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Featured 2016 Formula One Australian Grand Prix

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by R.J. O'Connell, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell

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    2016 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.png
    Formula 1 is back, and Melbourne, Australia is once again the host of the opening round of the World Championship in 2016.

    This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the first Australian GP at Albert Park Street Circuit, and in those twenty years, Melbourne's temporary cathedral of speed has been the venue for some of F1's most memorable opening acts. It began in 1996, with a colossal, end-over-end shunt for Martin Brundle on lap one, and a race between two second-generation superstars driving for Williams Renault - that saw Damon Hill defeat a debuting Jacques Villeneuve for the victory - the first in a championship-winning campaign for the son of the legendary Graham Hill.

    It was only the first of many memorable Australian Grands Prix at Melbourne. The following year, David Coulthard brought McLaren back to the top step of the podium for the first time in nearly four years. Every Australian racing fan will remember where they were when Mark Webber stole the show in 2002, when he held on to finish fifth in his very first Grand Prix for perennial underdogs Minardi. And Melbourne was the place where Brawn GP and lead driver Jenson Button rose from the ashes of Honda's F1 collapse to lead a sensational 1-2 finish in their first and only Australian GP, in 2009.

    The Australian Grand Prix is where months of pre-season testing, development, research, and preparation at a constant ten-tenths will culminate in the first true measure of what lies ahead for all twenty-two drivers and eleven constructors over the twenty-one rounds that make up the largest F1 calendar in history.

    Though its narrow margins make it a demanding track in theory, Albert Park has proven a bountiful playground for debuting Formula 1 superstars. Three rookie drivers have scored a podium finish on their debut in Melbourne since 1996. This year, a crop of three intriguing rookies - former GP2 Series champion Jolyon Palmer for Renault, reigning DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein for Manor, and his teammate Rio Haryanto, the first Indonesian F1 driver - make their F1 debuts in Melbourne.

    There is also the much-anticipated arrival of American constructor Haas F1 Team, who with Romain Grosjean leading the charge, hope to embark on the most successful season for an all-new constructor since the 7-Up Jordan team of 1991.

    Returning to F1 in a vibrant golden livery is Renault, who succeed the former Lotus F1 Team. They're led by young Kevin Magnussen, who himself returns to F1 after an unfulfilled year on the sidelines - as does Haas' second driver, Esteban Gutierrez.

    Scuderia Toro Rosso and their electrifying rookie drivers Carlos Sainz, Jr. and Max Verstappen turned heads around the world in 2015. Now powered by Ferrari, Toro Rosso's dynamic duo seek to break through with podium finishes - maybe even a landmark victory - in their second season.

    Sahara Force India broke through in 2015 with their greatest season in the team's history. Former Le Mans champion Nico Hulkenberg and teammate Sergio Perez will once again do battle in the hope of capturing their first F1 victory - a feat that has frustratingly eluded both drivers so far.

    Williams Martini Racing are in the midst of their greatest period of sustained success since their alliance with BMW. All eyes will be on them and their drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, as they seek to stay near the top of the running order in 2016. Is this the year that they finally stand on top of the podium?

    With three Aussie victories, McLaren Honda driver Jenson Button is the most successful active driver in Melbourne. Both he and fellow World Champion, Fernando Alonso, endured an abysmal 2015 campaign. For McLaren and their drivers, another wasted season is unacceptable. In testing, they showed drastic improvement from where they were last year. Their legions of fans enter 2016 with the renewed optimism that McLaren, Alonso, and Button can return to the top.

    Last year in Melbourne, Sebastian Vettel stood on the podium in his very first race for Scuderia Ferrari. It was the beginning of a rejuvenating campaign for the former four-time World Champion. The expectations are raised in 2016, and Vettel is ready to make his push towards his fifth world title - his first with Ferrari, the team for whom his hero, Michael Schumacher, cemented his racing legacy. Kimi Raikkonen, who debuted here fifteen years ago, and took his last F1 victory here three years ago, must deliver in what could be his final season for the Scuderia.

    But no driver is more revered on the streets of Albert Park than their racing hero, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing. He stood on the podium in 2014, but 2015 was a lackluster outing - and a lackluster season all around for the three-time former Grand Prix winner. Over 100,000 fans on race day will be cheering Ricciardo on to victory in the hope of witnessing history - in the thirty years that the Australian GP has been a World Championship race, no Australian driver has ever won it.

    And they'll all be chasing the unstoppable Silver Arrows of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, led by three-time and defending World Champion Lewis Hamilton, and his teammate and bitter rival Nico Rosberg.

    Rosberg won here in 2014, Hamilton won here last year. In total, Mercedes have won 32 of the last 38 Grands Prix held in the last two seasons, and Hamilton has become the most successful British driver in F1 history. They again look to be the team to beat going into 2016. But in the most heated intra-team rivalry of a generation, the question remains as to whether Hamilton or Rosberg claims the championship for Mercedes this year. If they do, it will likely start with a victory in the Australian Grand Prix - where 60% of the winners have gone on to win the World Championship that same year.

    Welcome back, Formula 1.

    Australian Grand Prix Schedule (all times GMT)

    Friday

    Free Practice 1 - 1:30-3:00
    Free Practice 2 - 5:30-7:00
    Saturday
    Free Practice 3 - 3:00-4:00
    Qualifying - 6:00-7:00
    Sunday
    Race (58 Laps) - 5:00
     
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  2. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld
    Administrator Staff Premium

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    This will be a weekend with a very little amount of sleep I fear. Same as every year: love it :D

    Can't wait to see all the cars and drivers on the track again. Glad the winter is over.
     
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  3. Emerson Meyer

    Emerson Meyer
    Keep Fighting Premium

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    Long shot... I guess, Mercedes has a good chance to win... not sure...
     
  4. Blimey

    Blimey
    Banned

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    very unlikely that Williams will be at the top again, Ferrari has gained a lot over the 2 years.
     
  5. Qazdar Karim

    Qazdar Karim

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    gonna be tight between merc and ferrari
     
  6. Chris

    Chris
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    I'm so bloody excited! Come on Lewis!
    Hopefully Ferrari will put up a fight against Mercedes, great to see more than one team challenging for wins.
     
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  7. Kevin Pheiffer

    Kevin Pheiffer

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    ANYONE FOR A "MARGHERITA" ?????? :cool::laugh::laugh::cool:
     
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  8. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell

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    Here's at least part of the Thursday press conference. GET IT BEFORE IT'S INEVITABLY TAKEN DOWN
     
  9. Alex McRacing

    Alex McRacing

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    cool video I found if you like star wars and f1
     
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  10. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    Wah wah. Premium

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    At least Renault F1 (former Lotus F1) still didn't lost their touch..
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell

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    It's great. I love the new-age Buzzin' Hornets already. I don't know if they'll get above the lower midfield this year, but I want them to do well. Both drivers have a lot to prove, I feel - Magnussen, of course, wants to prove that McLaren did him wrong by dropping him. Jolyon Palmer wants to prove he's not just an unheralded GP2 champion who's there for his money and his surname - and after reading about how he cheated death not once, but twice, on his way to F1, I admit, I can get behind a driver like that.
     
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  12. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell

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    FP1 is ON
     
  13. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld
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    Tuned in, thanks for the heads-up!
     
  14. Shawn Jacobs

    Shawn Jacobs
    SpeedyMite Racing Premium

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    The Renault looks fantastic! Great to see some colour, if only McLaren would pay attention!
     
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  15. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld
    Administrator Staff Premium

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    ^^ That. Great looking car indeed.
     
  16. Folluto

    Folluto
    900grados.es

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    Go Fernando!!!
     
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  17. Shawn Jacobs

    Shawn Jacobs
    SpeedyMite Racing Premium

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    Bloody Melbourne rain, unfortunately this session won't give much indication on pace
     
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  18. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell

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    Not expecting much out of a heavily moistened FP1.
     
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  19. thatmotorfreak

    thatmotorfreak

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    Looking forward to the actual race this weekend. Not sure if I'll keep up with the live broadcast, so I hope for a replay shortly after.
    It's been a while since I've tried keeping up with F1. Last time I did was when Schumacher was still kicking butt in the early 2000's.
     
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  20. Philip Heck

    Philip Heck

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    FOM completely messed up the team colours on the standings there...
    Why is Haas dark red, Mclaren light grey and Manor dark grey... wtf?