Australian GP open to Albert Park changes for 2021, but don't expect Zandvoort

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Australian Grand Prix chief Andrew Westacott is open to track changes at Albert Park, just not on the same level seen at Zandvoort.

After this year's race, set for March 15, resurfacing of the roads that make up the semi-permanent track is set to take place to be completed well in time for 2021.

That work though has also provided an opportunity for promoters to look at ways which could improve the often processional races seen on a layout which has barely changed since its first F1 event 24 years ago.

“We are having a dialogue with Formula 1 about how we evolve the track to make sure the changes that have occurred in the cars since 1996 are reflected in changes or adjustments to the track," Westacott revealed to Motorsport. 

"Whether that be widening in some areas, whether that be camber in some areas or other aspects, that’s all work in progress. We’ll probably know, realistically, at event time more about timelines and when the works are likely to happen – whether it will be in the next 12 months or the next 24 months.”

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Talk of changing the Melbourne circuit isn't new, with a plan to add an overtaking zone at the current Turn 11-12 chicane suggested then abandoned.

This latest consideration also comes as major work has been undertaken at Zandvoort to address concerns over overtaking ahead of the returning Dutch GP for 2020.

The biggest change has been the creation of a new final corner with 18 degrees of banking to allow DRS to be used, lengthening the zone down the main straight.

But such extreme measures are certainly not on the cards at Albert Park.

“When you get an opportunity for change, you’ve got to look at how you can improve something,” the Australian GP boss said.

“There’s no doubt the cars have evolved and changed from 1996 to 2020 and they’re certainly going to change again in 2021.

“Now what we can do is, if we’re going to make a change, is look at everything.

“The sorts of things we’re looking at are asphalt mix and its impact on tyre degradation, we’re looking at turns and whether they can be adjusted, but we don’t want to diminish the character of the circuit.

"We need to take into account that there’s a lake, there’s playing fields and there’s massive revenues at, for example, Turns 1 and 2 and Turns 15 and 16," Westacott added.

"So you can’t just go doing greenfield-style changes where you’ve got existing geography and topography and so on.

“It’s not as if we’ll be doing Zandvoort-style banking or anything like that, I can promise that.

“What we are doing is looking at all the different inputs, from speed limits in the pitlane, to widths, to asphalt abrasiveness, and we’re in active dialogue with Formula 1 about those.”