OrangeArrows Australian GP preview

Australian Grand Prix Preview 1st - 4th March 2001 MELBOURNE (Albert Park) Round one of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship kicks off in Melbourne, Australia, on 1st March. Famous for its stunning part-street circuit in Albert Park...

Australian Grand Prix Preview 1st - 4th March 2001

MELBOURNE (Albert Park)

Round one of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship kicks off in Melbourne, Australia, on 1st March. Famous for its stunning part-street circuit in Albert Park and the hot Aussie sunshine, the Melbourne race is a favourite amongst the teams. The first race of the year gives the teams the chance to see whether or not the work they have done during winter testing has paid off. The Australian race is famous for its high rate of attrition as the teams may not have had time to 'de-bug' their new cars and, with the weather being as hot as it usually is in Melbourne, the heat only adds to reliability issues.

As the circuit utilises city streets and is only used for racing once a year, the track is very dirty at the beginning of the race weekend. The dust and dirt soon clears though to reveal a smooth, although slightly bumpy track, that is kind to tyres. The circuit consists of mostly medium-speed turns and is pretty hard on the brakes.

Jos Verstappen is looking forward to his return to Melbourne as, before retiring from last year's race, he was on the pace and hoping for points...

"I'm looking forward to the new season. After going round and round in winter testing, it's always good to get out there and compete against the other teams. I like the track at Albert Park as there are lots of overtaking opportunities and some good, challenging corners. I like the country too but the flight is always too long! I had a good year with OrangeArrows in 2000 and was able to race against the big teams many times. We made progress throughout the season and I got some good results, especially in Italy and Canada so let's hope I can do it again this year!"

Newly-signed, Enrique Bernoldi, can't wait to hit the track as a fully-fledged Formula One driver...

"This is a brand new experience for me in many ways. Although I am now quite at home in a Formula One car I have some new circuits to learn. I've never even been to Australia, let alone raced at Albert Park! I have been studying the data we have on the circuit so I have an idea of the track but the Free Practice sessions on Friday will be very important for me. I'm ready for the challenge though. I've put in a lot of miles in winter testing, I'm fitter than I've ever been and I'm raring to go!"

Team Principal, Tom Walkinshaw, will soon see whether the hard work his team has done over the winter has paid off...

"I think I'm speaking for everyone at OrangeArrows when I say that we want to keep progressing and do better than we did last year. We've had a heavy testing schedule over the winter break and the team has been working very hard to get the best out of the new car. We had a positive year in 2000 so we hope to continue our upward trend in 2001. We've got a good driver line-up with Jos and Enrique; the experience of Jos and the sound background and youth of Enrique who we believe will develop throughout the season. Our pace was good in Melbourne last year so we are hoping for a good race."

-FOSA

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Enrique Bernoldi , Tom Walkinshaw