Last night saw the first preseason race of the inaugural Australian Formula 1 Championship season at the famous Monza circuit. A massive field of 40 cars turned out for the opportunity to stretch the legs of the premier category of road racing on the iRacing service. Top honours went to pro licence holder Kazuki Oomishima, whilst the drive of the night belonging to the other pro license holder, Australia’s own, Riley Preston who came from second last on the grid to finish second. Aaron Lee, rounded out the podium positions after qualifying second behind Oomishima. Lee, charged to the front of the field off the start line only to be passed by Oomishima and the hard charging Preston as he struggled to maintain his top pace on wearing tyres.
The challenges of setup and the resulting tyre degradation were a common story on the night with many of the drivers tackling the highly technical MP4-30 setup for the first time. Some opted for to pit for fresh rubber, whilst others tried to go the distance. Both strategies had merit and saw for plenty of action throughout the field as some drivers struggled for grip and pace on ageing tyres whilst trying to hold off their competitors with grip to burn as they came back through the field.
As someone who was on the grid, I can say that this championship will represent a great opportunity for the ANZ community to get a taste of what can be a daunting category in a friendly and welcoming environment. Setups and advice were free flowing and the organisers are making the series very accessible for new drivers. So if you are interested, make sure you check out the League Page on iRacing.