Formula One fans could be in for a few surprises and some unexpected drama at the start of Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
That is the view of Mexican racer Sergio Perez of the Sahara Force India team who told the media on Tuesday that a ‘messy' start was in prospect at the season-opener as the drivers adjusted to many minor regulation changes for the first time.
“Oh, definitely Turn 1 here can use a bit more adrenaline than at any other race throughout the year,” he told reporters at the Luna Park amusement funfair at St Kilda.
“I think getting here, with all the new regulations we have now -- with the clutch and so on – it can create a bit of a mess during the race as well, not only at the start…
“So, it will be a very interesting race as well with the new qualifying format. I think, it can vary a couple of things during the race…”
The chief changes for the drivers involve much greater restrictions on team radio and, notably, for the race starts, which leaves the drivers to handle the complexities unaided.
“You can get it wrong, if you are not fully focused and aware of what you are doing,” Perez explained.
“It is the first race, so it can be a bit of an adventure for the drivers, for all of us…”
He said that he, in common with all drivers, had been practicing making starts unaided.
And he admitted: “You can get it wrong if you drop the clutch to the wrong position, or if you don't do the right procedure.”
Perez added that he did not think the changes would have much affect on the grid or results.
“We have very clever engineers here and the drivers are very experienced -- as well. I struggle to think there will be much difference.
“But let’s see what happens on Sunday…”