The 2014 Australian GP preview: Everything you need to know about the race!
The F1 season gets underway with the traditional Melbourne opener
By William Esler. Last Updated: 13/03/14 9:22am
Find out everything you could ever want to know about the Australian GP as the F1 season starts once more in Melbourne.
The race switched to the temporary circuit through Albert Park in Melbourne in 1996 and has become a firm favourite with fans and drivers alike during the last 18 years.
So read on below as Sky Sports Online provides your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the season-opening grand prix weekend.
The 2014 Australian GP in a nutshell
Track: Albert Park. Temporary circuit.
Race start time: 6am UK time Sunday (5pm local).
Track length: 5.303 km.
Tyre allocation: Medium (white) and Soft (yellow).
DRS Zones: Two with one detection point (Pit Straight and between Turns Two and Three).
Driver steward: Emanuele Pirro.
Lap record: Michael Schumacher - 1:24.125 (Ferrari; 2004).
2013 pole: Sebastian Vettel - 1:27.407 (Red Bull).
Sebastian Vettel: Took pole in 2013
Sky Sports F1's schedule
Tuesday March 11
9pm - Classic F1 - 1986 Australian GP.
Wednesday March 12
9pm - Classic F1 - 1987 Australian GP.
9:45pm - Pinkham's F1: Part 1.
9:45pm - Pinkham's F1: Part 2.
Thursday 13th March
4am - Drivers' Press Conference - Live!
8pm - Drivers' Press Conference - replay.
8:45pm - Gear up for Australia.
9pm - Classic F1 - 1989 Australian GP.
Friday 14th March
1am - Australian GP Practice One - Live!
5:15am - Australian GP Practice Two - Live!
7:30am - Team Principals' Press Conference - Live!
9:30am - The F1 Show - Live!
10:30am - Horse Power - Behind the scenes at Ferrari.
2pm - Australian GP Practice One - replay.
4:20pm - Australian GP Practice Two - replay.
7pm - Horse Power - Behind the scenes at Ferrari.
8pm - The F1 Show.
9pm - Classic F1 - 1996 Australian GP.
Saturday 15th March
2:45am - Australian GP Practice Three - Live!
5am - Australian GP Qualifying - Live!
9am - Australian GP Qualifying replay.
1pm - Australian GP Practice Three - replay.
2:30pm - Australian GP Qualifying replay.
5:15pm - Ted's Qualifying Notebook.
9pm - Classic F1 - 1994 Australia.
Sunday 16th March
4:30am - The 2014 Australian GP - Track Parade - Live!
5am - The 2014 Australian GP - Race - Live!
8:30am - The 2014 Australian GP - Paddock Live!
F1 Legends - Montoya.
11am - 2014 Australian GP highlights.
12:30pm - The 2014 Australian GP - replay.
6pm - 2014 Australian GP highlights.
7pm - Ted's Race Notebook.
9pm - Classic F1 - Australia 1990.
Jenson Button is the most successful driver on the current grid with three victories in Melbourne, whilst Kimi Raikkonen's 2013 triumph makes him the only other multiple winner still racing. Each of the last eight races has been won by a different constructor than the previous season - you have to go back to Renault's 2005 and 2006 successes with Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso respectively for back-to-back wins - proving just how unpredictable the GP can be.
2013 result: 1. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus); 2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari); 3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull); 4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari); 5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes); 6. Mark Webber (Red Bull); 7. Adrian Sutil (Force India); 8. Paul Di Resta (Force India); 9. Jenson Button (McLaren); 10. Romain Grosjean (Lotus).
Last five winners in Australia: 2013: Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus); 2012: Jenson Button (McLaren); 2011: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull); 2010: Jenson Button (McLaren); 2009: Jenson Button (Brawn).
Kimi Raikkonen celebrates victory in 2013
Pirelli will bring the white-marked medium and yellow-banded soft compounds to the Albert Park Circuit for the opening race of the season.
The Italian firm say that "like all the tyres in the 2014 range, the medium and the soft are slightly harder and more durable than their equivalents last year, but without compromising performance," and that these two compounds "are best suited to the Melbourne street circuit."
"We have worked very hard throughout last year and the winter to come up with an entirely fresh range of tyres specifically designed for these latest-generation cars, featuring new compounds and constructions that actually cut down on degradation while maintaining the same level of performance," Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said.
"As a result, we're still expecting between two to three pit stops per car in Melbourne, although we'll be able to make some more exact predictions after we see the cars run in free practice. The first race of the season is always unpredictable but this will be the case more than ever in 2014."
Sky Bet odds
Following pre-season testing, Sky Bet have installed Mercedes as favourites for the race in Australia with Lewis Hamilton 9/4 for victory and Nico Rosberg 4/1.