Alex Albon reckons drivers need “some cojones” to race around the revamped Albert Park circuit, especially with the Turn Two wall that much closer.
Prior to this year’s grand prix, the Melbourne circuit underwent a major revamp that included resurfacing the track, changing seven corners and removing two.
But not all the changes have been good, says Albon, who fears the wall at Turn Two is now too close to the action.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, the Williams driver said: “[Turn Two is] a quicker corner. If anything it actually makes Turn Two a proper corner now because we are arriving so much quicker coming out of One. I think we are a good 20-30kph quicker than in previous years.
“Turn Two, as we’ve got this wall much closer, it requires some cojones.
“The trick around One and Two is how much can you use in Turn One and still make Turn Two. I think you will see the top teams using more track in Turn One.”
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) April 8, 2022
And that’s not the only wall he has concerns about.
“I’m not sure how I feel about [the pit exit walls],” he said.
“You can see these walls have been brought much closer this year and we have this even tighter wall. It’s actually quite dangerous, it can suck you in.
“Because our cars have so much downforce, we exit very early and we are right on the edge, crossing over. I think in qualifying it gets really marginal. You are really wincing and you’re hoping your front left doesn’t get taken off.
“[The final corner] is actually the worst one of the lot. I saw Checo on one lap was millimetres away, and I feel like… don’t be surprised in qualifying – hopefully it’s not me – but there might be some corners ripped off.”
Aside from the changes to the walls and the corners, this year’s grand prix also includes a monster four DRS zones.
DRS has proved to be extremely effective this season, playing a big part in the race for the victory at both the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian races.
Albon, though, isn’t so sure the revised layout is overtaking friendly
“Turn Six is quicker and in free practice it was easier to follow through there,” he said. “What I would say, though, is there are going to be overtakes done down the straight, not on the brakes.
“[Turn Nine-10] is tricky. We can follow better, but the braking distance is really hard here, so if you are overtaking here you’ve done it way before. You can feel the weight, though. Direction change compared to before is much lazier.”
“They’ve done a good job here [Turn 11]. I do feel like before it was too quick, you couldn’t brake late enough.
“It is a slower corner in itself, braking points come from a bit further away. There is a nasty inside kerb. I feel like you can do some late moves but at the same time, you are very vulnerable.
“If you go in too deep you are going to get taken on the way out.”