Red Bull Ring, Spielberg
After an absence of eleven years, the Formula 1 World Championship returned to Austria in 2014. The event takes place at the Spielberg circuit set in a valley amid the Styrian Alps and the layout is pretty much identical to when the circuit last hosted a Grand Prix back in 2003. However, the infrastructure has been completed rebuilt by its new owner Red Bull. The 4.326 kilometre track features a series of long straights interspersed with a twistier section, and in total there are “only” eight corners. In fact, the track has the shortest lap time on the calendar and all these features means it can be described as a medium downforce circuit.
Look out for…
The demanding Turn 1, an uphill blind apex turn at the end of the main straight. Getting a good exit is vital to carry speed on the next straight that leads to the abrupt Remus curve which features the heaviest braking point of the track, allowing for a possible passing move.
Did you know that…
The first of the 27 Austrian Grands Prix held to date was staged in 1964 on a track built on the Zeltweg Aerodrome. The winner was Lorenzo Bandini in a Ferrari 156 F1-63. However, the venue was never used again because of the poor surface, which was made of concrete rather than asphalt and was too bumpy. The race was back on the calendar in 1970 and ran through to 1987, on the new Osterreichring circuit. It was around 6 kilometres long and wound its way around the tracks that linked the villages of Zeltweg and Spielberg. Once again, the Scuderia was the first team to win at the new venue, when Jacky Ickx won at the wheel of a 312 B, crossing the line just 61 hundredths of a second ahead of team-mate Clay Regazzoni.
In 1997, the Circus returned to the track, which had been modified and shortened to 4.3 kilometres and renamed the A1 Ring. In 1999, Eddie Irvine won for Ferrari in the F399, while in 2002 and 2003, the victories went to Michael Schumacher, while the last of those two featured a scary moment when, during a refuelling pit stop, some fuel left in the exhausts caught fire with some impressive flames licking the car. The German stayed put, impassive in the cockpit, while the Ferrari mechanics calmly put out the fire in an instant and the German was sent on his way, losing only a handful of seconds.
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