Wins from pole are rare, as is overtaking, at Albert Park. Here are five likely and unlikely predictions for the 2020 Australian Grand Prix weekend.
1. It’s likely that there will be little overtaking
Not to put a downer on the season opener before it has begun, but Albert Park hasn’t been known to produce a lot of overtaking in recent seasons. All of the last three races at the track have seen fifteen or less on-track passes. Daniel Ricciardo has already said that overtaking may be even more difficult in 2020 – so don’t expect an overtaking-filled Sunday afternoon at the Australian Grand Prix!
2. It’s likely that the podium finishers will come from within the top four on the grid
With little overtaking, it’s unsurprising that in all of the last five races at the track, the podium positions have been shared exclusively between drivers who started from within the top four. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the top three on the grid went on to finish on the podium, while in 2015 and 2019, third place was taken by the driver who started fourth. Read more: Australian Grand Prix Grid Slot Stats.
3. It’s unlikely that the polesitter will win
A track which doesn’t promote overtaking might suggest that the polesitter is highly likely to win the Australian Grand Prix – but that hasn’t been the case in recent seasons. Lewis Hamilton has started from pole at the event in seven of the last eight years, yet has won only once. He also won from pole at the event back in 2008.
Hamilton’s victory in 2015 is the only time in the last eight years that the polesitter has won. In Albert Park history, the pole to win conversion rate is just 37.5%, with nine of the 24 races here having being won by the polesitter.
4. It’s highly likely that at least three cars will fail to finish
There’s yet to be a race at Albert Park in which less than three cars have failed to finish. Last year’s Australian Grand Prix equalled the 2005 record for the highest percentage of finishers at the track, with seventeen of the twenty drivers seeing the chequered flag.
Furthermore, one of those retirements is likely to be from the top six on the grid. In the last fourteen Australian Grands Prix, the 2011 race is the only one in which none of the top six on the grid have retired. And aside from 2011, 2005 is the only other time that all of the top six on the grid have reached the end of the race. Read more: The first DNF of every F1 season.
5. It’s unlikely that Williams will score
Williams are the only team to have not picked up a point in either of the last two Australian Grands Prix and it seems unlikely that they will add to their points tally at the track this weekend. Williams’ only Albert Park victory came in the very first race here in 1996, when Damon Hill started his championship charge by scoring maximum points.
The team last scored here in 2017, when Felipe Massa finished sixth. In the last eleven seasons, there have been only three occasions that neither Williams driver has retired from the Australian Grand Prix. While the team seem to be on the right track in terms of pace in 2020, it still seems likely that they will be racing towards the back of the field. Read more: 5 Questions for the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.
Which of these predictions do you think will come true over the 2020 Australian Grand Prix weekend? Leave a comment below!
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.