The countdown is on to trace motion on the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne.
The ultimate touches are being placed on the Albert Park circuit as we hit the ultimate 24 hours earlier than observe motion commences for the Australian Grand Prix.
However earlier than a wheel is turned in anger there’s already anticipation for a greater occasion, not less than for some — not Daniel Ricciardo maybe, whose McLaren is predicted to fare little higher than in his underwhelming first two rounds.
With simply in the future to go till motion commences, these are the Wednesday speaking factors.
Watch Each Follow, Qualifying & Race of The 2022 Formulation 1® Australian Grand Prix. Dwell & Advert-Break Free Throughout Racing on Kayo. New to Kayo? Attempt 14-Days Free Now >
ULTIMATE GUIDE: The Australian GP as we knew it’s lengthy gone. Now it’s extra ‘spectacular than ever’
Oscar Piastri turns 21
The Australian Grand Prix is beginning with a bang for Aussie F1 hopeful Oscar Piastri, who turns 21 right this moment, and by blissful coincidence the Formulation 1 calendar has taken him to his residence city to rejoice.
Piastri, reigning Formulation 2 champion, will likely be on the Albert Park sidelines this weekend as reserve driver for Alpine, able to cowl for Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon ought to the necessity come up. He’s additionally in McLaren’s pool of reserves ought to both Daniel Ricciardo or Lando Norris discover themselves unable to compete.
The unprecedented consideration on Piastri for this weekend will likely be within the type of one principal query: when will he get himself right into a full-time race seat?
Alpine has retained him as a reserve driver as a result of it charges him so extremely, however Ocon is signed to a long-term deal and it’s as but unclear whether or not Fernando Alonso will elect to retire or change groups on the finish of the season, probably leaving the Australian at a lifeless finish.
“I’m assured I can get someplace on the grid,” Piastri instructed Information Corp. “Clearly Alpine has been improbable for my profession within the final two years — and into our third yr collectively now — and I wish to stay loyal to them.
“We’ll simply need to see what occurs.”
Factors end Ricciardo’s most
Pre-season hope was that Daniel Ricciardo could be arriving in Melbourne with a frontrunning McLaren and vie to beat his 2014 career-best Albert Park end of second (technically — don’t point out the disqualification), however as a substitute he’ll land in his residence nation at a brand new low ebb.
McLaren’s begin to the season has been woeful. It began with a brake cooling miscalculation throughout Bahrain testing that left the automotive slowest of all of the producers within the race. Saudi Arabia was extra promising, however nonetheless the equipment was adequate just for the decrease reaches of the factors with out retirements up forward.
It’s clear the group is coming to phrases with the very fact it merely doesn’t have the downforce to match its rivals, and whereas there are some necessary updates the group remains to be hoping will assist it take a step ahead, boss Andreas Seidl has warned that Woking wants to just accept it merely hasn’t performed a adequate job.
‘Badly wanted’ Aussie F1 observe overhaul defined — and the great and dangerous information for Ricciardo
‘Prepare like hell’: Haas star’s Melbourne plan after painful F1 return
It means Albert Park — which received’t punish the automotive as a lot as Bahrain however is unlikely to be as beneficial as Saudi Arabia — will likely be one other tough weekend of low expectations for Ricciardo.
“Perhaps we might battle for factors,” he stated after Saudi Arabia. “I imply, I do know that’s not aiming very excessive, however that’s actually all we are able to goal for now.
“Till we get some huge updates, I believe something inside the highest 10 we’ll take as somewhat victory.”
“I’m actually hoping that Bahrain was a little bit of a bogey state of affairs for us,” he commented.
“We cleaned up a number of issues, [some] stuff with the brakes that we had points [with] in Bahrain, however I believe it was simply the circuit.”
Verstappen anticipating extra motion
The adjustments to the circuit format are going to be the primary problem for groups and drivers to deal with this weekend, and after a string of comparatively stale grands prix on the quarter-century-old circuit, there’s rising optimism among the many drivers that this yr’s occasion may be extra of a spectacle.
Max Verstappen, winner final outing in Jeddah, is hopeful it’ll assist him shut the 20-point hole to Charles Leclerc within the drivers standings.
“I’m actually trying ahead to racing in Australia once more,” he stated.
“Will probably be fascinating to see the observe updates. I believe they’ll make fairly a giant distinction, particularly in flip 6, the place probably the most vital change has occurred.
“There ought to be extra overtaking alternatives now, too, which is all the time optimistic.”
And with as much as 130,000 followers anticipated on Saturday and Sunday, the Dutchman is trying ahead to soaking within the Australian help.
“The ambiance is all the time so good there too,” he stated.