Albert Park has been the home of the Australian Grand Prix since 1996 and the circuit’s configuration hasn’t changed since its inception. Melbourne’s Grand Prix track is a street circuit but its park location gives it a good amount of run-off but you’d be foolish to exploit much of it. Overtaking is famously difficult around here in real life but in the game, opportunities arise frequently thanks to the 3 DRS zones. Overall, this is a fun and challenging circuit to drive and a good one to begin your Formula 1 career mode in, Let’s see what a lap has in store!
Turn 1 & 2 – Brabham & Jones
The chicane which bears the names of Australia’s two Formula 1 World Champions (Sir Jack Brabham and Alan Jones) opens the lap in Melbourne. You’ll be going 200 mph down the start/finish straight before applying the brakes just after the 100m board. This is an overtaking opportunity but it’s not the best one, as there’s another DRS straight immediately following these corners. Decelerate to fifth gear and throw the car towards the apex, gently kissing the inside kerb without cutting. I found the track extension and corner cutting boundaries to be very strict around this circuit but you can run the car out onto the outside run-off at Turn 2. Be sure not to extend by putting your right wheels over the white line, that will get you a penalty. As soon as can get on the throttle, hug the kerbing and run-off through T2, a smooth run through here sets you up for the second straight and gaining a place, a bad one will leave you vulnerable to being passed.
You’ll be breaking from nearly 200 mph again here on the run down to the third corner, aka Whiteford. Put the anchors on at the 100m board, it’s very easy to brake too late here and run wide into the gravel on the outside of T3. Like Brabham, you need to kiss the apex, running your wheel over it will unsettle the car on the traction zone through the next corner. Once the car is straightened up, gently reapply the power and run as wide as you can into the fourth corner.
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When you’re about to touch the yellow line on the outside, swing back to the left and take as much kerb as you dare on the inside. This line can cost you some time but it prevents you from running wide on exit, which costs you even more on the low-grip surface. Clip the outside kerbing on exit and avoid the sausage kerb at all costs, that will likely end up in a spin.
In my opinion, Turn 5 is one of the hardest on the track. In most cars, you can go flat in qualifying, but it’s challenging to do so even in the Mercedes or Ferrari. The inside kerb is one you have to contact to go flat out but taking too much will unsettle the car and lead to an accident. Putting your right wheels over it and no more is probably the optimum, and this allows you to use the yellow and green striped surface on exit.
You’ll almost be hitting eighth gear going into Turn 6 and the braking is difficult, as the track snakes from side to side. Brake at around 80m and as far to the left as you can without getting grass on your tyres. Go down into fourth gear and clatter over the inside kerb. Cut by as much as you can get away with, as this sets up Turn 7 and the run down to the next chicane. Don’t be afraid to use the dark green grasscrete on corner exit, you need to use every inch of the road and some here to gain time. Turn 8 is “easy flat” as it bends to the right, but you need to be on your toes, as getting out of line here will cost you time and make you pick up marbles on corner exit.
Named after the great Jim Clark, this chicane is very similar to Jones and Brabham at the start of the lap. Arriving while topping out in seventh, brake at around 75m and kiss the inside kerb of Turn 9. The sausage kerb on the inside is deadly, it will guarantee a spin or an off. For Turn 10, ride the yellow and green kerbing but avoid the green grasscrete. Be careful on exit as well to avoid the outside barrier, it’s very easy to contact them.
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Turns 11 & 12
The bending “straight” leads you on to the most exciting corners on the track where the real life drivers are subjected to 6G of force on their necks. There’s no DRS here, but if you’re very brave, you can attempt an overtake going into Turn 11. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, as chances of an accident are high and there’s a DRS zone after Turn 12. You’ll be arriving at 190mph and brake at 50m before throwing the left lock on to make it through T11. Kiss the inside kerb and no more, you’ll end up with a corner cutting penalty 100% of the time and the darker concrete has less grip.
You’ll be on the throttle almost straight away and swing to the right for Turn 12, the most challenging corner on track. This is the hardest corner because you don’t know if you’ve made a mistake until far too late. Taking too much speed will end up with you spinning from either cutting the corner or using too much exit and running through the grass. Clip the inside kerbing and don’t use any on exit, it’s grooved and will spin you out. It’s a very fine line between success and disaster but it’s so satisfying when you hook it up perfectly. A good run is required through this corner too, as there’s now a third DRS zone on the run down to Ascari.
Ascari & Stewart
After the fourth long straight, you’ll arrive at nearly 200 mph and brake just after the 100m board disappears from your view. You can get away with running a little deep here because of the outside kerbing, so this is a surprisingly useful overtaking spot. Kiss the inside kerb once more on entry, taking too much will cost you time and earn you a corner cutting penalty and avoid the kerb on the exit of Ascari to set you up for Stewart. Ascari is essentially a standard 90-degree corner you usually see on street circuits.
Stewart is another challenging corner of Albert Park, having a blind apex and little margin for error, as gravel trap is awaiting you on the outside if you take too much speed. Lift off the throttle at around 30m and crank on as much lock as you dare going towards the apex. Don’t use the inside kerb, riding it will end in a spin and use a little run-off on exit.
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Turns 15 & 16
After the high-speed Stewart, there’s Prost, which looks easy but is anything but. Brake at 75m and swing to the right being sure to avoid the inside kerb, it will spin you out or make you run wide onto the grass. Avoid the kerb on the outside and roll to the left to set up the final corner. Prost is also an overtaking opportunity if you’re close out of T14, but an accident with the car ahead is likely if they don’t see you. When the racing line makes your left front cross the white line, crank on the right lock to aim for as close as to inside kerb as you can get, but don’t touch it. Running wide on exit isn’t an option, you can’t afford wheel spin as there’s two DRS straights in a row following the final corner. However, you can use some yellow and green striped kerbs on exit, there’s little margin for error though, as there are barriers on the outside.
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Australia has a fairly stock setup for it, the mid-level downforce default isn’t a bad one to have. You need a decent amount of wing to make the high-speed corners but have to be careful of having too much, as there are a lot of straights on this circuit. I found that 5/7 (front/ rear) wings were the best, although you can increase the front angle if you’re struggling in the chicanes. Off throttle diff should be as high as you can manage (around 80-90%) and on throttle about 70%. Camber as high as possible, toe as low as you can, but know that this directly affects tyre wear for the race. Suspension has to be on the soft side (about 3) as you will be using the kerbs around Albert Park but the ride height should stay low. Low tyre pressures are best to save tyres and brakes should be on high pressure, locking up isn’t an issue round here.
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