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Race information - Australia 2014 // The brand new Formula One season gets underway in Albert Park

Published by Christine

Anticipation for the 2014 F1 season has been building and building, and it is all leading to this weekend's first race in Australia. After weeks of trying to second guess who is fast, who has chosen the wrong nose design, and which drivers have made the right team choices, we'll finally get our first glimpse of all-new Formula One. I guess I'm not the only one who's just a little bit excited?

Event schedule

Having dominated the last few years to the point most F1 fans are sick of the sight of the Red Bull, the defending champions are now firmly back in the spotlight as they get their 2014 campaign underway. It's been a difficult start for the Austrian team, hampered by arguably the weakest power unit of the pre-season, and plenty of bodywork problems to boot.

Meanwhile, every single other team is looking to capitalise on the unpredictable nature of the new season, and the chaos that tends to occur in Australia anyway. We could be in for some serious reliability problems, as well as new drivers getting used to their cars and returning drivers adapting to their new surroundings. It's fair to say that almost anything could happen this weekend, and our eyes will be glued to all the output from Albert Park to watch the first race of the year unfold.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
14 MarFridayFree Practice 101:30
GMT +00:00
12:30
GMT +11:00
Free Practice 205:30
GMT +00:00
16:30
GMT +11:00
15 MarSaturdayFree Practice 303:00
GMT +00:00
14:00
GMT +11:00
Qualifying06:00
GMT +00:00
17:00
GMT +11:00
16 MarSundayGrand Prix06:00
GMT +00:00
17:00
GMT +11:00

Support racing for this event includes V8 Supercars, Porsche Carrera Cup and the Celebrity Challenge.

Expected conditions

There's talk of rain this weekend. Any other race, we'd likely be cheering at the idea of a damp track and the potential upset that it could cause. For the first race of the year, though, an even playing field wouldn't go amiss. There are already enough changes to deal with, let alone adding another variable into the mix.

As always, the weather remains unpredictable, though, and although there are showers in the area, we don't know exactly when they'll hit or if they'll impact the action at all.

Partly cloudy

Melbourne, Friday

27℃

  • Low 17℃
  • Humidity 47%

Partly cloudy

Intervals of clouds and sunshine later in the day

Melbourne, Saturday

20℃

  • Low 12℃
  • Humidity 52%

Intervals of clouds and sunshine later in the day

Windy and cooler with a slim chance of showers

Melbourne, Sunday

17℃

  • Low 12℃
  • Humidity 44%

Windy and cooler with a slim chance of showers

Track information

Albert Park circuit map
DRS zones
DRS detection 113m before turn 14
DRS activation 1762m before turn 1
DRS activation 2510m before turn 3

The Albert Park street circuit kicks off the F1 season with a certain amount of style, and an awful lot of speed. It's a fast track for one that is considered a street circuit, although it can take a while for the grip levels to come up to the desired level. The early free practice sessions can be tentative, until there's been plenty of running by the F1 cars and the support series.

The circuit can also be bumpy, which has caused problems with cars bottoming out in the past, and with brand new designs to deal with this year, that might be something to watch out for. Overtaking can be tricky, as there aren't too many opportunities, but there's a good mix of high and low speed turns.

As a high speed track, this weekend should also see the first opportunity for the drivers to run out of steam. Fuel consumption is going to be critical with a limit on the amount allowed in the car, and plenty of laps to complete.

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitAlbert Park
LocationMelbourne
CountryAustralia
TimezoneGMT +11:00
Race debut1996
Laps58
Length5.303 km
Distance307.574 km
Line offset0.000 km

Last year, Kimi Räikkönen won the Australian Grand Prix from seventh on the grid, making his way through the top ten to take the chequered flag. It was the first race at Albert Park since 2007 where there hasn't been a safety car brought out. Of the last ten races in Australia, 50% of them have featured a safety car period. I'd expect more of the same this weekend.

Notably, the race switched to a later start time in 2009, with the grid lining up at 5pm local time. By the time 58 laps have unfolded, the sun is setting and shadows are starting to infringe on a driver's visibility. If the safety car does get involved, the longer the Grand Prix is and the darker it gets.

The Australian Grand Prix has been held at the Albert Park circuit since 1996, where it moved to its current spot near the start of the F1 calendar. Seven different teams have won in that time, but recent years have favoured the McLaren squad. Jenson Button, in particular, has a good track record in Australia, winning three of the last five events.

Results for the 2013 Australian Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Sebastian VettelInfiniti Red Bull Racing1:27.211
Free Practice 2Sebastian VettelInfiniti Red Bull Racing1:25.908
Free Practice 3Romain GrosjeanLotus F1 Team1:26.929
QualifyingSebastian VettelInfiniti Red Bull Racing1:27.407
Grand PrixKimi RäikkönenLotus F1 Team1:30:03.225
Fastest lapKimi RäikkönenLotus F1 Team1:29.274

Tyre compounds

Australian Grand Prix tyre selection
Medium and soft compounds

Tyres were the talk of 2013, and they're likely to dominate some of the conversation this year as well. With so many other changes to deal with, however, they may not get quite so much attention early on. The compounds for this season are supposedly more durable, and to demonstrate this, Pirelli have opted to choose the compounds just one step apart rather than the two we have seen previously.

We have worked very hard throughout last year and the winter to come up with an entirely fresh range of tyres specifically designed for these latest-generation cars, featuring new compounds and constructions that actually cut down on degradation while maintaining the same level of performance.

- 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
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayFernando AlonsoScuderia Ferrari
Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Kevin MagnussenMcLaren Mercedes
Felipe MassaWilliams Martini Racing
Daniel RicciardoInfiniti Red Bull Racing
Sebastian VettelInfiniti Red Bull Racing
FridayÉric BoullierMcLaren Mercedes
Stefano DomenicaliScuderia Ferrari
Christian HornerInfiniti Red Bull Racing
Rob WhiteRenault Sport Technologies
Claire WilliamsWilliams Martini Racing
Toto WolffMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
NamePosition
Gerd EnnserMember of the DSMB's Executive Committee for Automobile Sport, and a Formula One and DTM steward.
Tim MayerFIA alternate delegate to the USA and FIA Steward, son of former McLaren Team Principal Teddy Mayer, plus involvement in management of IndyCar and CART.
Emanuele PirroF1 driver 1989-1991 for Benetton and Scuderia Italia, McLaren test driver and five-time Le Mans winner with Audi.

All content in the series Australia 2014