Friday Practice at F1’s 2023 Australian GP: Everything We Learned

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Friday’s practice session at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix was cut short due to tricky Melbourne weather and technical problems in the Formula 1 data systems. Red Bull cars were leading despite having a few difficulties. Max Verstappen was fastest of all with some off-track moments and a spin towards the end, while his teammate Sergio Perez had a difficult time staying on the road with his RB19 car.

Today at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, it rained a lot, so no one was able to get the normal data they’d use for predictions. But there was still a lot of stuff that happened and could affect everything else in the event. Here’s what we found out today!

Slippery Turns and Strong Wind Cause Turmoil in FP1 and FP2

In the first practice session, the drivers had to deal with two unseen difficulties. The first was very strong wind that blew against their cars as they drove into corners, making it difficult for them to stay on the course and sometimes causing them to spin out due to the oversteer. These ground-effect vehicles don’t like too much contact with the kerbs.

At the beginning of practice session one, Yuki Tsunoda had an accident with his AlphaTauri. It spun out almost flipping over after hitting the gravel in Turns 1 and 2. Right before that, Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari crashed off the road at the same spot, while Max Verstappen struggled to control his car too. Hamilton also had to drive carefully as he kept slipping out of line each time he went through this part of the track. After managing to power his way through it all, Lewis Hamilton finished second on FP1 times rankings.

At the end of FP1 (first practice session) there was a huge interruption in the computer system that provides information to teams about tyre usage. This caused many near-crashes, as some cars were going quickly while others were going slowly at that time so the session had to be stopped for almost 10 minutes.

Verstappen had the fastest time on the track at 1m18.790s but then something bad happened. He got a spin when he was driving fast out of Turn 4 and ended up going close to a wall, much like what Sebastian Vettel did last year in this race which caused him to crash out. His spin ruined his set of tyres according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

With only a few minutes left in FP1, Logan Sargeant stopped driving out of Turn 11 because something was wrong with the car’s electricity. Williams couldn’t fix it after that, and so he missed doing anything for the rest of the day.

In the second practice session (FP2), Sainz and Verstappen were leading the group at first. Then, Alonso drove even faster with a time of 1m18.887s, using medium tires. Perez was only running on soft tires as he didn’t set a personal best in FP1 when he used mediums (he also had an accident near Turn 3).

The Mexican driver was very close to breaking Alonso’s record at the 10 minute mark – he was almost 0.4 seconds faster than Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu. However, Perez had to slow down because he spotted another car driving slowly in the super fast turns 9 and 10 area, and it seemed like all the drivers were having difficulty with the GPS. After that, it started to rain heavily, which prevented anyone from improving their performance any further.

Charles Leclerc drove the Ferrari really fast before it started raining. He and Sainz then tried to practice on their tires, but it was too slippery outside so they went back to the garage.

As the rain kept pouring, some of the drivers had a difficult time navigating around Turn 3 where there is a wall located very close by – and in 2011 Karun Chandhok, a reserve driver for Lotus, accidentally crashed into it during wet practice session one. However, none of these rainy laps were enough to change the standing order and as a result Alonso was still on top after practice session two ended.

In FP2 (a racing session), it was rainy and slippery outside, which caused several drivers to struggle, including Norris. A photo was taken of the event by Simon Galloway from F1Flow Images.

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“Red Bull’s Opponents Need to Make Some Mistakes for a Surprise Victory!”

On Friday, the teams experienced many interruptions and delays which caused them to miss out on all their usual practice data. This means that they must rely on guesses about what changes to make for the third practice session expected to take place in dry conditions. They will need to use the last one hour practice session to pick up as much qualifying and long-run information as possible in order to replace their guesses from Friday night.

On Saturday afternoon, the temperature is going to be lower than what it was on Friday. This means that all the teams need to be careful about which tires they choose for both qualifying and the race because of the new track surface in Melbourne which has been laid out this year for the 2021 F1 calendar.

This year’s race is different than last year’s, when Ferrari was the winner and Leclerc defeated Verstappen. Red Bull made a mistake with their tyres not lasting long enough for the big race, while Ferrari seemed to have gotten things right.

The experts think that if you drive carefully and make sure not to do anything too wild on long runs, then it might help you win the Australian race this year. The track is a little smoother compared to what it was in 2022, but because it’s usually cold in Melbourne during March, keeping your car tires at the perfect temperature will be very important. Going too fast or too slow can make the graining worse or make you lose time, so be sure to hit just the right speeds!

Red Bull was puzzled by the temperature of their car’s wheels in the first practice session. Neither Max Verstappen nor Team Manager Christian Horner could figure out why their car wasn’t performing as well as expected. Horner even said that this might be causing some brake-related problems while they were driving.

It looks like it’s going to be very important for teams to manage how quickly their wheels wear on a longer drive during the race.

In qualifying, it is likely that drivers will be able to do multiple laps because the track surface is smooth and the tyres won’t be quickly damaged due to heat. The particular type of tyre used this time is called Pirelli Soft C4, not C5.

If Red Bull doesn’t fix their mistakes from today and is still making bad choices tomorrow, there’s a chance that somebody else can get ahead of them in the qualifying race. Also, they need to find a way to solve the issues with their car for next year before Sunday’s race. But, Verstappen was still fastest today even though the track may have changed by then because more rubber will be laid down.

Red Bull’s opponents need to make some mistakes if they want to pull off a surprise victory in 2023, but everyone of them has different practice results so far in Melbourne.

In FP1, Aston Martin tried changing things like the car’s ride height and the angle of its wings. Fernando Alonso said they ran their tests smoothly and that the car seemed to be working well. Even though they weren’t able to run in FP2, they still had good results from testing.

Ferrari was working hard to fix the tyre problems that made them lose during races in Bahrain and Jeddah. It looks like their plan is starting to work since Charles Leclerc said it feels like they are moving in a good direction. But, he also warned that some of their competitors still have an advantage right now.

In Formula 1 (F1) practice at Mercedes, both Hamilton and Russell experienced trouble with steering at the back of their cars. Hamilton believes they have a similar level of speed to last race in Saudi Arabia, but Russell wants it to rain so the Mercedes W14 car can compete better against Red Bull.

The weather last Friday had an affect and we’ll need to think about how that might influence the sessions happening over the next couple of days. We don’t think it will rain any more, but apparently not all of us saw what came down this afternoon coming – it was much more than expected!

Tomorrow, Saturday afternoon will be colder than Friday, which could make it harder for teams to get their tires warm. This might give its competing teams a chance to do better than Red Bull did today in windy conditions – where things were really tough. Therefore, keep in mind that the colder weather would increase the importance of finding a way to get the tires warmed up quickly.

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