Max Verstappen says he is excited by the changes made at Albert Park as Formula 1 returns to Australia this weekend, two years on from the cancelled 2020 event.
Major modifications were made to the track and its surroundings during the country's break from the calendar, which was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an all-new challenge awaiting the teams and drivers.
Included in the work was an overhaul of the pit lane and replacement of the chicane at Turns 9 and 10 for a high-speed straight (which is set to lead to the addition of a fourth DRS zone), while the entire circuit has been resurfaced.
Several corners have also been reprofiled, with Turn 6 widened by a massive seven metres, transforming it from a narrow mid-speed entry into a fast-paced sweeper, and offering more room for cars to run side-by-side.
Verstappen expects "a big difference" with Albert Park changes
Red Bull driver Verstappen, who finished on the podium at the last Australian GP back in 2019, is looking forward to experiencing the event again and reckons the track changes could have a significant impact during Sunday's race.
"I am really looking forward to racing in Australia again; it's been a while! The atmosphere is always so good there too," Verstappen commented.
"It will be interesting to see the track updates. I think they will make quite a big difference, especially in Turn 6, where the most significant change has happened.
"There should be more overtaking opportunities now, too, which is always positive."
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Verstappen looking to build some momentum
Verstappen arrives at Albert Park off the back of a hard-fought victory in Saudi Arabia, with the Dutchman beating Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in a late-race scrap.
The result saw Verstappen and Red Bull get off the mark after a crushing double retirement for the team at the season opener in Bahrain, and the reigning World Champion wants to build some more momentum this time out.
"It's going to be interesting to see how the car performs in Australia; the track can sometimes be quite dusty," added Verstappen.
"I hope we can have another smooth weekend as a team, so let's see what happens on Sunday."
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Mike Seymour, and Thomas Maher look back over the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix in Jeddah, which was won in dramatic fashion by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.