PRIXVIEW – Austrian Grand Prix

Features Prixview

Round nine of the 2019 season sees F1 head to the spectacular Styrian Mountains for the Austrian Grand Prix. The Red Bull Ring as it’s known now was originally built in the late 1960s to replace the nearby Zeltweg Air Base which closed in 1969. The circuit has been called many names over the years.

However, its characteristics remain largely unchanged requiring good grip and high downforce as well as speed. The lap is the shortest of the year making it very difficult to recover from mistakes over a course of a single lap.

The first race at this circuit, then known as the Österreichring, saw the Austrian Jochen Rindt battle hard with Belgian Jacky Ixcy. However, the Austrian was forced to retire with an engine failure, before being killed days later in practice for the Italian Grand Prix. He claimed the title, becoming the sports only posthumous champion.

Though the Spielberg circuit has had many different names over the years, the circuit has remained a high speed and fast corners. Located in a natural basin the circuit follows around like a river making it easy to overtake and making it very popular with the drivers.

The 1971 race saw Jackie Stewart won his second title, but disaster would follow in 1975, with the fatal accident of American Mark Donohue, and the race itself was rain-soaked and was won by Vittorio Brambilla, winning the only F1 race of his career. He crashed when he crossed the finish line when the race was stopped early because the rain got worse.

The race in the 1970s was dominated by Ferrari, with there engine power. The power of the engine is something which remains key here, all the races in the turbo era both now and then with Mercedes winning four of the last five races. They lost an almost certain victory last year when engine failures saw both Mercedes retire from the race.

That allowed Red Bull to take there first home win, the Austrian drinks company brought the circuit in 2005. They then began a major redevelopment of the circuit, making it unusable and it would take a decade for F1 to return.

The race returned to the calendar filling the empty slot failed to be filled by the New York Grand Prix in 2014. Since then the race has been dominated by Mercedes both as a constructor and engine manufacturer, the first race saw a 1-2-3 with current Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas scored his first podium behind the two Mercedes.

Bottas would also take his second win of his career here in 2017, however, despite the dominance in recent years, last years race saw both Mercedes retire. They will be looking for another home win for team boss Toto Wolff and chairman Niki Lauda following his death last month.

Last years race was shaping up to be another Mercedes one-two, however, the teams’ race unravelled with technical problems. Bottas was forced to retire following by a gearbox failure and Hamilton followed with a  fuel pressure problem, giving Mercedes only their third double retirement since returning to F1 as a constructor.

That allowed Red Bull to take their first home win in Austria with Max Verstappen, while Haas scored their best result in F1 with Romain Grosjean fourth and Kevin Magnussen fifth.

Facts and figures

Round 09 of 21
Race Formula 1 MyWorld Grosser Preis von Osterreich 2019
Venue Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria
Circuit Length 4.318 km (2.683 mi)
Laps 71
Race Distance 306.452 km (190.420 mi)
Lap Record 1:06.957 (Race, Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari SF71H, 2018)

1:03.130 (Qualifying/outright, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 2018+)

Most wins drivers Alian Prost (3)
Most wins manufacture McLaren (6)

Fast facts

  • Niki Lauda is the only Austrian driver to have won his home race. He did this in 1984, the year he took his third and final World Championship. Lauda also took three pole positions at the Österreichring.
  • Ten drivers have taken a maiden podium finish at the Austrian Grand Prix. Bob Anderson in 1964, Regazzoni and Rolf Stommelen in 1970, Tim Schenken in 1971, Carlos Pace in 1973, Vittorio Brambilla and Tom Pryce in 1975, Alan Jones in 1977, Gilles Villeneuve in 1978 and Valtteri Bottas in 2014
  • The original name of the circuit, the Österreichring, literally translates as Austria Circuit.
  • The Red Bull Ring has the quickest overall lap time on the calendar, though it’s only the fourth shortest track (behind Monaco, Mexico and Brazil).
  • The Red Bull Ring is essentially made up of four straights, each ending in tight corners. This puts a premium on traction and strong, straight-line speed.

Event timetable

Session

Local

BST

Friday

P1 11:00-12:30 10:00-11:30
P2 15:00-16:30 14:00-15:30

Saturday

P3 12:00-13:00 11:00-12:00
Qualifying 15:00-16:00 14:00-15:00

Sunday

Race 15:10 14:10

What happened in 2018?

Bottas was again the stronger of the two Mercedes in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring. The Finn was narrowly faster than his teammate Hamilton, while the silver arrows were clearly faster than both the Ferrari’s. Mercedes had dominated the race and qualifying every year since it returned to the calendar in 2014.

However, 2018 would turn out to be a dramatic conclusion for the Silver Arrows. Bottas came in for his pit stop mid-race, however, when re-joining the car began to slow and then stopped on track. Hamilton led behind the safety car until the team failed to bring him in, meaning they dropped to fourth.

Mercedes bad luck wasn’t over as Hamilton developed a fuel pressure failure in the closing stages. That lead to his retirement Mercedes third double retirement since 2010, and Hamilton’s first since Sepang in 2016. That then allowed Verstappen to build the lead over both the Ferrari’s.

But, Ferrari failed to capitalise on the double DNF for Mercedes with Vettel, deciding not to switch Vettel and Raikkonen. Meaning Vettel couldn’t maximise his lead, while third saw him take the lead by just a point.

Verstappen, however, was in control of the race, the Red Bull team had expected their home race to be one they would struggle, he was in control winning the race by a second and a half to take victory from both Ferrari’s.

It was another strong weekend and race for Haas, the US team had looked strong and the best of the rest with Romain Grosjean fourth and Kevin Magnussen fifth. The teams best result since they entered the sport in 2016, and the Frenchman’s first points of the season.

Race Result – 1) M. Verstappen, Red Bull – Tag Heuer, 01:21:56.026, 2) K. Raikkonen, Ferrari +1.504, 3) S. Vettel, Ferrari, +3.181

What to watch for?

Eight wins in eight races, as well as Mercedes record in Austria, makes them the favourites this weekend. They have won every race in Spielberg, apart from last years race, this has been a good race for Valtteri Bottas in the past it really plays to his strengths as a driver. Bottas really needs to restart his campaign to stop Hamilton in these series of races where he is strong.

Ferrari faces a big challenge this weekend, their upgrades failed to deliver the performance needed to fight Mercedes. France gave us an ultra-tight midfield battle and while the circuit fast and high downforce, it should give us another good fight as we saw at Paul Ricard. But, in theory, some of the power advantage Mercedes have should be offset by the high altitude.

Based on Sunday’s race it should be another close one in the midfield, watch McLaren and Renault as we saw a brilliant battle for fourth in the constructors. This is a similar circuit, as well as Silverstone and Hockenheim, so expect that battle to continue in Austria.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2018

01:04.839 01:04.579 01:04.070 01:04.080 01:03.544 01:03.130 01:27:29.784 01:06.957

Diff

-1.136 -0.904 -1.027 -0.984 -0.772 -1.121 +06:21.261 -0.454

2017

01:05.975 01:05.483 01:05.092 01:05.064 01:04.316 01:04.251 01:21:48.523 01:07.411

A lap of Spielberg

Valtteri Bottas comes into the final corner from the outside carrying all the speed at goes straight on to the outside running his car along the kerb and stays there as he climbs the hill towards Castrol Edge. He breaks around seventy metres before the corner. Turns in opening up the speed as he runs to the outside.

He then allows the car to drift across to the inside and back carries the speed all the way to 100m before Schlossgold. He comes in from the outside, slowing the car right down and has already gone faster. Hits the apex before running the car to the outside. He briefly goes through the centre before returning to the outside, breaking just after the 100m board. Hits the apex of Schlossgold, before opening the car up towards Rauch. He lifts on entry before opening the power and runs along the inside.

Be breaks briefly going toward Wurth Kurve, hits apex on entry and exit running the car to the outside. Breaks as he turns into Rindt going to the inside, and back to the outside running he then nips back to the inside for the final corner. Returning to the outside where he stays to take pole with a 01:03.130.

Tyres

Driver

Team

White Hard (C2)

Yellow Medium (C3)

Red Soft (C4)

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 2 2 9
V. Bottas 1 3

9

S. Vettel

Ferrari 2 4 7
C. Leclerc 1 5

7

M. Verstappen

Red Bull – Honda 1 4 8
P. Gasly 1 3

9

D. Riccardo

Renault 2 2 9
N. Hulkenberg 2 2

9

K. Magnussen

Haas – Ferrari 2 2 9
R. Grosjean 2 2

9

C. Sainz Jr

McLaren –Renault 2 3 8
L. Norris 2 3

8

S. Perez

Racing Point – Mercedes 2 4 7
L. Stroll 2 4

7

K. Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo – Ferrari 1 3 9
A. Giovinazzi 2 2

9

D. Kvyat

Toro Rosso –Honda 1 3 9
A. Albon

2

2

9

G. Russell

Williams –Mercedes 2 2 9
R. Kubica 1 3

9

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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