Initially, the works were supposed to begin later this year, but the organisers of the Australian GP decided to get the track ready for the 2021 round, due to the postponement of the race from March to November. The changes will include geometric changes and resurfacing of the track.
Daniel Ricciardo was consulted before regarding those changes amongst other drivers, and he has been aware of the planned modification works as early as in 2019.
As he said in an interview with speedcafe.com: “I was aware of some talks about that and I was shown a few options of maybe track layout, and I think they asked a few of us actually, drivers, to give some input. I was one that gave some feedback at the time, so I’m certainly not claiming anything, but I was aware of it. It was quite cool that they brought us drivers in on the conversation to understand what would make the race, I guess, better as a spectacle and more exciting.”
He added: “It’s always been a fun track to drive around, but the Sundays can sometimes be a little bit difficult for overtaking. If it helps out the Sunday and increases more overtaking and, I think just wheel to wheel battles, that’s obviously what we want.”
When asked about the plan and the changes, the CEO of Australian GP Corporation Andrew Westacott said in an interview with speedcafe.com: “We had to look at what the scheduling of works was before or after the November date, and what we could fit in. 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.”
He added: “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.”
The biggest change when it comes to the layout of the track will be the chicane of Turn 9/10 as well as the entry of Turn 13 to open up more overtaking opportunities. The work on the circuit will commence from February 22 and according to plan will be finalised in July.