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2024 Formula 1: Australian Grand Prix Preview

Formula 1 leaves the Middle East and heads Down Under to the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.

Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1 leaves the Middle East and heads Down Under to the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen has won the first two races of the season and is on course for a 10th consecutive win.

Can Ferrari continue to improve and challenge the Red Bulls at the front? Will Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo impress the Aussie fans rooting for them? Sean Parker previews the Australian GP.

The Track

The Albert Park circuit was the season-opener for many years before the F1 calendar ballooned. It’s a temporary circuit that uses some of the roads in the area and can be challenging for drivers.

The organisers spent money to resurface the circuit in 2022 and the asphalt takes a few sessions to rubber in. There are four DRS zones, the most of any track, to encourage overtaking. For 2024 DRS is activated after lap one.

The circuit has awesome high-speed sections and a couple of years ago Lewis Hamilton averaged 235km/h around Albert Park for his pole lap.

The teams will need to set up their cars with a mix of low and high downforce characteristics. Most importantly a car that will perform well around this circuit must have a well-sorted chassis, as that gives the drivers the advantage in the high-speed corners.

Is Perez The Only Driver Who Can Challenge Verstappen?

Verstappen hasn’t been under any pressure in the first two races, his Red Bull teammate Perez finished 22 seconds adrift in Bahrain and 13 seconds behind him in Saudi Arabia.

The triple world champion is 15 points clear of the Mexican at this early stage of the season, and if Perez continues to produce similar performances, he may be the only credible challenger to Max.

Ferrari should have Carlos Sainz back in the SF-24 this weekend after he was replaced for the latter part of the weekend in Jeddah by rookie Oliver Bearman.

It will be interesting to see if the Italian team can get closer to Red Bull this weekend, after making advancements in Saudi Arabia compared to Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc won here in 2022 and we’ve installed the Monegasque driver to feature on the podium alongside the Red Bull drivers.

Further down the field, McLaren and Aston Martin are likely to battle behind the Ferraris. The MCL38 should prove to be rapid in the first two sectors which offer fast corners but could struggle in the final sector. Oscar Piastri wanted to put in a strong performance in front of his home crowd.

Mercedes aren’t too confident going into the Albert Park circuit race. According to, the team’s trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says they will “design some experiments” for this weekend.

F1 info nugget: Last year’s Australian GP saw three red flags and only 12 cars finished the race. 


Winner: Verstappen
Podium: Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez
Winning Margin: Over 12 seconds
Fastest lap: Sainz
Pole position: Verstappen
First to retire: Pierre Gasly
Most Team Points: Red Bull
Both Cars Qualify for Q3 Shootout: McLaren
Practice 1/2/3 Winning Car: Norris/ McLaren
Safety Car: Yes
Top 6: Stroll, Hamilton, Russell
Top 10: Albon, Hulkenberg, Tsunoda
Fastest pit stop: Ferrari

Sean Parker is a motorsport journalist and sports content creator at The South African. He has worked for the country's premier motoring publications, and is a Formula 1 contributor to, the Bet Central podcast, and Vision View Sports radio.

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