Albert Park in profile
Last Updated: 12/01/18 5:48pm
Over the past two decades the Australian GP in Melbourne has established itself as Formula 1's traditional season curtain raiser and remains one of the sport's most popular and well-attended races.
Only twice since the Albert Park track joined the calendar in 1996 has it not hosted the first race and despite almost annual rumblings that Sydney could attempt to snatch the event away, Melbourne will remain the host of the Australian GP until at least 2023.
Though a source of controversy at the time - environmentalists claimed that the Albert Park Lake, around which the circuit runs and is named, was being damaged and turned into a playground for the rich - the transfer from F1 predecessor Adelaide has proved hugely successful.
A temporary street circuit, with a mix of fast flowing corners and technical sections set amongst the trees and lakes of the park, its unique charm and challenge makes it ideal as a curtain-raiser for the new season.
The race start has been pushed back to the evening in recent years to suit bleary-eyed European audiences - although the low sun of early evening in the Australian autumn can cause visibility problems for drivers.
To their benefit, however, is the circuit's reputation for being relatively easy to learn, with few 'demanding' corners on the design. On the flip-side, there are also few straights of any considerable length, meaning that overtaking can be at a premium - although the introduction of DRS zones along the pit-straight and between turns two and three mean that there are now two viable overtaking opportunities.
As a temporary track, it takes a lot of time to 'rubber in,' as the surface tends to be greasy and dirty at the start of a race weekend.
The 2018 Australian GP takes place on March 25.