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2023 Australian Grand Prix will be ‘fastest race in Melbourne ever’: Ultimate Guide

The Formula 1 season resumes this weekend, and all eyes will be on Albert Park for the highly-anticipated Australian Grand Prix.

Despite traditionally starting the F1 season in Melbourne, the 58-lap event will be the third race of the 2023 calendar, with the opening two rounds taking place in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

A record 419,114 fans attended last year’s Australian GP, making it Melbourne’s highest attended weekend sporting event in history.

In 2022, the entire track was resurfaced in a series of drastic changes to help improve racing quality, with the chicane at Turns 9 and 10 removed. Meanwhile, the introduction of a fourth DRS zone, located along the back of the circuit between Turns 6 and 11, makes this year’s Australian GP the “fastest race in Melbourne ever”.

“You’ve got the evolution of the cars from last year, and they’ve obviously got better, and the fourth DRS zone means the cars will be quicker around the back of the circuit,” Australian Grand Prix chief Andrew Westacott said.

“Which will obviously increase speed and therefore lap time and make it the quickest Grand Prix and the highest average speed ever in Melbourne.”

Meanwhile, the 2023 Australian GP will not only mark Oscar Piastri’s first home race as a Formula 1 driver, but also his first on Australian soil since his go-kart exploits as a teenager.

“It’s a massive privilege for me to be able to race in, not just my home country, but in my home city,” Piastri told Speedcafe.

“I grew up 10-15 minutes away from the circuit and could hear the cars back when they were loud enough back at home in the backyard, so for me, it’s really special.

“I feel super privileged to have that opp`ortunity, because it’s I think I’m one of very few people in the whole world, let alone Australia to have that chance.”

Session times (all times local)

Thursday, March 30

5.40pm-6.30pm: Supercars Race 1 (22 laps)

Friday, March 31

12.30pm-1.30pm: F1 Practice 1

2.00pm – 2.30pm: Formula 3 Qualifying

2.50pm-3.30pm: Supercars Race 2 (17 laps)

4pm-5pm: F1 Practice 2

5.30pm – 6.00pm: Formula 2 Qualifying

Saturday, April 1

10.45am – 11.30am: Formula 3 Sprint Race

12.30pm-1.30pm: F1 Practice 3

2.20pm – 3.10pm: Formula 2 Sprint Race

4pm-5pm: F1 Qualifying

5.25pm-6pm: Supercars Race 3 (14 laps)

Sunday, April 2

9.05am – 9.55am: Formula 3 Feature Race

10.20am-10.55am: Supercars Race 4 (laps TBC)

11.35am – 12.40pm: Formula 2 Feature Race

1pm-1.30pm- F1 drivers’ parade

3pm-5pm: F1 race (58 laps)

How to watch

The entire Australian Grand Prix, including every practice, qualifying and race, can be watched live and ad-break free on Foxtel and streaming platform Kayo.

Sunday’s race will be broadcast free-to-air on Channel 10 and streaming service 10 Play.

What happened last time?

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won the 2022 Australian Grand Prix after clinching pole position, joined on the podium by Red Bull’s Sergios Perez and Mercedes driver George Russell.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Ashton Martin’s Sebastian Vettell. and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz were forced to retire during the race.

McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Past winners

2022 – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

2021 – No race due to Covid-19 pandemic

2020 – No race due to Covid-19 pandemic

2019 – Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

2018 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

2017 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

2016 — Nico Rosberg, Mercedes

2015 — Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

2014 — Nico Rosberg, Mercedes

2013 — Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus-Renault

2012 — Jenson Button, McLaren

2011 — Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull

2010 — Jenson Button, McLaren

2009 — Jenson Button, Brawn

2008 — Lewis Hamilton, McLaren

2007 — Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

2006 — Fernando Alonso, Renault

2023 drivers’ standings 

1st – Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 44

2nd – Sergio Perez (Red Bull), 43

3rd – Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), 30

4th – Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 20

5th – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 20

6th – George Russell (Mercedes), 20

7th – Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 8

8th – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 6

9th – Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), 4

10th – Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 4

11th – Pierre Gasly (Alpine), 4

12th – Kevin Magnussen (Haas), 1

13th – Alexander Albon (Williams), 1

Yet to score points – Yuki Tsunoda (Alphatauri), Nico Hulkenberg (Haas), Logan Sargeant (Williams), Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo), Nyck De Vries (Alphatauri), Oscar Piastri (McLaren), Lando Norris (McLaren)

2023 constructors' standings

1st – Red Bull, 87

2nd – Ashton Martin, 38

3rd – Mercedes, 38

4th – Ferrari, 26

5th – Alpine, 8

6th – Alfa Romeo, 4

7th – Haas, 1

8th – Williams, 1

9th – Alphatauri, 0

10th – McLaren, 0

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13/04/2023, by Simon Milham