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Your Complete Guide to the 2024 Australian F1 Grand Prix

After last year’s triumph, reigning Formula 1 (F1) champion Max Verstappen is headed back Down Under, and this time, he’s got a couple more locals to contend with. The 2024 Australian F1 Grand Prix will hit Melbourne from Friday 22 March to Sunday 24 March, with the prized sporting event ushering the biggest names in F1 back to the Albert Park racetrack for an all-out asphalt assault on one of the most iconic street circuits in the world.

This year could prove to be the biggest in recent memory, with a host of side stories set to play out over the blockbuster weekend. New local hopeful Oscar Piastri is out to prove why he’s Australia’s big new hope, while Daniel Ricciardo is eager to impress and Ferrari has high hopes pinned on young gun Charles Leclerc. Throw in jostle at the top between two-time defending champion Max Verstappen and seven-time winner Lewis Hamilton, and you’ve got a recipe for a belting good weekend. Strap yourselves in, the 2024 Australian F1 Grand Prix is going to be explosive.

Dppi images
Image: DPPI Images

The Rivalries

After a massive season that saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secure his third title in succession, the 2024 edition looks to be even juicier. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will be looking to capitalise on last year’s strong start, taking the fight firmly to Verstappen. Better still, the open nature of the field isn’t just great for fans, either, it makes for great business. When Ferrari is flying, sales go up, broadcast ratings increase and the whole system swells, so it’s as good a time as any for the Italian marque to fire up. Elsewhere, however, there are problems.

Seven-time driver’s champion Lewis Hamilton has already announced that this year will be his last in the Mercedes livery, confirming plans to jump ship next year. It comes after three years of struggles and last year’s decision to reutilise the zero sidepod left many (including Hamilton) perplexed.

“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together,” Hamilton said when on his upcoming departure from the team. ”Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It’s a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. But the time is right for me to take this step and I’m excited to be taking on a new challenge.”

Marcedes and team principal Toto Wolff will be hoping for a fairytale send-off for the F1 legend, but plenty of obstacles are standing in his way, and one appears insurmountable. Dutch champion Max Verstappen has already sent a warning to the entire pack, taking out the opening round at Bahrain in convincing style.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso | Image:
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso | Image:

The Red Bull star and teammate Sergio Pérez finished 1-2, firming themselves as the ones to beat this year. From the opening lap, the Dutch prodigy took control and while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr managed to sneak into contention early, Verstappen’s showing was nothing short of dominant. Even some wheel spin in the second phase of his start wasn’t enough to derail the racing prodigy, who went on to secure his 55th Grand Prix victory.

Elsewhere, interest is high on Aston Martin, which after years of false starts, finally saw some traction last year with the appointment of veteran Fernando Alonso. While the 42-year-old only just snuck into the top 10 in Bahrain, he managed to improve things in Saudi Arabia, finishing fifth. The British racing team will be hoping that Alonos can keep the revival going at the 2024 Australian Grand Prive. For many Aussies, however, attention is firmly on the local heroes.

2024 F1 Driver Standings

New McLaren Racing driver Oscar Piastri | Image:
New McLaren Racing driver Oscar Piastri | Image:

The New Aussie Hope

For all the 2024 F1 season’s new cars, regulations and rules, some things never change – namely, the drama surrounding McLaren. More than two years after a spiteful and messy break-up between the papaya livery and Aussie favourite Daniel Ricciardo saw McLaren seek refuge in a Victorian Oscar Piastri, things are starting to move in the right direction.

McLaren young gun and our current Digital Coverstar, Oscar Piastri, looks primed for a bumper 2024 season, fresh off Rookie of the Year honours last year. The aspiring star has already shown that he has the ability to take it to the world’s best, finishing the Bahrain GP and Saudi Arabia Gp in eight and fifth, respectively. Piastri’s growth in the sport has been a key story for F1 fans, following a contentious introduction to the big time that seemingly pushed fan favourite Daniel Ricciardo out of McLaren.

The ‘Honey Badger’ will be in attendance for the 2024 Australian F1 Grand Prix, however, this year it will be in a very different position. The shoey-loving Australian has taken up a role as a backup driver for Red Bull, where he is currently on loan to Visa Cash App, a far stretch from taking out the Italian Grand Prix back in 2021. Needless to say, it’s good to see him back in the driver’s suit.

“For me, the ability to contribute to and be surrounded by the best team in F1 is hugely appealing, whilst also giving me some time to recharge and refocus,” Ricciardo said upon the announcement. “I can’t wait to be with the team and support them with simulator work, testing sessions and commercial activities. Let’s go!”

Driving alongside teammate Yuki Tsunoda, the team’s performance this year has already sparked controversy. Many have pointed out the vast difference between Ricciardo’s car and Tsunoda’s, an issue that the team has reportedly addressed ahead of the Australian GP.

“We found some inconsistencies across cars,” Ricciardo said, via Fox Sports. “When it’s so tight, especially in our position, you need everything to try and be there. That was that.”

“Ahead of this weekend, I think everything’s been addressed. I’ve been speaking to the team a lot. I was back in the sim as well after Saudi before heading home,” he continued. “I feel like we’ve done everything we can to come here with our best shot. I’m very, very happy that we’re probably 24 hours away from getting in the car.”

If the issues with Ricciardo’s car have been rectified, the Australian will be pushing for his first points of the year, however, it would be a shock. The grid is stacked for the 2024 season and the relative domination of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren will make the Honey Badger’s comeback all the more challenging.

The Track

Similar to the last two years, the 2024 Australian Grand Prix track has been altered in line with F1’s plans to enhance competitive and exciting racing, adding some major upgrades to certain aspects of the much-loved circuit. The corners, for example, have been widened to allow for greater speed through key points, which F1 has indicated will lead to the fastest lap times ever seen in Melbourne. The racing body suggested that the upgrade, Albert Park’s first major overhaul since 1996, could see lap times cut by up to five seconds.

Specifically, the turn-one bottleneck has been widened by 2.5m, opening the opportunity for more wheel-to-wheel battles for position throughout the lap. At turn 11, the 150km/h right-hand corner now sits at more of a right angle, with the extra width enabling drivers to slide down the inside and take an unassuming competitor by surprise. The slow-speed chicane abutting the golf course section has also been removed around turn 10, meaning cars will now approach speeds of around 330km/h.

“These changes are in the direction of what we want. Better races, more battles – the changes are going to push us towards that,” Ricciardo said back in 2021 when the changes were announced. “With these cars, the changes should help a lot…coming to a circuit like Albert Park with these changes should make a pretty amazing spectacle.”

1 albert park circuit
Image: Pirelli

What’s Different in 2024?

Unlike the last two seasons, there are no significant changes planned for the F1 cars in 2024. The organisation confirmed that the current engines will remain unchanged until 2026, and there are no planned changes for the tyres.

Outside of the cars themselves, there are some updates that have been made for 2024, largely around race formats and rules. These include:

  • Right to Review – Last year, the F1 introduced the option for teams to request a ‘right to review’, whereby they could challenge the outcome of a race within 14 days. In 2024, teams will only have four days to make a request, which if approved, will cost them €6,000.
  • New Sprint Format – The format of sprint races has been changed in 2024. In the past, the sprint shootout and the sprint race took place on Saturday, but now on Friday, there is the first free practice, followed by the sprint shootout. On Saturday, there is the sprint race followed by the qualifying for the Grand Prix on Sunday.
  • Increase in Races – The 2024 F1 season is set to be the longest in race history, with a record-breaking 24 Grands Prix. While no new circuits have been added to the calendar, the Chinese Grand Prix returns for the first time since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Albert park circuit

What Time Does the F1 Race Start?

As per the extensive race schedule, the Australian Grand Prix will kick off at 3pm on Sunday, March 24. A 58-lap race, the event is expected to last between 90 minutes and two hours, however, the wild start to the opening few rounds has seen safety cars introduced, blowing timeframes out.

This year marks the third time the Australian GP has been bumped out of its regular spot as the season opener, following the implementation of events in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in 2022. The move means that the event is now subject to Australia’s often confusing daylight savings stipulations, which means that viewers in Queensland will have to take special notice of the AEST situation. Furthermore, with sunset expected to hit at approximately 6pm, a night-drive wouldn’t necessarily be out of the equation, should mid-race delays impact the race.

Prior to the big day, Formula 1 cars will take to the track twice on Friday for one-hour practice sessions from 1pm and 4pm respectively, with a third practice session to be held at 1pm on Saturday. From there, the long-anticipated qualifying session will take place from 4pm.

Daniel Ricciardo's 2024 car | Image: Instagram
Daniel Ricciardo’s 2024 car | Image: Instagram

Where to Watch 2024 Australian F1 Grand Prix

The good news for locals wanting to feast their eyes on the 2024 Australian Grand Prix is that there are plenty of options available. The entire weekend is set to be broadcast on Channel 10, the network responsible for airing other motor racing highlights such as Supercars, Porsche Carrera Cup and S5000. Better still, Fox Sports and Kayo will also carry all Formula One sessions, including qualifying and the race.

2024 Australian F1 Grand Prix Schedule

Running from Thursday 21 March to Sunday 24 March, the 2024 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix will be a massive event with a number of activations. Kicking off with a Porsche Carrera Cup practice, the festivities will launch at 10:30am on Thursday, with the main event scheduled to go live at 3pm on Sunday. Here is a full schedule for the 2024 Australian GP.

Day One: Thursday 21 March

Porsche Carrera CupPractice Session10:30 – 11:00
Supercars ChampionshipFirst Practice Session11:25 – 11:55
Porsche Carrera CupQualifying Session12:30 – 13:00
Supercars ChampionshipSecond Practice Session13:25 – 13:55
Formula 1Drivers’ Press Conference13:30 – 14:15
Supercars ChampionshipQualifying Session Part 115:10 – 15:25
Supercars ChampionshipQualifying Session Part 215:35 – 15:50
Porsche Carrera CupFirst Race (15 Laps or 35 Mins)16:45 – 17:20
Supercars ChampionshipFirst Race (22 Laps or 45 Mins)17:50 – 18:35

Day Two: Friday 22 March

FIA Formula 3Practice Session08:50 – 09:35
FIA Formula 2Practice Session10:00 – 10:45
FIAF1 Car Presentation11:00 – 12:00
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Pit Lane Walk11:10 – 12:00
Promoter ActivityTop Gear Australia Track Challenge11:30 – 12:00
FIA Formula 3Qualifying Session14:00 – 14:30
Formula 1Teams Press Conference14:30 – 15:30
Supercars ChampionshipSecond Race (19 Laps or 40 Mins)14:50 – 15:35
FIA Formula 3Press Conference15:30 – 16:00
FIA Formula 2Qualifying Session17:30 – 18:00
Porsche Carrera CupSecond Race (15 Laps or 30 Mins)18:25 – 19:00
FIA Formula 2Press Conference19:30 – 20:00

Day Three: Saturday 23 March

Supercars ChampionshipQualifying Session – Part 309:00 – 09:15
Supercars ChampionshipQualifying Session – Part 409:25 – 09:40
Formula 1Team Pit Stop Practice09:40 – 10:10
Promoter ActivityDoohan Practice Laps09:55 – 10:20
FIA Formula 3Sprint Race (20 Laps or 40 Mins +1 Lap)11:15 – 12:00
FIA Formula 3Press Conference12:10 – 12:30
Promoter ActivityRacing Past – McLaren Tribute13:40 – 13:55
FIA Formula 2Sprint Race (23 Laps or 45 Mins +1 Lap)14:15 – 15:05
FIA Formula 2Press Conference15:35 – 16:00
Formula 1Press Conference17:00 – 18:00
Supercars ChampionshipThird Race (14 Laps or 30 Mins)17:35 – 18:10
Porsche Carrera CupThird Race (15 Laps or 30 Mins)18:25 – 19:00
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Pit Lane Walk18:35 – 19:25
F1 ExperiencesF1 Experiences – Grid Walk19:15 – 20:15

Day Four: Sunday 24 March

FIA Formula 3Feature Race (23 Laps or 45 Mins +1 Lap)09:05 – 09:55
Supercars ChampionshipFourth Race (14 Laps or 30 Mins)10:20 – 10:55
FIA Formula 2Feature Race (33 Laps or 60 Mins +1 Lap)11:35 – 12:40
Formula 1Drivers’ Parade13:00 – 13:30
FIA Formula 2Press Conference13:40 – 14:10
Formula 1National Anthem14:46 – 14:48
FORMULA 1GRAND PRIX (58 LAPS OR 120 MINS)15:00 – 17:00

2024 Australian F1 Grand Prix FAQs

What time does the Australian F1 Grand Prix race start?

The Australian Grand Prix will kick off at 3pm on Sunday, March 24. The 58-lap race is expected to last between 90 minutes and two hours.

How to watch the Australian Grand Prix

The 2024 Australian Grand Prix weekend will be broadcast on Channel 10. Fox Sports and Kayo will also carry all Formula One sessions, including qualifying and the race.