2024 F1 Australian Grand Prix preview: Sainz returns

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

Round three of the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship gets underway this weekend in Melbourne, Australia.

The Australian Grand Prix, which for years has served as the opening round of the season, remains a popular event on the calendar, and this year there has already been some action ahead of the race.

After crashing his car during a practice session on Friday, Williams’ Alex Albon will now use the car of his teammate Logan Sargeant for the remainder of the weekend. Sargeant will have to sit out as the team doesn’t have a spare car and the damage to Albon’s car is too severe to repair.

While Sargeant sits out, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz makes a return in Melbourne after missing out the previous Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to surgery for an appendicitis. Ferrari reserve driver Oliver Bearman sat in for Sainz and managed to score some points after finishing a respectable seventh.

Albert Park Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix

The Australian Grand Prix takes place at Albert Park Circuit, a street circuit that has been on the F1 calendar since 1996. The current layout measures 3.28 miles and features 14 turns.

With 72% of the lap time, and 79% of lap distance, spent at full throttle, the Albert Park Circuit ranks third highest of any circuit on the calendar judged on both these metrics. The circuit also has the shortest pit lane on the calendar, at just over 900 feet, meaning cars spend only about 13 seconds at pit lane speed.

Weather can be a mixed bag in Melbourne, but the current forecast calls for mild temperatures and mostly sunny conditions for both Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race. In a change from last year, Pirelli has nominated its softest tires in the range: the C3 as the white hard, the C4 as the yellow medium, and the C5 as the red soft.

Going into the weekend, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen leads the 2024 Drivers’ Championship with 51 points. Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is second with 36 points and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is third with 28 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 87 points, versus the 49 of Ferrari and 28 of McLaren. Last year’s winner in Melbourne was Verstappen, driving for Red Bull.

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