For the first time in a decade, two Aussies headline the Australian Grand Prix – can either of them capture an elusive podium?


It was more than a decade ago that Australian F1 fans were treated to two homegrown drivers featuring on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix. Now, Melbournian Oscar Piastri and Perth-born Daniel Ricciardo get set for their home race this weekend.

Back in 2013, the now 34-year-old Ricciardo lined up with Mark Webber – who coincidentally is Piastri’s manager – for the Australian Grand Prix. Webber scored points for Red Bull in what ended up being his final home race, while Ricciardo – ironically racing for the same Faenza-based team, albeit with a different name – suffered an exhaust failure and didn’t finish.

As the records show, no Aussie has finished on the podium at the Australian Grand Prix – despite Ricciardo’s breakout 2014 debut race for Red Bull Racing, where he succeeded Webber following his retirement. A fuel regulation breach laid waste to that, and the wait has continued.

you ain’t ready for this one ????‍????#AustralianGP

— Visa Cash App RB F1 Team (@visacashapprb) March 20, 2024

Since then, fourth has been the best home result for Ricciardo, who also didn’t partake in the Grand Prix last year while on the sidelines following his split with McLaren the year before. For Piastri – who replaced his compatriot at McLaren – points were scored in his first home race in eighth.

“It was a pretty crazy race last year but to score my first-ever F1 points in front of a home crowd, will stay with me for a long time,” said the 22-year-old ahead of his return to Albert Park.

Oscar Piastri. (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

It will be a different proposition though for Piastri this time, as the potential for that elusive first Aussie podium on home soil could be achieved. The McLaren team sit in stark contrast to where they were twelve months ago – where points were like a win prior to their fortunate changing upgrades later in the year.

On paper, McLaren are the third or fourth fastest team currently – with Red Bull and Ferrari a clear step ahead. Consistency has appeared to be the Papaya team’s forte in comparison to the eccentricity of Mercedes, who appear to have rediscovered porpoising issues during the last race in Saudi Arabia.

Piastri, while having to work on his race pace in comparison to his prodigious teammate Lando Norris, demonstrated maturity and level-headedness in his rookie season. He earned two podiums in Japan and Qatar, along with a sensational Sprint win at the Lusail circuit.

We felt the love last year, Melbourne. ????

Time to see what this year has in store. ???????? Bring it on!#AusGP

— McLaren (@McLarenF1) March 20, 2024

His compatriot, however, will have more pressure to deal with following a not-so-enticing previous race in Jeddah. Ricciardo was out-qualified by teammate Yuki Tsunoda, after the pair came to blows in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on the cool-down lap, then mired at the rear of the field in the RB finishing ahead of only the Saubers.

Given how competitive the top five teams are currently, the prospect of seeing Ricciardo elevate the RB into that sphere isn’t probable. Though given the attrition that Albert Park is known to usher, especially taking last year’s chaotic conclusion into account – it could be possible.

Aside from whatever outcome both Piastri and Ricciardo end up achieving, the Australian Grand Prix will also celebrate a legendary Aussie motorsport name with five-time Grand Prix motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan taking to the 5.3km Albert Park circuit with son Jack – who will be representing Alpine as reverse driver – for a series of demonstration laps.

Home sweet home ????????

— Visa Cash App RB F1 Team (@visacashapprb) March 19, 2024

Marking 30 years since Doohan’s first championship triumph, the 58-year-old will ride a production Honda bike while former F2 racer Jack will take the Benetton B200 from 2000 for the spin. Benetton, of course, a predecessor to the current Alpine team – still based at the Enstone headquarters.

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As well as the Aussie duo of Tommy Smith and Christian Mansell, lining up again in the F3 feeder series, the Australian Grand Prix once again looks to showcase why it is one of the premier F1 events in the world. With its acknowledgement of racing history and focus on the present, brimming with fresh talent – culminating in having two Aussies on the headline F1 grid – it’ll no doubt be another cracker.

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