Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2014

2017 Australian Grand Prix stats preview

2017 Australian Grand Prix previewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The 2017 F1 season opens this week with the Australian Grand Prix. Here’s a look at the weekend ahead in stats.

Race history

Although many non-championship races have been held in Australia it didn’t join the world championship calendar until 1985. Its original venue, Adelaide, held the season finale for 11 consecutive years until 1995.

Alan Jones, Williams, Osterreichring, 1979
Alan Jones: Australia’s most recent world champion
Melbourne took over as the race’s home in 1996 and is holding the race for the 22nd time this year, meaning it has now hosted the race twice as many times as Adelaide did. This will be the 20th time the race has opened the world championship, having lost that status to Bahrain in 2006 and 2010.

As the opening race of the year, Melbourne is inevitably looked to for signs of who might enjoy success in the coming season. In its 21 races to date the winner has gone on to take the championship on 13 occasions, a 61.9% hit rate. All four race winners from 2006 to 2009 went on to win the title but since then just three out of seven have, including the last two champions.

Australia has a fairly small crop of F1 drivers but a good one. Only 14 Australians have started at least one race, just eight made it into double figures, but two of those became world champions: Jack Brabham and Alan Jones.

On top of that they have two more race winners: Mark Webber and current star Daniel Ricciardo. However the Australian Grand Prix has never been won by a home driver.

Indeed no Australian driver has officially taken a podium finish in their home race. Ricciardo stood on the podium in 2014 but he was subsequently disqualified. The best result for an Australian at home therefore remains fourth place, which Ricciardo achieved last year and Webber did in 2012.

The form book

Track data: Albert Park

Lap length 5.303km (3.295 miles)
Grand prix distance 307.574km (191.118 miles)
Lap record (race) 1’24.125 (Michael Schumacher, 2004)
Fastest lap (any session) 1’23.529 (Sebastian Vettel, 2011, qualifying three)
2016 Rate the Race 7.76 out of 10
2016 Driver of the Weekend Romain Grosjean

Albert Park track data in full

Two drivers who between them won five Australian Grands Prix have bowed out of F1 since the last race. Jenson Button was a three-time winner of this race and Nico Rosberg took his second Melbourne victory last year.

That leaves four prior winners on the grid: Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen (two wins each) plus Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso (one). Mercedes have won the last three Australian Grands Prix from pole position and all eyes will be on them on their rivals for any indication the upcoming season may be more competitive.

Five pole positions at this track means Hamilton is just one shy of Ayrton Senna’s record of six Australian Grand Prix pole positions, all of which he scored at Adelaide.

Big things are expected of Ferrari this weekend. Their last success at this track came in 2007 when Kimi Raikkonen won from pole.

However one driver who needs a change of fortune in this race is Daniil Kvyat. Having finished ninth on his debut for Toro Rosso in 2014 he failed to start either of his subsequent two appearances at Australia having moved to Red Bull. Perhaps a return to Toro Rosso will bring him better luck.

Lap times

The quickest lap seen around Albert Park was in 2011, when Sebastian Vettel set a 1’23.529 in his Red Bull-Renault RB7.

Overtaking

Just 13 cars were still running at the end of lap one in 2015 which is why that race saw so few passes. Last year’s race was more typical.

Race ratings

Here’s how F1 Fanatic readers have rated the Australian Grand Prix in recent years.

Join in Rate the Race when the chequered flag falls at the end of this year’s race. You will need a (free) F1 Fanatic account to participate:

2017 Australian Grand Prix

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14 comments on “2017 Australian Grand Prix stats preview”

  1. If a team gets 1-2 finish then the driver who won the Australian GP goes to win the title for that year.

  2. Thank you Keith for this article ! Great job and a perfect reminder preview.

  3. If the new tyres and aero have the desired effect, the pole time could be a 1:18, though I suspect it’ll be a little longer than that. Anything less than 1:20 will be really impressive.

  4. Force India says that the top three teams are out of reach for the mid field. So it’s either Ferrari, Mercedes or redbull. So something has to give.

  5. I believe this will be MClarens 326th race since last winning the constructors championship. This would put them in the top ten of Constructors with most race starts, tied with Ligier.

  6. My prediction after this weekend:
    – new fastest lap record (79.837);
    – 30 overtakes of which 15 aided by DRS;
    – rate the race: 7.3;
    – Senna to keep his pole record (alone);
    – no Aussie on the podium;
    – again winner from pole;
    – Kvyat to beat/equal his best result;
    – #hasstrollcrashedtoday: yes on Friday, no on Sunday;
    – McLaren DNF after 29 laps.

    and for later in the year:
    – no the winner of the OZ GP will NOT be the WDC!

    1. I’ll play this game with you @coldfly.

      – new record (80.214)
      – 26/12
      – RtR 7.6
      – Lewis ties Senna (I actually think you’re probably right on this but just to mix it up)
      – Agreed, no Aussie podium
      – Pole does not win
      – Kvyat will not get 9th or better; no points
      – I think Stroll won’t crash (somehow) but won’t be a factor either.
      – At least one McLaren makes it past halfway lap (29) but neither finishes all 58.

      – I’ll go on a limb and say the winner will be the WDC [but I expect to be proven wrong :) ].

      1. Not official yet, but it looks like:
        – new record – both correct, @hobo wins as his time is closer
        – overtakes@hobo wins by being closer to the actual number (did not even bother to count them)
        – rate the race@f1-liners, I’ll take this one, although voting is still on
        – # Aussie poles, Lewis ties Senna@hobo wins
        – Agreed, no Aussie podium – tie
        – Pole does not win@hobo wins
        – Kvyat will not get 9th or better; no points@f1-liners wins
        – I think Stroll won’t crash (somehow) but won’t be a factor either.@f1-liners takes an opportunistic win (it was still Friday in Canada ;)
        – At least one McLaren makes it past halfway lap (29) but neither finishes all 58. – both wrong, but @hobo wins as he is closer to the excellent result for the team, and @f1-liners apologises to McLaren

        – Season win – still open, and I’ll make this the tie-breaker ;)

        So for now @hobo beats @f1-liners 5-3 after the first 9 prediction outcomes, and the WDC becomes irrelevant.
        Well done mate!

        PS @keithcollantine, can you include @hobo‘s win in the congratulations bit in tomorrow’s round-up?

  7. Guybrush Threepwood
    21st March 2017, 19:24

    As much as I love the event itself (been going to it for the last 10 years) it’s not a great track. Too stop/start and no major overtaking spots. We shouldn’t use Melbourne as an indicator of overtaking possibility with these new cars as its almost impossible to overtake at the best of times. Just ask Hamilton last year!

  8. What a development rate they had from 2014 to 2016. Makes you wonder if a change that big was really necessary in terms of lap time goals.
    Although, of course, would be nice to see the same graph for different tracks.
    *Couldnt be bothered digging up pole laps myself :p

    1. Ye i would love to see the cars at the end of 2016 go around the track and see the difference.

  9. Ferrari is overdue for some success here!

  10. My gut feeling is that Red Bull may not even be the third best car at the start of the season (although I suspect that their budget will make them top three by the end). The Aussies may have to wait a little longer for a home podium.

    My main hope is for some competition for the win. If it turns out Mercedes have been bluffing hard and Ferrari are off the pace, it will be a real disappointment.

    1. Raveendhana
      22nd March 2017, 3:16

      I would want the team outside the top three to win, but that wont happen.

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