The Australian GP has been on the F1 calendar since 1985, and the race initially used to take place in Adelaide until 1995. Since then, it has moved to the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. The first driver to score a victory at the scenic Melbourne circuit was none other than the F1 legend, Michael Schumacher. Over the years, the event has witnessed some of the most exhilarating moments in the history of the pinnacle of motor racing.
While Albert Park has never disappointed since its inception, the track at Adelaide has also managed to produce exciting action on a few occasions. Switching back to Albert Park, the circuit possesses a mix of slow and fast corners and is really adept at challenging the skill level of the F1 drivers. This is one of the main reasons the circuit holds a special place on an F1 calendar.
Moreover, Albert Park is considered one of the best circuits by many F1 drivers. Let’s delve into the same and look at moments from the Australian GP that will fill an ardent F1 follower with excitement.
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List of 5 most memorable moments from the Australian GP
- 1 List of 5 most memorable moments from the Australian GP
1. Nigel Mansell losing out on the 1986 F1 Championship in 1986
While the Australian GP has been on the F1 calendar since 1985, the first moment that is still remembered came in 1986 when Nigel Mansell bowed out of the race with an unfortunate DNF. As per sources, during that year, the Australian GP was the last race on the F1 calendar, and Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, and, Alain Prost went into the race with the chance of securing the F1 World Championship.
Mansel needed to finish at least 3rd in the event to ensure his triumph, however, on lap 64, calamity struck for the Brit. His left rear tire exploded and caused a lot of damage to the suspension of the car. This proved enough to end his exploits at the event. It was a heartbreaking moment for Mansell and his fans who were cheering him on with the hope of seeing him lift the Championship at the end of the event.
2. Ralf Schumacher’s crash at the Australian GP in 2002
As mentioned earlier, Albert Park is an extremely technical circuit that has caught out quite a few F1 drivers. The track demands a high level of concentration from the drivers, and any lapse in it has proved to be dangerous at the circuit. In the year 2002, Ralf Schumacher had a crash there, which is considered one of the biggest in F1’s history.
For the Grand Prix, Ralf Schumacher qualified in P3 behind his brother Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello who managed to secure P1. On race day, when the lights went off, Ralf got off to the best start among the top three and quickly overtook his brother. However, what happened afterward was simply horrific to watch. Barrichello seeing Ralf coming, weaved on the straights and caught the latter by surprise.
Ralf Schumacher was not expecting Barrichello to do what he did, and among the action, Ralf’s car went into the air before hitting the track again in spectacular fashion. The incident was so bad that 8 cars were forced to retire after the crash. To this date, it remains one of the most dangerous and memorable moments from the Australian GP.
3. Mark Webber’s debut at the Australian GP in 2002
While the Australian GP of 2002 proved to be one to forget for Ralf Schumacher and many other drivers, the event was a special one for Mark Webber. The Australian qualified for the event 18th on the grid and that proved to be a blessing in disguise for him. However, with Webber toward the back end of the grid, he was able to maneuver his way through the carnage pretty much unscathed.
As the race went on, he was fighting for the 5th position in the race with Mika Salo and, to the surprise of many, was able to hold him off. This valiant effort from Webber earned him a contract for the rest of the 2002 F1 season. It proved to be a dream debut for him and is considered a moment worth remembering in the history of the event.
4. Daniel Ricciardo’s P2 finish at the 2014 Australian GP
Mark Webber hung up his boots in F1 after 2013 at Red Bull, which paved the way for his fellow Australian, Daniel Ricciardo to jump into the Milton-Keynes-based team’s machinery. In 2014, the turbo hybrid era kicked off in F1 and Red Bull was in a lot of trouble. Moreover, when Albert Park came knocking on the F1 calendar, the team was unsure whether their car could make the finish line.
While Ricciardo got past the finish line in P2, his podium place was rescinded because Red Bull exceeded the maximum rate at which fuel may flow into the engine. This problem was identified after Ricciardo had gone on the podium and done his celebration. When the news broke out, it came as a huge shock not only to Red Bull but to the team’s fans all over the World.
5. Fernando Alonso’s Australian GP crash in 2016
The last memorable moment on the list is the two-time F1 World Champion, Fernando Alonso’s crash at the Australian GP in 2016. The Australian GP got underway just like any other normal race, but, the events that took place during the race are, to date, one of the most memorable ones. Fernando Alonso was racing for Honda when his front-left tire came in contact with the back-left of Esteban Gutiérrez’s Ferrari while attempting to overtake at 300 km/h approaching turn three.
Immediately after the unfortunate contact, Alonso’s car went flying into the air and rolled multiple times before coming to a halt. It was a horrible crash and it is believed that Alonso went through 46 G’s during the incident. It was a shocking moment for the fans in attendance and all the viewers who were tuning in to the event from all over the globe.
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