Australian GP Preview 2009

Michael RobertsContributor IMarch 25, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18:  A general view of the Albert Park surrounds during preparations for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 18, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia. The Australian Formula One Grand Prix, the first of the new season, takes place on March 26-29, 2009.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The Australian Grand Prix usually offers the first glimpse of what we can expect to see for the rest of the year, although last years race didn't provide any clues.

With a large number of DNFs only 6 cars were classified as finishing due to a first corner accident and a range of component failures.

Winning the winter testing championship is pointless if you can't back it up with pole positions and race wins, nevertheless there a number of teams who seem to have taken a step forward over the winter.

With considerable changes since 2008 there is every chance for a race of high attrition, so expect some unusual faces on the podium.

A quick look at's odds for the opening round of the championship show that Button and Raikkonen are favourites to win the race at 4/1, with their respective team mates Barrichello and Massa on 6/1, as is Alonso.

The bookies obviously basing their figures on winter testing times, as the BMW combination of Kubica and Heidfeld have odds of 8/1 and 20/1 respectively.

However, as you would imagine you can never rule out Lewis Hamilton and McLaren, who according to Bernie Ecclestone have been sandbagging during the winter and will be running at the front during the race.

Thinking Point

The outcome of the race could well depend on which teams run the new KERS systems during the race. Currently only Renault, McLaren and Ferrari have announced that they are going to use their systems, whilst BMW Sauber have yet to decide.

At this early stage in the championship these hybrid devices will be at their most unreliable but they do offer a competitive advantage nevertheless.