FIA ratifies Australian GP corner changes
By Mat Coch
Monday 21st June, 2021 - 9:30am
The FIA has confirmed to organisers of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix that the revised Albert Park layout now features fewer corners.
Formerly a 16-turn layout, works around the venue have seen that officially reduced by two.
“We’ve heard back from the FIA that the number of turns for Albert Park has been officially ratified from 16 down to 14,” Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, Andrew Westacott, confirmed to Speedcafe.com.
“Essentially, the old chicane at Turns 9 and 10 has been removed and there’s no changes to other turns in terms of numbering.
“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.”
Works around Albert Park have seen changes to a number of corners, including widening, camber, and radius in key areas.
Most notable has been the removal of the chicane at Turns 9/10, replaced by a flat-out section which is tipped to feature a new DRS Zone.
Changes to the circuit are the second part of a three-phase project, the first of which saw pit lane widened by two metres.
Organisers hope that will see the speed limit increased from 60km/h to 80km/h for November’s race, potentially introducing new strategy options for teams.
“The widening works in pit lane is expected to see a speed limit increase from 60km/h and 80km/h, 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,” Westacott said.
“Michael Masi [FIA race director] 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 third phase of the plan is a complete resurfacing of the circuit.
Despite all the works and planning, this year’s Australian Grand Prix remains under something of a cloud.
Having been rescheduled from its traditional season opening slot in March to a November date, international travel restrictions remain a critical consideration.
“We’re continuing to work closely with the Victorian Government, health authorities and Formula 1 on the complexities, conditions and arrangements of the event and hope to have an update in the coming weeks,” said Westacott.
This year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is scheduled for November 18-21, though it’s understood a final call will be made on the this year’s event next month.