By Ros Satar
- Practice 1 & 2 – Friday 18 March
- Practice 3 & Qualifying – Saturday 19 March
- Race – Sunday 20 March
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Winter training and testing is done, new changes are afoot, and it’s time to get ready for the opening race of the new Formula 1 season.
We’ve had news on changes to the qualifying rounds, new safety designs that haven’t always hit the mark with everyone, and motorbike selfie-gate.
But it’s time for all that to fade into a heat-hazed distance as the first Grand Prix of the year kicks into high gear.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton starts his bid for a third successive World Champion title, and started the season here with a win in Melbourne. With Sebastian Vettel talking up Ferrari’s chances of taking the fight to Mercedes this year, the scene is set for hopefully some scintillating racing, and not just getting out in front and staying there!
Vettel, in a Q&A with Formula1.com said: “Last season was of course different as the team came from a difficult 2014 season and the expectations were not too high – and if there were expectations then we exceeded them. But when you finish in P2 in the constructors’ championship it is natural that you want to make that final step to P1!
“And then you start to talk about wanting to be at the front and switch roles: from hunter to hunted! We’ve never made that a secret and will do anything to make it happen.”
Ferrari have managed to nab engineer Jock Clear from Mercedes in a bid to gain that all important inside edge, and Hamilton is coming into Melbourne wary of the Ferrari threat.
Talking to the BBC’s Andrew Benson, he said: “I think Ferrari have something up their sleeve. I think they are going to be a lot closer than they talk about. I think they are going to surprise. They are arriving on a low but will deliver high.”
The new qualifying format will make its debut here, as well as a host of other changes including restrictions on the information teams can relay to the drivers on the radio while they are out on the track.
Check out the F1 Circuit Guide to Albert Park here (Via Formula1.com YouTube Channel)