Australian GP organisers have added a few changes to the layout of Melbourne's Albert Park street circuit in a bid to boost overtaking opportunities in specific areas of the track.
The lingering COVID-19 crisis and travel restrictions in Australia forced Aussie GP organizers to push back their event to the back half of the 2021 season.
But the postponement has provided an opportunity to bring forward a series of changes that were initially scheduled to be implemented at the venue in 2022.
Albert Park's pitlane has already undergone work, with the stretch being widened to two meters. But changes on the track's layout will begin next week and will involve a heavy revision of the Turn 9-10 complex.
The tight right hand Turn 9 corner is set to be completely erased and replaced by a fast sweep that will lead on to the slightly curved back straight.
Turn 13 will also undergo a camber change that should allow for better overtaking.
The 'Phase 2' geometric work is expected to be completed by July while 'Phase 3' will involve a compete resurfacing of the track. However, this will be conducted after next November's race and completed ahead of the 2022 Australian GP.
"We had to look at what the scheduling of works was before or after the November date, and what we could fit in," Australian Grand Prix Corporation boss Andrew Westacott told Speedcafe.com.
"The ability to make the geometric changes, the civil changes, the realignment changes, as well as doing the resurfacing wasn’t possible before the temperature dropped to levels where you can’t lay the asphalt mixes appropriately.
"This is not just your common garden variety asphalt mix you put on normal roads, they have stiffer binders, they have different characteristics, they have to be laid in a particular manner, and you have to do those when there’s warmer months."
"So what needed to be done was, with the phasing, we got the work done pre-Christmas which was pit lane widening. Those works are completed and were very, very well done and constructed.
"We’re now doing the geometric changes and we will put an asphalt mix down consistent with the asphalt surface in those areas.”
"Post the November Grand Prix we will re-asphalt the surface with an asphalt mix that has a higher level of abrasiveness than the current mix that is down there, and has been down there since 1995."