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Albert Park set for four DRS zones

NEWS STORY
22/06/2021

The FIA has officially ratified the revised 14-turn layout at Albert Park, which could feature as many as four DRS zones.

Following the decision to postpone the original event, moving it to a new November slot, organisers in Australia opted to take advantage of the delay by making changes to the track layout originally intended for next year.

Along with the resurfacing of the entire track - for the first time since 1995 - changes to the layout aimed at increasing the opportunities for overtaking and promoting faster and more competitive racing include the widening of Turns 1 and 6, while the chicane (Turns 9 and 10) is being removed to create a straight.

The current Turn 13 will be realigned and slightly extended to create a tightened corner (between Turns 13 and 14), as well as being widened and the camber adjusted, while Turn 15 will be widened and its camber adjusted also.

According to the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, the average qualifying lap time will hopefully decrease by approximately 5 seconds, from 1:21.0s to 1:15.8s, while the average qualifying speed will increase by 15 km/h (9 mph), from 236 km/h (146 mph) to 251 km/h (155 mph).

AGPC CEO, Andrew Westacott has confirmed that the FIA has now ratified the changes and the circuit now officially features 14 corners.

"Essentially, the old chicane at Turns 9 and 10 has been removed and there's no changes to other turns in terms of numbering," he tells Speedcafe.com. "We thought the significant widening at Turn 6 driver's right might have affected the status of Turn 7 due to the adjusted racing line coming out of Turn 6, but we've gone through the process and it retains its standing."

Along with the changes to the actual track, the pitlane has been widened by 2 metres which means the pitlane speed limit will be increased from 60km/h to 80km/h, which could in turn affect team strategy.

"The widening works in the pit lane is expected to see a speed limit increase, but this won't be determined until much closer to the race, in race week in fact as it's an FIA decision that takes into account many factors," said Westacott.

"Michael Masi was pleased with the widening works when he toured the circuit in February, and he'll make his final judgement when he can see the pit lane in action with the teams' crews."

The removal of the chicane means there could be as many as four DRS zones.

"The sweep around Lakeside Drive was designed with a DRS zone in mind, which is our expectation and we're awaiting sign-off from the FIA in the coming weeks and months," said Andrew Westacott, in terms of the fourth zone. "We're expecting that the changes will result in more passing opportunities, particularly at the old Turn 13 which for the first time in 2021 will now be known as Turn 11."

Previously, Albert Park has boasted three DRS zones; between Turns 2 and 3, into what was Turn 13, and out of the final corner on to the pit straight.

"I think it looks good," Daniel Ricciardo, one of several drivers canvassed in terms of how the track might be improved, told Speedcafe.com. "The layout was always fun but it never offered much overtaking, so I think to really push that and pursue it is really good of the organisers to do and I think it's going to be great.

"Fingers crossed we can get there," he added, the race still in doubt due to the uncertainty over the pandemic, "but in any case when we do I think it should provide better racing.

"I'm looking forward to the changes, for sure."

With work to prepare for the race set to start in September, a decision over whether the event will actually go ahead this year is expected next month.

Westacott has previously admitted that, should it be necessary, the event could take place behind closed doors.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by TokyoAussie, 24/06/2021 4:34

"Circuit redesigned because the cars are crap. I would like to see un-DRS-ed (undressed) cars on this track, though."

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2. Posted by stackvideo, 23/06/2021 8:49

"More artificial racing"

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