We are one week away from the start of another great Formula 1 season commencing in Melbourne Australia on March 16th 2012.
There have been some rule and equipment changes from last season; one rule change is a strict no blown diffusers policy that will prevent designers from using the exhaust gasses to improve the cars aerodynamics, but the change that I believe will have to greatest impact is the new tires that Pirelli designed.
Pirelli has redesigned the soft, medium and hard compound tires for the 2012 season to minimize the performance differences, which will have a big impact in the strategies that each team had from last season. Previously the time differences between the tire compounds were 1.5 seconds and with the newly designed tires it will be less than a second.
Tire selection for the Australian Grand Prix held in Melbourne are the Soft and medium tires, this is a change from last season where the teams had the choice of the Soft and Hard compound tires.
Sebastian Vettel will be looking for a repeat performance in Melbourne as he took the podium position with a commanding lead of 22.2 seconds over Lewis Hamilton in 2011. Vettel is coming off yet another outstanding season, but with the minimal time differences between the two tire compounds and Vettel dialing in his new car, the RB8, he may not be running away with such a commanding victory this time…
Tire management can make or break a race; it will be interesting to see how the teams create their strategies around these new tire compounds.
You can watch the race on the Speed channel
Practice: Friday March 16th 1:30am EST
Qualifying: Saturday March 17th 2:00am EST
Race: Sunday March 18th 2:00pm EST