The Formula 1 is coming back to Australia once more after the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the competition holding events there for the past three years.
2019 was the last time that Melbourne was able host the Grand Prix with Valtteri Bottas winning the race and Lewis Hamilton coming in second.
How different things are likely to be this year - while Hamilton remains with Mercedes, the Mercedes success at the past two Grand Prix is more reminiscent of a middle-order franchise who got lucky in Bahrain.
Ferrari, however, seem to have risen from their recent fall into high-end middle-order teams and have seen four podiums in the last two Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc took the first win of 2022 with his teammate Carlos Sainz behind while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his first 2022 win in Saudi Arabia the week after with Leclerc and Sainz following in second and third place respectively.
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was heartbreaking for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who was unable to convert his pole position into a win after a poorly timed pit stop.
However, Saudi Arabia saw much more drama than that which took place on the track.
A missile strike on an oil refinery took place just a few miles from the Jeddah Corniche circuit, causing doubt over whether the race would go ahead at all.
After the weekend concluded, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said: “I think as a collective, Formula 1 needs to sit down and discuss what we have learned and what our findings are from the weekend.”
When asked if he expects the F1 to return to Saudi Arabia, he replied: “That is a question for (Formula 1 CEO) Stefano Domenicali and the FIA.”
This weekend, Formula 1 moves away from the Middle East and as the sport hits a completely different part of the planet.
Here is all you need to know ahead of the third Grand Prix event in 2022:
When is the Australian Grand Prix?
The Australian GP is taking place from Friday 8 April 2022 to Sunday 10 April 2022.
Friday 8 April 2022:
- Practice 1, 4am-5am BST
- Practice 2, 7am-8am BST
Saturday 9 April 2022:
- Practice 3, 4am-5am BST
- Qualifying, 7am-8am BST
Sunday 10 April 2022:
- RACE, 6am-8am BST
Where is the Australian Grand Prix
The Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix takes place at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.
Melbourne has hosted the Australian segment of the Formula 1 calendar since 1995. The Albert Park circuit can be quite bumpy with the track at the start of the weekend often quite slippery.
The track requires a well-sorted chassis and drivers will also need a reactive front end to allow them through certain corners.
Melbourne is one of the faster tracks of the season and in 2019, Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap was at an average of over 235km/h.
How to watch the Australian Grand Prix
Every session from the start of the first practice session to the end of the race will be available to watch on Sky Sports. Sky Sports packages start at around £40/month.
Who is likely to win the Australian Grand Prix?
Mercedes achieved a 1-2 finish back in 2019, the last time the Australian Grand Prix was held due to coronavirus, with Valtteri Bottas coming in first and Lewis Hamilton in second.
However, Mercedes have been so far off the mark with pace that it seems highly unlikely they will be able to match their previous success.
Ferrari and Red Bull on the other hand have shown great pace in the recent two Grand Prix and it is looking likely that Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will battle it out for the 2022 Championship.
What is the team news?
Sebastian Vettel has recovered from Covid-19 and is set to return to Aston Martin. Meanwhile, Haas’ Mick Schumacher has recovered after crashing in Saudi Arabia and will race in Australia.