• INSIGHT: 5 Reasons We're Excited for the Australian Grand Prix

The 2018 Australian Grand Prix is just around the corner and we can't wait for the on-track action to begin! Here are just a few of the reasons why...

1. Return to Racing

Of course, the biggest reason to be excited for Melbourne is that it signals the return of F1 racing. Once the chequered flag falls at the end of a season, there's a long and agonising four-month gap. Yes, we feel it too!

Obviously, there's winter testing in between. But that just isn't the same as 20 drivers battling it out on the race track. We want to see the intense scraps, bold overtakes, genius strategy calls, mesmerising pit stops and all of the other drama and intrigue that comes with F1 racing.

We can't wait for F1's return and our drivers are ready and raring to go as well. We don't have long to wait!

2. Quicker Cars

Last year's Formula One cars were the quickest in the sport's history and shattered lap records. The regulations for 2018 have remained stable, so naturally it's a case of evolution not revolution with the newest crop of F1 challengers.

But that doesn't mean F1 cars won't be even faster in 2018. In fact, winter testing proved that they will be. The big question is, by how much? It's difficult to know an exact figure, because it will differ from track to track. But it's clear that this year's machines will be well over a second quicker per lap.

3. Pecking Order

It's easy to fall into the trap of reading too much into pre-season testing. The reality is that everyone arrives in Melbourne for the season-opener not knowing quite where they stand. That's exciting - but it's also a little bit nerve-wrecking too.

How quick will the W09 be? Will there be a surprise contender at the front? While the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is one of the more unique venues on the F1 calendar, it still gives us a pretty good idea of the competitive order - and that's what everyone's been wanting to find out since last season ended.

4. More Action

One of the big talking points to emerge from the 2017 Australian GP was the lack of action during the race. The current generation of F1 machines are trickier to follow, which makes passing more difficult, and the Melbourne track doesn't lend itself particularly well to overtaking.

But, we should see more battling for position at this year's race. Stable regulations typically close up the field and a major factor will be the tyres. Pirelli have gone one step softer with all the compounds, which should produce more degradation, open up strategy options and create more action as a result.

5. Marvellous Melbourne

F1 is finally back - and what better place to resume battle than Melbourne? The vibrant and lively city on Australia's south-east coast is one of the most popular stops on the schedule and is a wonderful place to open a new season.

Melbourne properly embraces the Australian Grand Prix, putting on a brilliant show over the weekend and in the run-up as well. It's no wonder the grandstands are always packed and the Australian fans are some of the most energetic and passionate out there. So, thanks Melbourne for always welcoming us with open arms and fingers crossed we can repay the faith with an action-packed race on Sunday!