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F1 Preview: Australian Grand Prix

Australian Grand Prix will provide the first indications of potential teams in the new season and how new rules affect performance.

Formula 1 2011 season begins this weekend in Australia after a break of two weeks additional delay caused by the Bahrain Grand Prix. Even if the forced break is not good for the economy of the Formula 1, Australia is the ideal place to debut the new season, because of the special atmosphere in Melbourne compared with the boring desert of the Middle East.

At the end of the four test sessions this winter, teams are prepared to demonstrate their skills in a season that already promises to be exciting and long now, and anticipating the final results is difficult if not impossible. Sebastian Vettel‘s mission is to retain his world title won last year, but Fernando Alonso seems to be the most dangerous opponent. The fight for top positions will be but a balanced and Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are ready to take advantage of rivals’ mistakes, just like Michael Schumacher or Felipe Massa.

Technical novelties

From a technical standpoint, the teams will not bring about major news on race cars, with the exception of McLaren. The latest aerodynamic updates have already been evaluated in at least one test session, which is why teams largely unknown to their potential, even if the competition is still reporting difficult. The performances in the tests, Red Bull and Ferrari have suggested strongly that they have the fastest race cars on the grid, while McLaren has decided to drop the exhaust system for a conventional extravaganza, in hopes of obtaining an advantage at least one second.

Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit

Typically, the circuit in Melbourne gave the show full race, but results here are less relevant for the rest of the season and do not take much account of the performance tests. The main reason is related to the different configuration of the circuit compared with the tracks of winter testing took place and which are carried out most of Europe calendar races. For example, Albert Park circuit in Melbourne is very demanding for the back of the race cars, while in tests most affected part was the front.

Video RBR simulator – Here are the main characteristics Albert Park racing circuit in Melbourne:


Technical characteristics of the Albert Park racing circuit in Melbourne:

Tour Length – 5,303 km
Number of laps – 58
Total distance – 307,574 km
Speed – 305 km/h
Average Speed – 210 km/h
Maximum g force – 4.5 G
Aerodynamic downforce – high
Brake Wear – high
Full throttle – 69% of the tour
Pressing the brake pedal – 14% of the tour

Racing Strategies

Unlike last year’s race will be different strategies and will bring added performance in Formula 1. Pirelli claims that the teams will opt for more than two or three pit stops, but engineers expect that most pilots will carry out three shifts of tires, without excluding the hypothesis of a fourth stop for pilots who are not very careful in managing tires. In addition, the reintroduction of KERS system and the use of adjustable rear wings will help to boost strategies based on the benefits of these new rules.

Weather information

The first weather information indicating the possibility of poor rains in quantitative terms in the free practice sessions on Friday, when the maximum temperature will be only 15 degrees Celsius. But the weather will improve in the coming days, so that pilots will compete Saturday most probably on a dry circuit, even if the skies will be temporarily cloudy. Clearly, forecasters expect a beautiful weather for the race Sunday, the day the sky will be cloudless, and the maximum temperature will reach about 18 degrees Celsius.

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