F1 to return to Melbourne in 2022 at revamped Albert Park track
The F1 Australian Grand Prix will return next year, and it’ll be a new-look Albert Park circuit, with the final stage of the track upgrade to be completed in summer.
The race, which has been cancelled for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has been locked in for April 7-10 as part of the 23-race season in 2022.
Modifications have already been made to the circuit designed to deliver higher speeds, more overtaking opportunities and better racing, while the pit lane has also been widened.
The final stage will see the entire track resurfaced for the first time in 25 years. Work will commence in late December and be completed by early January.
The modifications to seven of the circuit’s corners, with two removed entirely, are the biggest change since the race moved to Melbourne in 1996, offering a brand new on-track spectacle for fans in 2022.
The length of the track, following the racing line, will be reduced by 28 metres, from 5.259km to 5.231km, with lap times to decrease by approximately five seconds.
The upgrade will also deliver new locations for corporate suites, grandstands, and general admission fans, with spectacular views of the circuit.
Andrew Westacott, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO said, “These circuit modifications mean faster racing, with plenty of new opportunities for drivers to battle it out.”
“Since the 1950s Albert Park has been synonymous with Grand Prix racing with these upgrades aligning perfectly with the changes in specifications of the Formula 1 cars in 2022. While the project will make for more exciting racing, it also enhances the roads and surrounding facilities for community use beyond the event for years to come.”
Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo said, “Sundays and making race days more exciting for everyone, that’s what we all want and I think these changes are in the direction of what we want. Better races, more battles – the changes are going to push us towards that.”
Additionally, the project also delivers a range of community benefits, aligned with Parks Victoria’s Albert Park Master Plan, including increased lakeside parkland, additional on-street parallel parking, enhanced cycling corridors, improved lighting, and new cycling criterium loops.
Usually held as the season-opener, the Australian Grand Prix is slated as the third event on the 2022 F1 calendar, from April 7-10, after a season-opener in Bahrain on March 20 and Saudi Arabia on March 27.
2022 F1 Calendar
March 20: Bahrain, Sakhir
March 27: Saudi Arabia, Jeddah
April 10: Australia, Melbourne
April 24: Emilia Romagna, Imola*
May 8: Miami, Miami**
May 22: Spain, Barcelona*
May 29: Monaco, Monaco
June 12: Azerbaijan, Baku
June 19: Canada, Montreal
July 3: Great Britain, Silverstone
July 10: Austria, Spielberg
July 24: France, Le Castellet
July 31: Hungary, Budapest
August 28: Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps
September 4: Netherlands, Zandvoort
September 11: Italy, Monza
September 25: Russia, Sochi
October 2: Singapore, Singapore*
October 9: Japan, Suzuka
October 23: United States, Austin*
October 30: Mexico, Mexico City
November 13: Brazil, Sao Paulo
November 20: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina
*subject to contract **subject to FIA circuit approval