Preview – 2018 Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix

Preview – 2018 Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix

19 March 2018

1st Round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, 23rd to 25th March 2018

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team ready to start the 2018 racing season in Australia

The await is over. After a long winter, the F1 season opener in Australia has a special taste for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 as it marks the return of the iconic Italian brand to Formula 1 after more than 30 years as Title Partner of the Team. With the brand new C37, which is equipped with the 2018 Ferrari engine, and a strong line-up – consisting of Marcus Ericsson, a well experienced driver, and Charles Leclerc, a very promising rookie – the team is heading out to Melbourne ready for an exciting season.

Marcus Ericsson (car number 9):
“We are ready and looking forward to the first Grand Prix. It is always exciting to kick off the season in such a fantastic location, and on a track that is fun to drive. The circuit in Albert Park is a mix between a street track and a regular circuit, which is a good challenge for us drivers. The weather is usually quite unpredictable there, so that also spices things up for the weekend. I am looking forward to seeing our new car on track for the full race weekend for the first time. Winter testing was useful in terms of gaining a general understanding of the car’s behaviour and potential. Now, we are moving to the next step when we will start to understand where we are in relation to our competitors. I look forward to it all and can’t wait to be back on track in Albert Park.”

Charles Leclerc (car number 16):
“I am really looking forward to being in Melbourne. The first race of a season is always exciting for a driver, but this being the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of my career makes the occasion even more special. Melbourne is a lovely city that I discovered when I came to watch the Australian GP last year. Driving on the circuit in Albert Park will be a new experience for me, and I look forward to the challenge. With it being the opening race of the season, you can really feel the excitement and energy there. Over the past weeks, I have got to know the team well, learned all of the relevant procedures, and was able to get a first impression of the new C37 during winter testing. I am eager to now spend a full race weekend in the car and work with the team to understand how we can maximize our potential. I can’t wait to be on track for my first Grand Prix as a Formula 1 driver.”

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal:
“We are starting off the new season with quite a few changes. First of all, we are returning to the paddocks with an iconic Title Partner – Alfa Romeo. Our new car, the C37, is equipped with the 2018 Ferrari engine. Recent winter tests in Barcelona have given us a first understanding of its potential, and we will continue developing it throughout the year. We also have a new driver duo. Marcus (Ericsson) has a lot of experience and has become a key part of the team over the past three years. Charles (Leclerc) is joining us for his debut season in Formula 1. It is always exciting to see a rookie experience his debut in the sport. This Australian GP will be a special one of all of us, and I look forward to starting off the 2018 season on a positive note.”

Track facts:
Albert Park is a rather special venue and not a permanent race track, thus the surface will be improving throughout the weekend, weather permitting. Its abrasiveness is usually expected as quite moderate so Pirelli has allocated the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft compounds for the race weekend. When it comes to set-up for the new C37, braking stability and traction from low speed, as well as sharp changes of direction, will be important factors.

Circuit Albert Park / 5.303 km
Race distance 58 laps / 307.574 km
Schedule Qualifying 17:00 hrs local time (7:00 CET), Race 16:10 hrs local time (6:10 hrs CET)


Tyre choices:

Driver Marcus Ericsson Charles Leclerc
Soft 2 3
Supersoft 3 2
Ultrasoft 8 8


Driver information:

Marcus Ericsson Charles Leclerc
Born 02.09.1990 / Kumla (SE) 16.10.1997 / Monte Carlo (MC)
Height / Weight 1,80 m / 70 kg 1,80 m / 67 kg
First GP Australia 2014 Australia 2018
GP started 76 0
Best race result 8th Australia (2015)
Best qualifying 10th Malaysia (2015),
10th China (2015),10th Italy (2015)
Points 2018
Points in total 9