This is an exciting time of year for everyone in Formula One including the huge number of fans around the world, as teams head to Australia for the first race of the season. This year is particularly exciting as the regulations have changed substantially concerning the bodywork of the cars and the dimensions of the tyres, so teams and fans can expect to see quicker cars and far more challenging racing for the drivers.
The traditional season-opener at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne is a fitting place to start the 2017 season. The part street circuit layout provides an interesting challenge for the drivers, with the late start time and setting sun making visibility tricky as the race unfolds. The laid back and knowledgeable Aussie fans always create an electric atmosphere, making this a popular destination for the Formula One circus after a busy winter.
The race itself is always eventful with more than the usual degree of incidents and car failure as the cars and drivers engage in their first competition of the year. And the spectators bring extra enthusiasm to Albert Park, many of them having come from all over the world to see this first race of the F1 season.
From a technical point of view, the tyres for this year’s race are not only wider but also softer - having the ultrasoft in play at Melbourne for the first time - so we will without doubt see some record breaking lap times this weekend and perhaps more evidence of driver fatigue in the race than we have seen in recent years.
“Australia is a fantastic place to start the season, not only because it’s a beautiful country, but also because the people are so nice,” said Williams driver Felipe Massa. “So it’s always a big pleasure to go to Australia. It really is the perfect place to get started. It’s quite a tricky track though. It’s half racetrack, half street circuit, so it’s definitely not easy. It’s good to have a difficult challenge at the start of the season though. I’m just really looking forward to getting started! It’s always a very important race because it’s the first time all of the teams will be together and racing for real.”