Now that we have comfort in knowing that Jamie “J-Dub” Whincup’s car is back to full health after being on the jig, it’s time to refocus and start thinking about the Melbourne 400 (a.k.a. the Australian Grand Prix).
With highly valuable championship points up for grabs this year, there’s no mucking around in Melbourne and our drivers are keen to get cracking – particularly to see how the new aero package will fare on this fast Formula One track.
“Driving for points at the AGP for the first time is pretty exciting and it will be interesting to see how our new car performs at a fast and open track like that, we haven’t really tested it in that way. It’s going to be interesting,” said Shane “SVG” van Gisbergen.
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The format has had a good old shake up and we will now see four races, consisting of two sprints and two longer races featuring compulsory pit stops.
“The first two races are all-out sprints and the longer races have compulsory pit stops, so with four qualifying sessions it’s going to be intense,” continued SVG.
“The last two races will be exciting as it’s a very hard track on the tyres. You can pit early, late or in the middle so there will be a lot of strategy at play – exciting for those watching.”
Although an extra opportunity to grab some valuable championship points has most drivers rubbing their hands together, J-Dub is surprisingly not so keen.
“I used to love the fact that the event was non-championship so the change to make it a championship round is disappointing for me,” J-Dub continued.
“The track is a fast-flowing F1 circuit which is tricky for us to set up our Supercars.”
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Another change will see the novelty rolling starts removed to make way for the traditional standing start.
“Rolling starts were cool, I love trying new things, I just think we didn’t do it as well as we could have last year and that brought about some negativity,” said J-Dub.
“The AGP do different formats to spice the race meetings up and the rolling starts are entertaining but it just created too much carnage so the right thing to do is standing start as normal – hopefully I can do some good ones,” added SVG.
Now, we don’t want to upset anyone here, but our races will be taking the back seat this weekend as the Formula One show comes to town – providing somewhat of a distraction to our drivers as they cheer on their fellow Red Bull team mates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
“I used to watch every lap of every session and really enjoy what the entire F1 event has to offer,” said J-Dub.
“Now, being a Championship round, that will deteriorate quite a bit and the time will be spent looking at squiggly lines on the laptop trying to go faster.”
Squiggly lines aside, we’ll all be cheering on our Aussie friend Ricciardo and can assure there will be plenty of Red Bull going around Albert Park this weekend.
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