Formula One is back in Melbourne this weekend for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix. Here’s our armchair guide for Australia’s biggest motor race of the year.
The 2023 Formula One Australian Grand Prix returns to Melbourne this weekend, with the world’s best drivers descending on the Albert Park circuit for the 26th time.
Last year’s Australian Grand Prix saw a claimed record crowd of almost 420,000 people turn up to the street circuit across four days – becoming the second-largest weekend sporting event in Australian history, behind the 1995 Grand Prix in Adelaide.
For 2023, there are a number of new faces on the Formula One grid, while the support card now includes increased international flavour alongside our home-grown heroes in the Supercars Championship.
If you want to learn more about the largest motorsport events in Australia, read on below to find out all you need to know about the 2023 Formula One Australian Grand Prix.
The main event – Formula One
For the 37th time, Formula One has returned to Australia, marking its 26th visit to Melbourne and the Albert Park Circuit.
The 2022 edition was the first Formula One race in Australia since 2019 – due to the global pandemic causing cancellations and delays – which saw Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc take victory ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes-AMG’s George Russell.
This year, the race is expected to be a cakewalk for defending series champions Red Bull Racing, who have so far dominated the opening two races of the season with one victory apiece for two-time World Champion Max Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez.
Verstappen won a record 15 races in 2022 en route to a crushing championship victory, though he is yet to stand on the top step of the Albert Park podium in his six previous Australian Grand Prix appearances.
The biggest challenger to the Red Bulls this year is Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, with the two-time F1 champion having scored back-to-back podiums to start the 2023 season – his 20th in the sport.
Defending race winner Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari team are coming off the back of a disappointing end to 2022 and a tricky start to 2023, currently sitting eighth in the driver’s standings while his team-mate, Carlos Sainz, is fourth in points.
The British pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are hunting for a successful weekend for Mercedes-AMG, after recording just one victory – a one-two result – last year after the team won eight consecutive team’s championships.
Finland’s Valtteri Bottas has been using his build-up time to drive a V8 Supercar in Adelaide, becoming somewhat of an adopted Australian in the off-season after spending his time Down Under with South Australian girlfriend, Tiffany Cromwell.
The 2019 Australian Grand Prix winner now drives for Alfa Romeo and will be aiming for a points finish, having recorded just one points-scoring result so far this season.
Finally, there is a noteworthy omission from the F1 grid this year in Daniel Ricciardo, having lost his seat at McLaren after last season following two years of lacklustre results – despite scoring the team’s only win in almost a decade at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
While Ricciardo is present at the track as Red Bull’s reserve driver – acting in a marketing role for the weekend – rookie Oscar Piastri will be the only Australian in the field, making his third-ever F1 race start this weekend.
Piastri – the 2020 Formula 3 champion and 2021 Formula 2 champion – has replaced Ricciardo at McLaren, keeping a 20-race streak of Australians racing in their home Grand Prix alive.
For the first time ever, the Formula 2 and Formula 3 development categories have come to Australia, with the future stars of international motorsport taking to the streets of Melbourne.
Formula 3 cars are powered by identical 3.4-litre V6 engines and Dallara chassis, while Formula 2 machines are fitted with a turbocharger and a larger body.
The two series are regarded as the final steps before drivers move up to Formula One, running the same racing weekend across the year to give drivers as much experience on the circuits as possible.
For the 25th time, the Supercars Championship also features as a support category to Formula One at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro will battle it out on track with local stars behind the wheel, fighting for points in the second round of the season.
Australia’s Porsche Carrera Cup Championship is the fifth support category to fill the bill at Albert Park, providing a stepping stone for drivers to either move up to Supercars or overseas GT racing categories.
The 2023 Australian Grand Prix will be shown across Fox Sports (and its streaming service Kayo) plus Network 10 (and streaming on 10 Play) over the course of the weekend.
Foxtel’s coverage on channel 506 starts at 8:50am AEDT/7:50am AEST on Saturday 1 April and at 9am AEST on Sunday 2 April.
On Channel 10, Saturday coverage begins at 10am AEDT/9am AEST while Sunday’s proceedings start from 8:30am AEST.
Qualifying for the 2023 Formula One Australian Grand Prix runs between 4pm until 5pm Melbourne time on Saturday, with the race starting at 3pm on Sunday.