, The angle of T9 made it easy to run a little wide & then because of the way the track was turning through T10 it was always tricky to get back on the throttle & easy to run out too wide to the wall.

      I also think that with the new cars T9 may have gone back to been a more viable overtaking zone as it was a place where overtaking was just about possible in the past but where it had become next to impossible more recently as following through the prior corners had gotten more difficult. With cars able to follow closer through 5/6/7 I think we may well would have got overtaking into T9 this year. But now we’ll never know.

      I do also sort of worry a little that the opening up of Turns 1/3/6 may have taken away a bit of the challenge. Turns 1/6 in particular were always really tricky & easy to run a bit wide at. With the entry been a bit more open they may well end up been a bit less of a challenge. But we’ll see in a few days.

      1. @stefmeister all of this is correct, as far as I am concerned.

        1. @stefmeister and @hahostolze agree with you both and with comment below. They’ve made this into a much more Jeddah like track. High speed, cars running side by side / overtaking on one DRS and then taking position back on next DRS. Great entertainment, but much more arcade racing style than F1.

    2. The old 9/10 chicane was never great for racing. The straight was too short out of the 6/7/8 traction zone.

      But it was great to watch trackside along the braking zone. It was quite bumpy on entry and drivers had to flick the car quickly to get on the power onto the long curve down to 11/12. You could work out rather quickly which cars were lacking in rear grip and visibly see how hard drivers were working to control their cars.

  5. Oh jolly, this is another Jeddah/Baku/Vegas now

    1. @hahostolze my thoughts too. Variety is what the calendar needs and to be fair these kinds of circuits were novel only a few years back – but now it feels the same as when we were all moaning about Tilkedromes. I also don’t like wide tracks – they didn’t need to be wide in the 70s and 80s (with 200mm cars like today) – because they diminish the spectacle (the sensation of speed) and the challenge (to some extent).

      I’m a bit sad about the new Albert park (I liked the fact it was quirky and awkward and not representative of the season overall) but maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves – the race might be great.

    2. Curious how they’ll change Monaco to fit that bill.

    3. And a good thing too. Not certain why we want every circuit to be some kind of technical challenge. Nothing wrong with a few straights and less chichanes – Spa gets that balance perfect.

      Baku is brilliant. Gives the right balance between speed and cornering – which always cause set up problems for the teams to solve

      Plus it’s not as tough we don’t have enough train like, borefest tracks (hello Monaco!!)

  6. That left right kink (that they’re calling turn 9) will be mega fast now.

    1. @petebaldwin & possibly even risky with DRS, but I hope I get proven wrong.

    2. Yep that’s where I’ll be tomorrow! Surely they’ll be nudging 340kph on the approach.

  7. I would suggest eliminating turn 13 all together, just connecting turn 12 and turn 14 would allow better acceleration/flow onto the main straight and better chance of overtaking.

    1. @louis Easier said than done, perhaps even impractical as that’d require considerable work + force eliminating a small football field (Paul Wade Field), so highly doubtful something like this would ever get even considered.
      Removing the T9-10 curbs would be a straightforward thing.

  8. These look like really positive, logical changes. Only thing i’m really disappointed with is the x2 detection points for the DRS. There’s no excuse to NOT have detection points for each straight. I expect more cat and mouse games..

  9. I’m a bit worried we could have a big crash if someone spins coming out of the much faster turn 6, and slams head on into the right hand turn 8 concrete wall, a bit like Maldonado did in 2012:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-9KVNkYORY

    Maybe the distance between the corners is far enough for it to not be too bad. I haven’t seen clear images of the new layout to be sure either way.

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