Originally, it was planned that the work would be carried out at the end of this year ahead of the 2022 race. However, the rescheduling of this year’s event to November not only made it almost impossible to carry out the work in the available time but opened up a new window for organisers to make the changes in the months leading up to the 2021 race.
“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 tells 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,” he explained. “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.”
In relation to the tweaks, these mainly concern the chicane that constitutes Turns 9 and 10 and Turn 13..
What was a hard-braking zone leading into a 90-degree right-hander and a flowing left, will now become a sweeping right-left sequence, while at Turn 13 the entry will be widened and camber added in a bid to encourage different racing lines.
“I’ll rely on the F1 simulations on the full throttle aspect,” says Westacott, “but it’s certainly going to be considerably faster through Lakeside than it will have been in the past.
“That will mean two things; one it will mean Turn 11 and 12 becomes an even more critical part of the circuit, as does Turn 13, which will be deceleration from a much higher set of speeds.
“I think Turn 13 is going to become one of those locations on the circuit, and the key location on the circuit, for a high level of driver activity.”
Work begins on 22 February and should be completed by July.