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Australia 2012 - Race information // Everything you need to know about the Australian Grand Prix

Published by Christine

We've been building up to this, the first race of the year, almost since the chequered flag fell in Brazil last season. Winter testing has been completed, teams have all the data they are going to get, and the drivers have made their last minute preparations. Melbourne plays host to the first round of 2012, where we'll see action, excitement, crashes, and some great racing - but, just as testing before it, the event can't necessarily be taken as representative of the rest of the season. That takes nothing away from it, though. Albert Park will get 2012 going in the way only Australia can.

Event schedule

This weekend, we'll see Kimi Räikkönen make his comeback, watch as two new rookies hit the track for the first time, and view Sebastian Vettel's state of mind as he returns to F1 as a double world champion. There are team name changes to behold, as Renault becomes Lotus, Lotus becomes Caterham and Virgin turns into Marussia. If you can keep track of all the new names, liveries, and driver changes, you'll be doing well.

Session Timetable
DateDaySessionTime (GMT)Time (Local)
16 MarchFridayFree Practice 101:3012:30
Free Practice 205:3016:30
17 MarchSaturdayFree Practice 303:0014:00
Qualifying06:0017:00
18 MarchSundayGrand Prix06:0017:00

Support racing for this event includes Group A/C Touring Cars, Renault Challenge, V8 Supercars, and Carrera Cup.

The weather

Looking at the weather from this distance shows what appears to be changeable conditions. Whenever there are clouds over Melbourne, you have the potential for rain. We know the first race can be a crazy one, and if you throw in some precipitation as well, it could be a hectic start to the season.

showers

Albert Park Circuit, Friday

24℃

  • Low 13℃
  • Humidity 68%

Mixed sun and showers

cloudy

Albert Park Circuit, Saturday

22℃

  • Low 13℃
  • Humidity 63%

Cloud cover

cloudy

Albert Park Circuit, Sunday

24℃

  • Low 13℃
  • Humidity 62%

Cloudy days

Circuit map

Sidepodcast image

The FIA have confirmed they will continue to tweak DRS as this new season begins, hoping to find the ultimate setup at each and every circuit.

DRS Zones
DRS detection13 metres before Turn 14
DRS activation 1795 metres before Turn 1
DRS activation 2510 metres before Turn 3

For Albert Park, they are opting for double DRS, but with just the one activation zone. This hasn't always produced great overtaking opportunities, but at Australia, we may find it is not so needed anyway.

The circuit

Circuit Data
NameAlbert Park
LocationAustralia
TimezoneGMT +1100
First Race1996
Laps58
Length5.303 km
Distance307.574 km
Start / Finish Offset0.000 km

After one year stepping up to be the season opener at the last minute, Albert Park returns to its rightful place as the first race on the F1 calendar. With the impromptu track made up of public and park roads, brought together solely for the weekend and then dismantled again, the tarmac is an evolving beast. Tentative drivers hit the track early on Friday and gradually the ground beneath will come to them. By the time the race is on, grip levels should be top notch.

The race is pushed back to the evening local time, and if the event extends the full two hours, the low sun can cause some visibility issues at certain points on the track. Local fans can cheer on both Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo this weekend, as both try and impress the home crowd and make it a weekend to remember.

2011 Results
SessionDriverTeamTimeLinks
Free Practice 1Mark WebberRed Bull1:26.831Live / Results
Free Practice 2Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:25.854Live / Results
Free Practice 3Sebastian VettelRed Bull1:24.507Live / Results
QualifyingSebastian VettelRed Bull1:23.529Live / Results
Grand PrixSebastian VettelRed Bull1:29:30.259Live / Results
Fastest LapFelipe MassaFerrari1:28.947

Tyre compounds

Soft and medium compounds
Soft and medium compounds

This weekend, the drivers will have the choice of the soft and medium compounds, which have been tweaked slightly over last year's rubber. Over the winter, Paul Hembery spoke about the new tyres:

We know the warm-up is better on the medium and hard tyres, which was a criticism we had last year - getting the tyres into the right temperature, particularly for some of the cars in the mid grid who had less downforce. The drivers are all generally talking about having the cars well balanced, and I think part of that is the fact they’ve been able to understand the tyres better... The overall feedback has been very positive.

- Paul Hembery

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayTime (Local)AttendeeRepresenting
Thursday15:00Jenson ButtonMcLaren
Charles PicMarussia
Kimi RäikkönenLotus
Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso
Sebastian VettelRed Bull
Mark WebberRed Bull
Friday18:30Éric BoullierLotus
Ross BrawnMercedes
Paul HemberyPirelli
Adam ParrWilliams
Luiz Pérez SalaHRT
SaturdayPost qualifyingThree fastest drivers
SundayPost raceFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process was changed last year to include a former F1 driver to give added insight. These are the stewards overseeing this weekend's action.

F1 Stewards
NamePosition
Paul GutjahrPresident of the FIA Hill Climb Commission and President of Auto Sport Suisse Sarl
Johnny HerbertFormer F1 driver and Le Mans winner
Enzo SpanoPresident of the Sporting Commision of the Automobile & Touring Club Venezuela

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