Daniel Ricciardo says he is ‘pretty sure’ that changes to the configuration of the Albert Park track in Melbourne will be good for Formula 1 racing and he is happy that organizers have asked drivers what they think of the possible changes.
Albert Park has hosted Formula 1 since 1996 and the track has yet to undergo any configuration changes or get new asphalt, but that will change from this year’s race which was moved to a late date from 19 to 21 November due to the pandemic as the 21st race of the season.
Extensive changes include a wider pitlane that will be two meters wider than before, which should increase the maximum speed in the pitlane from 60 to 80 km/h, and the slow chicane made by Turns 9 and 10 will be eliminated and turned into a period of full throttle which will last until fast chicane.
The changes include differenc camber at some corners and widening of the track at key locations, including a new, sharper Turn number 11 (formerly Turn 13) to give drivers a better chance of overtaking, and the introduction of a fourth DRS zone is possible.
Ricciardo is one of the drivers consulted by the Australian GP leadership about the changes to the track, and the Australian is confident that the changes will have a good effect on racing as Albert Park is one of the most difficult tracks to overtake.
“They consulted a lot of drivers about the changes and I’m happy about that,” Ricciardo said.
“We gave our opinions and suggestions. Not all drivers agreed, but we all agreed that Sunday, race day, we want to make better. I had that in mind when I gave my suggestions.”
“Extending some corners, creating new straights in places to allow more use of the slipstreaming, it was a priority and I’m pretty sure it will be good.”
“Every street circuit is a challenge, but Albert Park is pretty fast which makes things even more difficult. There are a lot of bends in fourth and fifth gear and the track is pretty narrow in some places. It’s hard to overtake because of the limited width and because the track is so fast in today’s cars and it’s very difficult to follow someone in a series of fast corners. ”
“But changing some of the apexes and creating more space to have more chances to overtake and to give drivers more lines to avoid dirty air, I think that will really help.”
“Eliminating Turns 9 and 10 is a compromise because Turn 10 has always been quite challenging because you would be close to the wall at the exit. But in recent years the cars are so good that the traction out of Turn 10 is pretty good and the wall is no longer a threat. The car doesn’t go that aggressive against the wall as before. ”
“Moving that chicane will lead to a big slipstream after the Turn 6 which will be good with the extra DRS zone.”