It's hot in Australia at the moment. Really, really hot. Not just that but it's dry. It's so dry that we're current midway through a drought. Yes, it's one of the biggest droughts in history. It's a drought that's been in the makes since 1980. And it's so big that it's lasted a total of 39 years. Australian's are fairly used to droughts. We normally have a drought once every ten years or so. But this specific drought has been dragging us down for so long that most of us expect it will never end.
No I'm not talking about our poor farmers in the country. Though they're having an awful time at the moment as well. I'm talking about the last time an Australian actually won the Australian Grand Prix. That Australian was Alan Jones in 1980 and it was so long ago that it was held in Calder Park Raceway instead of Adelaide or Melbourne. If you go to Calder Park today? That track resembles more of a desert or a paddock than a track. It isn't even used as a V8 Supercars (Australian stock cars) track anymore, and those cars are like NASCARs.
History aside, Australians love to party. We also love to drink. We love it even more when we have a reason to do so. And considering we're in a drought I'd say most of us Australian's could do with a wet tongue this year. That's where we come to our solution. Daniel Ricciardo, generally considered the best over taker on the grid, is going to win the Australian Grand Prix. Well I mean, I hope he will anyway. Because for anyone coming to Melbourne in a few weeks. Be warned, if he does? You're going to return to wherever you're from with one hell of a hangover.
In all seriousness though this Australian Grand Prix is going to be a far flung difference from any Grand Prix we've hosted before. Because I wasn't joking at the start of the article when I said it's really, really hot in Australia at the moment. In fact today and tomorrow in Melbourne it's going to be 38C degrees. Even Sunday is going to be 34C. It's going to continue well into March as well according to our highly accurate and astute BOM (Bureau of Meteorology). Last year's Australian Grand Prix actually struggled to hit 27C on the best of days.
Australia has also been extremely humid of late. The majority of our heatwave days have had humidity ratings of well over 40%. That's a similar humidity that you'd experience in Malaysia or Dubai.
And all of that changes things a bit for the grid. It actually dramatically changes things for the grid. Australia's track is on Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. It's a relatively small track and winds around the lake with near no true straights. That actually doesn't make it that much of a power track. However because there is also little chance of overtaking and because the track is very narrow the dominant teams in qualifying tend to be the ones who win the race. And those teams have, for the last 7 years anyway, been Mercedes and Ferrari.
But thanks to the large change in temperature. I don't think that'll be the case this year. You see Red Bull proved last year in China, Azerbaijan and Monaco that the Renault engine actually performs much better in hotter, and more humid conditions. It also performs brilliantly on hyper soft tyres. There's a reason why this is, that reason is that whilst Mercedes, Honda and Ferrari all manufacture their engines in quite cold testing conditions during the winter. Renault's new factory and testing facility dedicated to their engine is actually located in the south of France. The south of France maintains a relative temperature above 15 degrees year round which means both the ambient temperature and humidity of development in the past few years have been much higher.
This means that, in both, denser and thinner air conditions a Renault engine tends to perform better. It also means that I think us Australian's will actually be pleasantly surprised with this year's Australian Grand Prix fast lap times for Daniel Ricciardo. I have a theory that he won't just be better than the Mercedes, he will annihilate it. The Ferrari though is a question mark. And I say that because their one lap "party" mode was stupidly strong last year. That doesn't mean the car won't experience issues, as it did last year, in the actual race.
To a point? It doesn't actually fuss me that much anyway. I'm a bit of a secret fan of Charles Leclerc. So if I truly had to forego Daniel Ricciardo's first Melbourne win this year it would be to that little Monagasque. And being in a Ferrari cockpit this year he has more than a small chance of picking up that first place trophy.
Anyway, all in all this year's Australian Grand Prix is looking to be a cracker. And I'm sure you'll all let me know every single detail in the comments. Because being Australian myself, I will be in attendance, and you can be guaranteed I will not remember a damned thing. And if Daniel Ricciardo wins? You can be sure the next Qualified article post race will be from a hospital bed. But it will all be oh so worth it. Because hydration is oh so sweet after a long drought, especially that hydration that comes from either a champagne glass or a long neck. It's even better combined with the smell of burning rubber.