Formula 1 cars for the 2017 season have not been officially presented to be public, but preparations for the Australian GP have already started. The first race of the new season will take place on 26 March in Melbourne and several changes need to be made at the Albert Park Circuit, as a result of the major regulations changes which will be introduced in 2017 and will make the cars a lot faster.
The Australian Circuit is set to see an increase of mid-corner speeds between 20 and 50 km/h on mid-to-high speed corners, which means that lap times should be at least three seconds faster than last season, according to the information recently provided by the governing body for world motor sport to the Australian Grand Prix Corporation. Several safety-related revisions will therefore me bade to the track: at Turns 1, 6 and 14 the tyre wall will be re-profiled, as well as at Turn 12 there will be over $100,000 worth of Tecpro high-speed barriers, a first for the Melbourne circuit.
Craig Moca, Manager of Engineering of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, discussed about the plans for the restructuring of the Melbourne circuit before the Australian GP and offered detailed information on the most effective ways to ensure that the event will take place in perfectly safe conditions: “The FIA gave us instructions, based on the simulations they have done so far, on which turns would need additional tyre buffers, or in the case of Turn 12 inclusion of a high-speed barrier. We took all the information we received from the FIA, and considering that we are a temporary circuit, we had to manufacture additional tyre buffers and buy 80 metres worth of the Tec Pro barrier. This represents a huge step for us from being an old-school track where we’ve got tyres and conveyor belts, to having such high-speed barriers.” – Craig Moca confirmed.
During previous seasons, at Turn 12 of the Albert Park Circuit there were six rows of tyres, but with the new regulations introduced for 2017, F1 cars are expected to go as fast as 230 km/h when they come out of the corner, which led to the necessity of introducing the Tecpro barrier. The impact with the barrier, in case a car runs wide, is predicted to be around 129 km/h.
The most important safety changes for the 2017 Australian GP will be made at Turn 14, with six rows of tyres with tube inserts being added to the entire run-off area at the end of the braking zone. Other improvements are scheduled at Turn 1, wehere the tyre wall will be doubled in width, along with a 10-metre stretch in the corner of run-off at Turn 6.