This weekend’s Australian Formula One Grand Prix is the biggest stage in world motorsport, and Thomas Randle is hoping to use it as the launching pad for his maiden Supercars season after a frustrating opening two rounds in 2022.
Following a two year absence due to COVID, the Grand Prix returns to Albert Park with Supercars again acting as the number one support act to the Formula One field, for the Melbourne 400 – to be contested across four races over the weekend.
Randle admits the opening two rounds as a full timer in the sport have been “character building”” – but he’s confident this weekend he and his Tickford Racing team can be at their best.
“First of all, I’m a motorsport fan so it’s fantastic to have the event back, and I’m a Melbourne boy so it’s even better to be racing here at Albert Park,” Randle said.
“The first two events of the season have coincided with Tickford’s worst two tracks results-wise – and that’s bit all four of our cars hard across the Sydney and Tasmanian weekends – so we’re all looking for a change of luck.
“Albert Park is a place where Tickford’s drivers and cars have had some great results in the past – so we have some good telemetry to look back on – and I hope this weekend we can really kick charge our season.”
Randle had a difficult weekend at the second round of the season at Symmons Plains in Launceston – left frustrated at his results despite making gradual gains across the course of the three races.
“I know this won’t make any sense – and obviously it was a pretty tough weekend – but I actually felt we were tracking well the longer the weekend went,” Randle explained.
“Unfortunately qualifying was a disaster with issues on both Saturday and Sunday which left us down the back – but we had good car speed, especially on Sunday.
“The first race on Sunday we started last and moved up ten spots to 15th until we were turned around and had our race finished, and then in the final race we started 15th and moved up to 12th and for me it was our strongest race of the year.
“Anyone who knows me and has watched my career will know I’m not thrilled with what we’ve achieved in Sydney and Launceston – which is why I’m so looking forward to Grand Prix weekend.”
In the end, Randle posted results of 22nd, DNF, and 12th from the three races to sit 22nd in the standings.
Now focus turns to Albert Park, where the Supercars will begin their weekend on Thursday with a pair of practice and qualifying sessions.
“It’s an all new layout since the race was last run way back in 2019 – no one has experience there, so hopefully it can benefit myself and we can keep tracking forward,” Randle explained.
“The crowds they are forecasting for Melbourne are astronomical – with Saturday and Sunday already sold out, and they’re even expecting 100,000 people on Friday – so it’s going to be an enormous buzz to be racing in front of that many people!
“It will be great to have so many of my family and friends at the track this weekend, and will be great to show off my sponsors to so many people – Castrol and BP deserve a great result and hopefully we can give that to them, as well as Herzog Steel, ACT Fence Hire and Infinium Advisory – I’ll be giving it my all this weekend.”
Race one is Friday afternoon, before two races on Saturday and the final race on Sunday – the final event before the return of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
Practice, qualifying and all racing will be broadcast on Fox Sports, with the four Albert Park races also televised on Network Ten.