F1 is set to return to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne after nearly three years and one could find the race getting hotter than usual thanks to a major overhaul of the Albert Park Circuit. A number of corners have been made faster and wider, as explained in our previous article.
Most importantly, the addition of another DRS zone to the existing three zones has escalated the speed one level up. No other grand prix race has had four separate DRS activation points before. More details of the Albert Park track’s map are visible on the Official Formula One website.
The fourth DRS zone will be added on the new straight that approaches the fast chicane of turn nine and turn 10. However, the circuit will have only two DRS detection points. The first point is at the start of sector two, just after turn six. This can be activated at the start of sector three before or after the high speed chicane.
The second DRS detection point is located before turn thirteen hairpin and will be activated all along the pit straight and right after turn two towards turn three. The re-profiling of the track and the addition of a fourth DRS zone has made this a much faster track to race on. One could expect to see plenty of action, near misses and brave overtakes.
Prior to this, the Albert Park Circuit saw three DRS zones being used in 2019. In 2020, the event was cancelled when two drivers tested positive for Covid-19 before the Friday Practice. In 2021, the race was scheduled for the end of the year but was canceled due to the Australian Government’s Covid restrictions.
I love how there was talk of DRS being scrapped past 2022 and then for the Aus GP they're like
'Nah, we'll go with 4'
— Matt Gallagher (@MattyWTF1) April 5, 2022
Speaking of DRS, Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner pointed out after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that F1 should look into the placement of DRS detection lines to avoid “cat and mouse games” in the future. This came after drivers were witnessed holding themselves back from overtaking. Here’s our detailed analysis of the DRS saga.
However, the addition of a fourth DRS zone to the Albert Park Circuit suggests that maybe, DRS is here to stay for a while. The drivers love it and so do a lot of the fans!