The Daily Spin: Thursday Edition

Fans streamed through the gates as the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020 officially started on Thursday.

As the pit lane prepared for Formula 1® practice, and as the support events burst into action, here is some of what happened at the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit.

GOLD FOR AUSTRALIA!

Motorsport Australia is to reinstate its Gold Star award for the country’s champion open-wheel driver.

The Star will be awarded to the winner of the inaugural S5000 Championship, the first round of which is this weekend at Albert Park.

The award has not been presented since 2014, when it was awarded to the winner of the Australian Formula 3 Championship, Simon Hodge.

Previous winners of the Gold Star include Indianapolis 500 winners and IndyCar champions Will Power and Scott Dixon, Supercars legends Mark Skaife, John Bowe and Rick Kelly, and Kevin Bartlett and Frank Matich.

NO GOLD FOR AUSTRALIA!

Three-time Australian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel commented on the ‘curse’ on Australian drivers, none of whom have won their home GP since Alan Jones won at Calder Park in 1980.

“It probably helps that I am not Australian, and Lewis [Hamilton] has done quite well here as well,” he said.

“I am trying to joke but I am German, and it is probably not what you expect!”

MORE GOLD FOR AUSTRALIA!

The Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020 attracts media from all over the world, and some of the writers and photographers are more well known than others.

One of the shooters at the race knows something about gold. Kathy Watt won an Olympic gold medal in the women’s road race in Barcelona in 1992, but is keeping a pretty low profile as she goes about her business. Watt is an experienced photographer, and has been covering the sport for about 20 years.

WAU WILD CARD UP IN THE AIR

The question of whether Walkinshaw Andretti United might again run a Wildcard entry in the 2020 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is unanswered - but it is not impossible.

WAU co-owners Zak Brown and Ryan Walkinshaw addressed the question at Albert Park but whether such an entry goes ahead may depend on matters out of their hands.

“With all the calendars moving around now, and I have a feeling all the series will be moving around, and we are already starting to see [that] in the GT Championship,” said Brown, the executive director of McLaren.

“We will have to see how that plays out and what the chessboard looks like.”

Brown would not be drawn on whether current McLaren drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, or former driver Fernando Alonso, would like to be involved.

“I think that recruiting top-line drivers for that race isn’t a challenge.”

The WAU team ran a third Commodore Supercar in the race last year, driven by Indycar stars Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe, and backed by Andretti Autosport Indycar sponsor US Concrete.

The Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020 runs in Melbourne until Sunday. Book online and save up to $10* on AusGP Park Pass tickets before prices increase at the gate

*Conditions apply.

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