F1 Australia GP Preview

Mustafa SariContributor IMarch 27, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and Brawn GP heads down pitlane at the start of practice for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 27, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

New Formula One Season starts in Melbourne. New rules make different grid. Before making preview of drivers, track and rules. In First and Second practice sessions, Nico Rosberg was the fastest driver then Brawn, Toyota, Force India and Ferrari completed Top 10.



Track is Albert Park circuit which is in Melbourne, The Albert Park. Normally, it is a road for normal cars and organizers change it only for F1 race. Circuit has 16 corners.This Year, Race will start in 1700 local time. Fastest Corner is Turn 8 with 255 km/h and Maximum G insisted in Turn 12 with 4.52G.

It is a medium down force circuit. It is generally a slippery. In last two years, Ferrari and McLaren won the races with Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Mclaren won nine times in Melbourne. Last Year's Fastest Lap was 1.27.418 by Heikki Kovalainen.

Race Distance: 307.574 km

Number of Laps: 58

Circuit Length: 5.303 Km

Lap Record: 1.24.125 M. Schumacher(2004)



No. 1 Lewis Hamilton P1. 16th P2. 18th

Hamilton is the reigning champion but new rules doesn't effect good to Mclaren. Today, he was 16th and 18th and he was slower than his team mate in both practice sessions.

He went off track in practices and doesn't look fast too. This year, it looks Hamilton is not favourite to win the race. 1.27s will improve in Qualifying but in race, it will be hard to fight in back after being a front-runner.


No. 2 Heikki Kovalainen P1. 5th P2. 17th

Heikki had a low-key season with Mclaren last year. Also he must prove his talent this year. In both practice sessions, he was faster than Hamilton. In first practice, he topped the times two or three times more than Kimi, and Williams went faster, so it was encouraging for the team.

If McLaren have a good speed in race and qualifying. Heikki will have more chance to shine in Melbourne.


No. 3 Felipe Massa P1. 7th P2. 10th

Felipe was the runner up last year and this year, he is one of favourites for the championship. In practice, Felipe was fast especially in longer runs but he was seriously struggling in braking with F60. 

Felipe matched Kimi in second practice but in first he was outpaced by him. Ferrari is still one of favourites for the win so Felipe has the same faith too.


No. 4 Kimi Raikkonen P1. 3th P2. 11th

Kimi was very fast in morning session and finished third and encouraged the team but in afternoon, he was in 11th place and slower than Massa.

Ferrari looks in hotter weather, the car is fast with Kimi but with afternoon conditions it turns a midfield car so Kimi has the pace but car is a question mark in both race and qualifying.


No. 5 Robert Kubica P1. 13th P2. 15th

BMW is struggling for grip and Kubica was slower than people imagined. Last Year, He was in championship fight and fought for wins. In Practice, Kubica didn't have a good session after struggling for grip.

In both sessions both didn't show the speed and his times were below top ten. But qualifying and race will be a different story.


No. 6 Nick Heidfeld P1. 11th P2. 14th

Quick Nick was not quick in both practice sessions. As I mentioned before team struggle for grip but KERS equipped Heidfeld was the faster BMW on Friday. Maybe KERS can give a boost to challenge for Kubica.

In order to practice speed, he doesn't show a way to victory with KERS.


No. 7 Fernando Alonso P1. 10th P2. 12th

In Press Conference, Alonso said he was happy but he want to be more happier but form his comments it looks like podium is a dream for two time world champion. Also his times suggests same for Alonso.

If the grip levels will same for both qualifying and race his hopes will gone for another time. Also he was again faster than his team mate.


No. 8 Nelson Piquet Jr. P1. 18th P2. 19th

Nelson was only faster than problem cars on circuit today. This year he must shine to stay with the team but with practice times suggests he will be nowhere on the grid. he is again in the shadow of master Alonso. In qualifying and race, he showed no hope on Friday.


No. 9 Jarno Trulli P1.12th  P2.3th

Trulli was not happy with the balance of the car in Friday but it seems Toyota will have chance to fight for victory. In first practice, he was struggled but in second he was the third fastest which is good for himself. But we can see how he can manage with the car in race and qualifying.


No. 10 Timo Glock P1. 8th P2.6th

Glock was always in top 10 so he had the speed with a unbalanced car, he had good speed in practice but ıf the weather will be the same Glock can be in Top 10 in both race and qualifying.


No. 11 Sebastian Bourdais P1.19th  P2.16th

This year, Bourdais must raise his game but with new rules and his Friday form shows Toro Rosso will miss last year. Otherwise, Bourdais times like hamilton's but he had a trouble-free day.

Situation looks like Seb needs luck to be front on race.


No. 12 Sebastian Buemi P1. 15th P2. 20th

Buemi was fast in testing and he is the only rookie in this season. His times are near to Bourdais but he was slower on Friday. With new series he hope to have a good race otherwise it is hard to see him in points on Sunday.


No. 13 Mark Webber P1. 17th  P2. 4th

When Vettel is struggling Webber shine in afternoon session on Friday. Webber thinks big teams will return in form in race but his afternoon pace will be good news for hoping victory for red bull.


No. 14 Sebastian Vettel P1.20th P2.8th

Vettel was shadowed by Webber on Friday. Despite speed, Vettel had hydraulic problems and he went off track on Friday. His afternoon form show red bull has the pace for Top 10. Vettel must raise his game to challenge local Webber for Qualifying and Race.

No. 15 Nico Rosberg P1.1th  P2.1th

Williams and Rosberg showed promising speed on Friday. He was faster than Brawns and he was faster than last year's pole time. Friday form shows now they are the favourites for win with Brawns, Toyotas and Red Bulls. Maybe Rosberg find the car he hoped for but we will see the real deal on Saturday and Sunday.


No. 16 Kazuki Nakajima P1.2th P2.7th

Nakajima made promising start like Rosberg. He was always in top ten also he was tenth slower than Rosberg in morning. Last year, Kazuki showed what people didn't expected so he wouldn't do same for this weekend. His Qualifying time will be crucial for race.  


No. 17 Adrian Sutil P1.9th  P2.9th 

Sutil started a good weekend with second fastest mercedes powered team and top 10 times. He also out-paced fisi on Friday. Sutil is happy with the situation but like everybody, McLaren and Ferrari will surprise and made Sutil's hope bad for weekend.


No. 18 Giancarlo Fisichella P1.14th P2. 13th

Fisi was happy with his car but his real problem was Sutil on Friday. Sutil was the upper hand on Friday, but all force India's were faster than Hamilton, so in bad scenario, they will be not in top 10 but they will have fight with Mclaren Mercedes.


No. 19 Jenson Button P1.6th P2.5th

Button is happy for being favourites for the weekend but unexpected Williams will be problem for him also his times are good but Rubinho has more pace throw Saturday. He will be on podium but he expect Kimi and Massa fight for Victory.


No.20 Rubens Barrichello P1.4th P2.2th

Nobody expect to see Rubens in Australia this year but he outpaced button on Friday and he hopes more to come. He is still favourite to win with button with Friday times. Brawn will shine in race and qualifying. Maybe Rubens can win the race. 

What can we expect from rules and race ?

I think this year's Australia GP will be very exciting because old frontrunner's are now back or in midfield. New down force levels will make us to see more spins and more overtaking with KERS.

I hope KERS will help for more overtaking in race because there are a lot of  non-equipped KERS cars. On Friday, Williams, Red Bull, Brawn and Toyota are the real favourites from Friday. Ferrari, Renault and Mclaren maybe surprise the grid.

From Fan's point of view, It will be exciting to see new people to race for victory. New tyres made difficulties about soft is very soft and hard is too hard. Trulli mentioned as Tyres made cars unbalanced because of their grips.

Mclaren, Renault and Ferrari hope for improvement in race even this hope will be exciting because these teams will make recoveries even they are bad in start.

I think, Race's start time will be crucial because grip will be not same as last year. This makes harder to predict who will win the race but whoever wins it will be surprise to see.

This time odds says different to last year but this is F1, you will never know what is the situation before race starts.