F1 Australian Grand Prix 2017 Live
The Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne will usher in a new era in Formula One in 2017 after the sport underwent the biggest rule change since 2014. The other change is that Nico Rosberg will not be on track to defend his title after retiring five days after winning the 2016 title.
Despite the rule changes, the only question will be if the chasing pack can finally challenge the dominant Mercedes team.The 2017 Australian Grand Prix will be one of the most anticipated races in recent years as everyone involved with the sport including the teams, F1 experts and supporters are keen to see the new era cars on track in full race specifications.
The 2017 season will see a new generation of cars after the rule change shifted the focus as much on aerodynamics as it is on the power unit. The cars look meaner than its predecessors and have proved to be much faster. The drivers have given positive reviews about the new cars, which are bigger than previous years and run on much wider tyres aiding in much higher cornering speeds.
There have also been a number of changes along the grid during the winter, and the biggest change involves the reigning champions Mercedes. Nico Rosberg will not be defending his drivers’ title after deciding to retire from the sport, and has been replaced by former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas.
Lance Stroll has joined the grid and at 18-years-old, he will be the second youngest driver to race in F1 after Max Verstappen. The Canadian is also the only rookie on the grid for the upcoming season. Manor Racing has failed to make the grid owing to financial troubles making it just ten teams for the new campaign.
In Formula One seasons past, muscle bulk hasn’t really been the key requirement for drivers, with work on endurance being the focus of training in the gym. The new regulations in F1 have made the cars bigger and faster, prefacing an era that has the drivers and fans more excited than usual, and so the pilots have to follow suit.
“The cars are like driving a very fast and spectacular roller-coaster and it’s a lot more demanding than before,” Hulkenberg said ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. “Now you have to wrestle these cars!
“The tires allow you to push harder every lap, so you can exploit and be on the limit. It’s a lot more work and a lot more demanding. There’s a lot that’s new, but the game is still the same.”
Lewis Hamilton has worked out the game, winning three drivers’ titles, so he’s more than ready to up the ante.
“As racing drivers in general you want to drive the quickest cars in the world and I think you always want to go faster,” the Mercedes driver said. “The cars are faster than what they were last year. The challenge of exploiting that speed with your car on the track is a great challenge and it’s more in the direction of how F1 should be in the sense of the physicality side of it.”
Although many non-championship races have been held in Australia it didn’t join the world championship calendar until 1985. Its original venue, Adelaide, held the season finale for 11 consecutive years until 1995.
Melbourne took over as the race’s home in 1996 and is holding the race for the 22nd time this year, meaning it has now hosted the race twice as many times as Adelaide did. This will be the 20th time the race has opened the world championship, having lost that status to Bahrain in 2006 and 2010.
As the opening race of the year, Melbourne is inevitably looked to for signs of who might enjoy success in the coming season. In its 21 races to date the winner has gone on to take the championship on 13 occasions, a 61.9% hit rate. All four race winners from 2006 to 2009 went on to win the title but since then just three out of seven have, including the last two champions.
Australia has a fairly small crop of F1 drivers but a good one. Only 14 Australians have started at least one race, just eight made it into double figures, but two of those became world champions: Jack Brabham and Alan Jones.
On top of that they have two more race winners: Mark Webber and current star Daniel Ricciardo. However the Australian Grand Prix has never been won by a home driver.
Indeed no Australian driver has officially taken a podium finish in their home race. Ricciardo stood on the podium in 2014 but he was subsequently disqualified. The best result for an Australian at home therefore remains fourth place, which Ricciardo achieved last year and Webber did in 2012.