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LIVE COMMENTARY: F1: 2009 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX WEATHER
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Australian Grand Prix Weather
By Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Mon 15:00 The FIA Formula 1 world championship roars back into action for a new campaign this Friday, 145 days on from that memorable climax to 2008 in Brazil. A long winter of anticipation and questions is almost at an end as the teams and drivers begin to arrive in Victoria ahead of the opening round - the ING Australian Grand Prix from Albert Park, Melbourne.



On the evidence of winter testing, a host of sweeping rule changes introduced in the sport for this season have shuffled the pack. Given the upheaval, the teams will be hoping for a fair weather weekend - one less item on the list to worry about - and, to a degree, the weather should be kind to them.

Final preparations for the event on Wednesday and Thursday are set to be showery, as a trough line moves south east across the state of Victoria. A cold front will then sweep across southern parts of the state on Thursday, bringing further showers and possibly some prolonged spells of rain. The cold front will then push away east as an area of high pressure moves in, bringing more settled weather in time for the practice sessions on Friday.

Saturday looks set to be dry for the final practice and qualifying sessions, with some long sunny spells and occasional cloud cover.

Sunday is still several days away, but opinions are split in the initial forecast. Most weather sources indicate another dry and mainly sunny affair to kick off the season. However, the current synoptic chart prediction shows a further cold front moving in from the Pacific Ocean and this could clip the city on its way. As you can see, another area of high pressure will also be moving east, pushing the cold front onwards, away from Melbourne.

We will look again at the race day situation on Wednesday, when more conclusive information becomes available.

Temperatures this weekend will be on the cool side. On Friday, following the clearing of the cold front, the air temperature will struggle to reach 19 degrees Celsius - even in the prolonged sunshine, but as the high pressure moves in the mercury will rise to around 22 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.

Albert ParkWed 13:00 The Formula 1 teams continued their preparations for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Wednesday, against the backdrop of cloudy skies in the morning with the odd shower, leading into vastly improving conditions in the afternoon.

The band of rain that was set to cross Melbourne on Wednesday (a trough line), moved through slightly earlier than anticipated and fragmented, leading to a brighter than expected day at Albert Park.

Further good news is on the way for Thursday. While storm clouds may gather in the scrutineering bay and the stewards' office, outside the weather will be considerably better than first forecast. The latest synoptic charts provided by the Australian Govt. Bureau of Meteorology show a front of interest drifting further to the south, giving an ever-improving forecast. Behind the cold front to the west, an area of high pressure will move in, bringing plenty of sunshine for the weekend.

On Friday, the cars will raise the curtain for 2009 under mainly sunny skies, with some light cloud around and a cool maximum temperature of 19 degrees Celsius, thanks to a slight breeze coming from the west.

Saturday sees the high pressure remain in control, resulting in a good amount of sunshine for qualifying day. It will feel much more pleasant, as the wind direction swings round to a more northerly source, bringing in warmer air from the Northern Territory. The maximum temperature will rise to 23 - possibly even 24 degrees.

For race day, the high pressure will continue to influence the weather. Earlier this week, it was thought that a second cold front may move in from the Pacific Ocean. This is now very unlikely. The cold front will be held off to the south by the weakening high pressure, giving Melbourne another great weather day. The pool of warm air continues streaming down from the north, on a light breeze, with a maximum of 26 degrees Celsius expected.

No major changes are expected in the forecasts between the time of writing and the start of the event. We will, as always, continue to monitor the circuit weather and will publish a further weekend forecast on Friday evening.

Fri 10:50 Saturday summary: Prolonged sunshine, becoming warmer.

Cloud gave way to sunshineFriday was a tale of two halves as far as the weather was concerned, as the Formula 1 drivers took to the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. Cloudy skies greeted the spectators when first practice got underway. But, as the day progressed, brighter weather came in from the north west, and the late-afternoon running took place in excellent conditions.

The weather forecast for the weekend is a relatively simple affair, as high pressure keeps areas of rain at bay in the Pacific Ocean, and also allows a warmer air mass to sink south east from inland areas.

Saturday practice and qualifying are both expected to take place in near-perfect weather conditions, with lengthy periods of sunshine and occasional cloudy spells. The wind is beginning to swing round to a more northerly direction, allowing that warmer air mass to move further towards Victoria. As a result, the maximum temperature tomorrow is likely to reach 25 degrees Celsius - six degrees higher than on Friday.

The forecast for Sunday is for more of the same. We will take our final weather check for the race, following tomorrow's qualifying session.

Join us on Saturday from 02:45 GMT here on AUTOSPORT Live, as the 2009 Australian Grand Prix weekend continues with the third and final practice session.

Sat 08:55 Race day summary: Plenty of sunshine, warm.

Melbourne 2009A crowd of 74,500 spectators soaked up the sun while enjoying the vast array of motorsport on show at Albert Park today. From Formula 5000s to the Mini Challenge to Formula 1 and much more - all in beautiful weather.

The good news is that Melbourne will see a repeat performance on race day.

High pressure continues to hold sway, resulting in another day of wall-to-wall sunshine and virtually no cloud cover. The wind direction is changing, and tomorrow a slightly stronger breeze will be blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. Temperatures will not be hurt by this change in wind direction, and we expect a top temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, cooling slightly to the low-20s during the later stages of the race.

Join us tomorrow on AUTOSPORT Live, from 04:30 GMT, for coverage of the 2009 ING Australian Grand Prix.

  LIVE COVERAGE NAVIGATOR
Monday 23 Mar Start GMT
 Australian Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 27 Mar
 Friday Practice 1 01:15
 Friday Practice 2 05:15
Saturday 28 Mar
 Saturday Practice 02:45
 Qualifying 05:45
Sunday 29 Mar
 Race day at Albert Park 04:30
  ABOUT
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are autosport.com's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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