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Calls for Melbourne circuit changes to help Australian GP passing

Melbourne's Albert Park Formula 1 layout should be reviewed in a bid to create more Australian Grand Prix overtaking opportunities, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner

Sunday's race produced only five overtaking moves after the first lap, and F1 chief Ross Brawn admitted it had been a disappointment in that respect.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen spent most of their afternoons bottled up behind other cars, leaving Horner wondering whether a circuit rethink was necessary.

"It should be looked at to see if there's a simple solution like creating a bigger braking zone, maybe tighten Turn 1 up, something like that, so that there's a proper braking zone because the braking areas are too short," said Horner. "Especially with the speed the cars are capable of now."

Last year the Australian Grand Prix Corporation investigated replacing the fast Turn 11/12 with a tight left-hander at the end of a lengthened back straight.

While the plan was ultimately shelved, FIA F1 race director Charlie Whiting hinted it might be revisited.

"We have discussed some changes to the track layout with the AGPC," he said.

"There is a project that could be realised, but I'm not sure where they are with that. It was an idea that I gave them a couple of years ago.

"It would be relatively easy, but you mustn't forget that this is a park with public road, so it's not quite as easy as racetrack."

AGPC boss Andrew Westacott said no formal conversations had taken place over the Australian GP weekend, but that his organisation was open to discussing changes with F1 and the FIA.

"The investigation didn't produce anything conclusive that was going to lead to a marked change in overtaking on the circuit," he told Autosport.

"There might have been some potential upsides, but there may have been some negatives associated with impact on driveability.

"If there are some thoughts that others have got, people astute in racing like Ross Brawn and Charlie Whiting, then, like everything, we'll collaboratively talk about it with them and see whether it's worthwhile pursuing or reviewing further."

One likely alteration is a full resurfacing, something the AGPC is understood to have earmarked as a short-to-mid-term project and that is "still on the cards" according to Westacott.

"We had some discussions talking about asphalt and the lay down of it," he said.

"We're in a position to do it if and when required.

"The other thing to consider is, unlike a circuit where you can eat into sections of that land, the fact is we've got a lake on one side of the road, and we've got buildings and parkland including sporting ovals that have been here for 60 years on the other side.

"So I think any change is going to be subtle.

"We're not even contemplating change at the moment. But we're happy to discuss it with those world experts to see how we can improve the show if required."

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