The Australian Grand Prix will be very special as it marks Melbourne’s return to the Grand Circus calendar after a three-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The atmosphere at the revamped Albert Park is different, and it shows as the drivers arrive in the paddock to discover the new track modifications. Some chose to go for a ride on foot or by bike, but others will be riding with a car very different from their Formula 1.
Stars from the top-flight grid will test a Supercars at a demo on Thursday. Motorsport.com understands that it will be Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez who get behind the wheel of a Tickford Mustang and a Triple Eight Commodore respectively.
The two-time Asturian Alpine champion will climb into Thomas Randle ‘s car, thanks in large part to the support of team sponsor Castrol, for which he will enjoy a couple of laps in Australia.
It will be his first experience with a Supercar, after the planned exhibition of Zak Brown ‘s Holden Commodore, winner of the Bathurst 1000 in 2011, ran out of fuel several years ago.
The Mexican, for his part, will drive a Red Bull Ampol Racing car, so it will also be his debut with one of the touring cars with a V8 engine. The energy drink brand has already used this union between F1 and Supercar, when Max Verstappen was the co-driver of Jamie Whinecup several campaigns ago for a sponsor event.
Daniel Ricciardo is another member of the Grand Circus grid who has been in one of these vehicles, when he drove Rick Kelly’s Nissan Altima as part of a Castrol promotion.