What to Know Before the 2023 F1 Australian Grand Prix
Written by Alejandra Guajardo Lozano, Edited by Yu Xin Wang
The 2023 Formula One Australian Grand Prix is approaching. The Albert Park Circuit, which returned last year to the calendar, comes back in 2023 with promises of being the “fastest race in Melbourne ever” after the addition of a fourth DRS zone. In this piece, you’ll find everything you need to know about this high-speed circuit before the Grand Prix.
The first Australian Grand Prix ever was held in 1985, at the Adelaide Circuit. The track was known as challenging and tricky, but it was also popular for its amazing party atmosphere. It was the final race on the calendar until 1995.
In late 1993, it was announced that Ron Walker, a Melbourne businessman, had been working with the Kennett government to move the race to a rebuilt Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. The race finally moved to Melbourne in 1996. A 16-turn circuit that measures 5.3 km (3.3 mi), it was built using a combination of public roads and a parking lot within the park. Melbourne won the F1 Constructors' Association Award for the best organised Grand Prix of the year in 1996 and 1997.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic started. Australia was the first location in the F1 calendar, and the race was set to take place as scheduled. However, rumours that a team member of McLaren had tested positive for COVID-19 started circulating around the paddock. Shortly after, the FIA alongside the Australian Grand Prix Corporation released a statement, confirming these rumours and cancelling the race. The statement read:
"Following the confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for COVID-19 and the team’s decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 and the FIA convened a meeting of the other nine team principals on Thursday evening. Those discussions concluded with a majority view of the teams that the race should not go ahead.
"Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) have therefore taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian Grand Prix are cancelled.
"We appreciate this is very disappointing news for the thousands of fans due to attend the race and all ticket holders will receive a full refund and a further announcement will be communicated in due course.
"All parties took into consideration the huge efforts of the AGPC, Motorsport Australia, staff and volunteers to stage the opening round of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, however concluded that the safety of all members of the Formula 1 family and the wider community, as well as the fairness of the competition take priority."
This left the Australian fans disappointed. In 2021, the Australian crowd didn’t have much luck either. The race was set to take place in November 2021, but was “cancelled due to restrictions and logistical challenges relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” according to the Australian Grand Prix Corporation in conjunction with the Victorian Government and Formula 1.
The Australian Grand Prix finally came back in April 2022. This circuit saw pole-sitter Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc take the victory. Leclerc also took a grand slam (win, pole, fastest lap, led every lap), making him only the second Ferrari driver in the last 18 years to do so. Fernando Alonso was the last to achieve it, in the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix.
In 2023, the race is scheduled for April. It will be a 58-lap race with a circuit length of 5.278 km and 16 turns. The Australian Grand Prix chief Andrew Westacott has promised to deliver the “fastest race in Melbourne ever” by adding a fourth DRS zone to the track. Westacott also added:
“You’ve got the evolution of the cars from last year, and they’ve obviously got better, and the fourth DRS zone means the cars will be quicker around the back of the circuit, which will obviously increase speed and therefore reduce lap time and make it the quickest Grand Prix and the highest average speed ever in Melbourne.”
This gave fans lots of hope for the upcoming Australian Grand Prix, which truly sounds like it will be an exciting, fast, and eventful race. What are your thoughts? Be sure to share them in the comments.