After a two week break from the track, Formula 1 is back and the third race of the season will take place in Australia. Last year saw Charles Leclerc reign victorious in Melbourne but given his turbulent and frustrating start to the 2023 season, it does not seem like a return to the podium is likely just yet.
Fernando Alonso had a dramatic end to his second race of the season with his third place taken away, only to be given back just a few hours later, and it’s hard to imagine that the combination of him and the two Red Bulls on the podium is going to be much changed when the drivers take to the Melbourne track.
Red Bull and Aston Martin are two of the only teams to have enjoyed two races of near bliss. Their competitors, notably Ferrari and McLaren, have endured a disappointing and upsetting opening two races. However, if they are to start competing for points and podiums any time soon, they will need to up their performances in Australia this weekend.
Here is all you need to know ahead of the Australian Grand Prix...
When is the Australian Grand Prix?
The race weekend will begin on Friday 31 March and will conclude with the race on Sunday 2 April. Here is the full schedule (all times are UK BST)
Friday 31 March:
Practice 1: 2.30am - 3.30am
Practice 2: 6am - 7am
Saturday 1 April:
Practice 3: 2.30am - 3.3.0am
Qualifying: 6am - 7am
Sunday 2 April:
Where will the Australian Grand Prix take place?
The Australian Grand Prix is held at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. It first hosted the Grand Prix in 1996 and is a 58 lap race. It can often be quite a bumpy race and the circuit at the start of the weekend can often be slippery, rubbering as the weekend progresses.
It is a weekend that also requires a well-sorted chassis, with several spots on the track where drivers need a reactive front end to allow them to chuck into a corner. It is one of the faster circuits on the calendar and Charles Leclerc set a lap record in 2022 of 1:20.260. The Monegasque driver went on to win the race.
How to watch the Australian Grand Prix
Fans can watch Formula 1 on Sky Sports’ dedicated channel, Sky Sports F1, and coverage can also be streamed on SkyGo. Races are also usually shown on Sky Sports Main Event. Sky Sports F1 can be found on channel 406 on Sky and 506 on Virgin, while Main Event is on 401 on Sky and 501 on Virgin.
Highlights are shown across Sky Sports F1 with repeats of qualifying and race later on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, while Sky Sports News will show clips. Fans can also check out highlights on Sky Sports’ website and Formula 1’s official channels.
Channel 4 also have free-to-air highlights, with qualifying highlights shown at 7.30pm on Saturday, while highlights of the main race will be shown at 9pm on Sunday.
Who will win the Australian Grand Prix?
Here are the latest odds, according to Sky Bet, on who will win the Australian Grand Prix:
Max Verstappen - 1/3
Sergio Perez - 4/1
Fernando Alonso - 9/1
Charles Leclerc - 20/1
Lewis Hamilton - 25/1
George Russell - 40/1
Carlos Sainz - 40/1
Lance Stroll - 125/1
Esteban Ocon - 250/1
Pierre Gasly - 250/1