Lewis Hamilton
Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have been tipped as the two favourites for the 2017 title (Getty)

The Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne will usher in a new era in Formula One in 2017 after the sport underwent the biggest rule change since 2014. The other change is that Nico Rosberg will not be on track to defend his title after retiring five days after winning the 2016 title.

Despite the rule changes, the only question will be if the chasing pack can finally challenge the dominant Mercedes team.

Where to watch live

The first practice session of the Australian Grand Prix starts at 1am GMT, with Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports F1 HD providing live coverage in the UK.

Real-time internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport's official website. Live coverage of the second practice session starts at 5am GMT.


The 2017 Australian Grand Prix will be one of the most anticipated races in recent years as everyone involved with the sport including the teams, F1 experts and supporters are keen to see the new era cars on track in full race specifications.

The 2017 season will see a new generation of cars after the rule change shifted the focus as much on aerodynamics as it is on the power unit. The cars look meaner than its predecessors and have proved to be much faster. The drivers have given positive reviews about the new cars, which are bigger than previous years and run on much wider tyres aiding in much higher cornering speeds.

There have also been a number of changes along the grid during the winter, and the biggest change involves the reigning champions Mercedes. Nico Rosberg will not be defending his drivers' title after deciding to retire from the sport, and has been replaced by former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas.

Lance Stroll has joined the grid and at 18-years-old, he will be the second youngest driver to race in F1 after Max Verstappen. The Canadian is also the only rookie on the grid for the upcoming season. Manor Racing has failed to make the grid owing to financial troubles making it just ten teams for the new campaign.

Mercedes look favourites yet again going into the first race of the season, but Ferrari look to have closed the gap and are being considered a genuine threat to the Silver Arrows team's dominance. The Italian team set the fastest times during the eight-day pre-season test at Barcelona, but testing results have traditionally failed to show the true pecking order.

The qualifying session on Saturday (25 March) will be the first time the teams will genuinely show the true power of their cars ahead of the race on Sunday.

Track Facts

  • Circuit Name: Albert Park Circuit
  • First F1 Race: 1996
  • Circuit Length: 5.303km
  • Number of Laps: 58
  • Race Distance: 307.574kms
  • Lap Record: 1:24.125 M Schumacher (2004)
  • Most Wins: Michael Schumacher (4)
  • 2016 Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2016 Pole: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)