The 2017 season of Formula 1 once again launches with the Australian Grand Prix on the last weekend of March at the spectacular Melbourne setting of the Albert Park Circuit.
Drivers will negotiate the 5.3 km circuit 58 times, dealing with high speed straights and tight turns that demand power for speed combined with the ability to handle in the corners.
The Grand Prix is the oldest auto race in the country, having first been run in 1928 at Phillip Island. Australian driver Lex Davison won four times, in 1954, 1957, 1958 and 1961. The only other four-time winner was German legend Michael Schumacher, in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.
Last year’s edition was won by Nico Rosberg of Team Mercedes. The last Australian driver to win was Alan Jones in 1980, capping off a run of 12 consecutive by Aussie drivers.
In terms of spectator support, figures for the 2014 running at Albert Park put race attendance in the same conversation with the Melbourne Cup or the AFL Grand Final, with over 100,000 spectators for the race itself and over 300,000 involved in the pre- and post-race festivities.
Team Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo will be seeking to end the Aussie winning drought and his fourth place finish last year combined with highly respectable results during the entire 2016 F1 series show that he could be the one.