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The 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix - Preview

EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

12-15 MARCH 2015

What?

The 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix

Round 1 of 19

Where?

Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria

When?

March 14-16

Qualifying • 1700 Saturday March 15
Race start • 1700 Sunday March 16

Best record:

McLaren and Ferrari: six victories apiece in 18 races here
Michael Schumacher: four Melbourne victories 2000-01-02-04
Best of the 2014 drivers: Jenson Button, three wins here 2009-10-12

Lap record:

1:24.125 = 226.933 km/h • Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 2004

Best Moments

March 10, 1996 – the day it all started, with the Williams Renaults of Villeneuve and Hill monopolising the front row. Villeneuve led, Hill won, but Brundle became an instant hero when his Jordan flipped, he raced back to the pits and re-started.

March 3, 2002 – a young bloke from Queanbeyan by the name of Webber scores points on his World Championship debut, nursing an ailing Minardi to the line in fifth place and enjoying his own private podium appearance.

March 29, 2009 – rescued from potential oblivion after Honda’s withdrawal, the team reborn as Brawn Mercedes pulls off a stunning 1-2 on debut, with Button heading teammate Barrichello home to launch a stunning assault on the World Championship. Brawn will go on to lift both Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles.

Man of the Moment

Daniel Ricciardo – the ever-smiling West Australian graduates to the all-conquering Red Bull Racing squad, stepping into compatriot Mark Webber’s shoes as partner to four-time World Champion Vettel. “If we went to Malaysia or Bahrain for the first race then I’d be able to ease into my career with Infiniti Red Bull Racing but in Oz, I assume the weekend will be right up there in my face!” says Ricciardo. Dan has raced twice for Toro Rosso at Albert Park: in 2012 he was ninth, last year he failed to finish. Red Bull will expect better things…

Big issues

The 2014 regulations: it’s a Formula 1 revolution, with the new energy-saving, turbo-charged engine era dawning at Albert Park. Champions Red Bull have struggled in pre-season testing while the Mercedes-engined teams have come on strong. Could a new era see a new order – at least for the opening few races of the season?

The 2014 line-up: there are three new drivers on the grid this year, spearheaded by Kevin Magnussen. He’s 21 and the son of former Great Dane Jan, who starred in F3 but couldn’t take the big step up when he was given his F1 chance by Jackie Stewart in 1997. Comes with the pedigree of a stunning Formula Renault 3.5 title in his baggage; has dreamt of being a McLaren driver all his racing life. Marcus Ericsson, 23, of Sweden comes with serious GP2 experience as he joins Caterham; and Russian teen Daniil Kvyat vaults straight up from GP3, where he won the 2013 title, into Ricciardo’s seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Quote of the week

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes is right on the money:
“I’m excited about the new season, not just as a driver but as a fan. As a fan, you want to see overtaking throughout the field, you want to see different race winners, you want to see the championship go right down to the wire… I hope that the changes for this year will make that happen. This is the year you need to watch Formula One!”

Don’t quote us

Mercedes to hit the ground running with W05; McLaren to make an early impact after their dismal 2013; Williams as dark horses with Massa, Martini livery and Mercedes power!

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