The 2021 season opener will be staged at a venue that F1 fans wouldn’t normally expect to kick-off the season. The Bahrain Grand Prix, which usually comes at the back end of typical F1 season, will instead be the first F1 race of this calendar year. It will begin on March 28.
The FIA had initially intended for the season opener to be in Australia, F1’s regular season starter. But due to the intensity of the pandemic down under and the problems it causes to host a race, the Australian Grand Prix had to be postponed until November 21.
While many fans were upset about the change in schedule, the postponement has come as a blessing in disguise for the Albert Park circuit.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation have made a change that could spice up the racing once the F1 circus come to Melbourne.
Andrew Westacott, CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation said, “Since the track was put down and pit lane was configured back in – I suppose the drawings were done ’94, ’95 for the first race in 1996 – cars have [got] a lot longer.
“So we’ve widened it by taking a little bit out of the verge on drivers’ right [while on track]. We’ve widened the pit lane by two metres.”
A typical F1 pit lane allows cars to travel at a speed of 80 km/h. However, for all these years at Melbourne, cars were only allowed to go at 60 km/h.
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Australia’s F1 circuit may get resurfaced for the 2021 race in November
The track authorities seem intent on making the best possible use of the extra time they have been afforded. The original schedule for the resurfacing was to for it to be completed ahead of the 2022 season. However, Westacott said that they are entertaining the possibility of a track resurface in this window.
He said, “Now what the deferral and moving back to the event to November does is really allows us to have a good look at taking advantage of this window of time and getting the work done.
“We always wanted to try and do it post this year’s event. Well, it now might be pre this year’s event given that it’s a November event rather than a March event.”
Despite some teams having already begun their preparations for the new season, racing in Australia during the back half of the year may be an unusual experience for drivers. But if the track delivers an exciting race, then both drivers and fans wouldn’t have much to complain about.