Red Bull Ring: The Ultimate Track Guide

Red Bull Ring: The Ultimate Track Guide

Situated in the remote but breathtaking Styrian mountains, the track now known as the Red Bull Ring returned to the F1 calendar in 2014. With lap times of just over a minute, the track has been changed a lot over the years yet has maintained a nostalgic spark.


FIRST F1 RACE 1970
TRACK LENGTH 2.688 miles
NUMBER OF LAPS 71
NUMBER OF TURNS 9
MOST POLES Niki Lauda, Rene Arnoux, Nelson Piquet (3)
MOST WINS Alain Prost (3)

In 1958, a temporary circuit was set up on the military airfield in Zeltweg. The course, inspired by the way in which the iconic Silverstone circuit came into being, was marked out by hay bales and raced on in a non-chmpionship F1 event in 1963, before stepping up as an official round of the championship in 1964. The track surface, however, was far too bumpy and abrasive for F1 machinery, and the sport never returned to the circuit.

Instead, six years later, Formula 1 settled at a track just up the valley from the airfield, named the Osterreichring. The track was around double the length of the Zeltweg airfield track, and was tremendously fast, with flowing bends which swept through the mountainous surroundings. With not much run-off area the track was dangerous, as proven by the 1975 race where a series of accidents marred the practice sessions. At the Hella-Licht curve, the first turn on the track, American racer Mark Donohue crashed through the catch-fencing, ultimately leading to his death and the death of a marshal. Changes were made to the track following the event, and a chicane was added making the former fastest corner on the track become the slowest.

The 1987 event was the last to be held at the original Osterreichring. Safety fears and lack of funding from the organisers to be in a position to make it safer meant the track disappeared from the calendar. The Austrian round of the championship was replaced with the Hungarian Grand Prix.

After a decade, the track returned as the revamped and renamed A1 Ring in 1997. The track had been given a new lease of life between 1995 and 1996 with funding from A1, a mobile telecommunications company. After being re-designed by Hermann Tilke, the A1 ring was considerably shorter than the original track layout, cutting around a mile of track out where the first turn of the track now sits. Although the track was much safer in its new form, many felt that the redesign had taken the soul of the place away. The event remained on the calendar for seven seasons before the last Grand Prix in 2003.

Considerable time was spent deciding what to do with the circuit, before the grandstands and pit buildings were demolished in 2004. Rendered as unusable for any form of motorsport, the track sat silent as construction work stopped. Austrian driver Alexander Wurz claimed he would buy the circuit but this never happened. Instead, the track was bought by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz and was to be brought back up to the highest standard, with working commencing in late 2008. It was re-opened as the Red Bull Ring in 2011 and hosted rounds of DTM and Formula 2.

In July 2013, reports suggested that the Austrian Grand Prix would return at the Red Bull Ring in 2014. Indeed, in December 2013, the following year’s calendar was officially confirmed with the Austrian Grand Prix on the list. The Red Bull Ring currently holds a contract to host the Austrian Grand Prix until 2020.


🇦🇹 2019 RACE RECAP

A thrilling 2019 Austrian Grand Prix saw young chargers Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen starting alongside each other on the front row, with Verstappen eventually triumphing in an explosive late race battle.

Qualifying saw a multitude of blocking incidents, with George Russell picking up a three-place penalty for blocking Daniil Kvyat and Lewis Hamilton receiving the same penalty for impeding Kimi Raikkonen. While Sebastian Vettel was unable to take part in Q3, it was Charles Leclerc who took pole, lining up alongside Max Verstappen to set a new record for the youngest front row in F1 history. Verstappen had a poor start and dropped down the order. Lando Norris had a flying start and was up to third at Turn 1. Norris’ time in the top three didn’t last long, as Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen passed him in the next corners. Vettel made up for his qualifying woes by reaching fourth place before his pit stop; but the team weren’t ready for him and he suffered a long stop. Hamilton’s pit stop was delayed as he took on a new front wing following earlier damage. On Lap 50, Verstappen overtook Vettel for third place, before overtaking Valtteri Bottas for second six laps later. This led to a thrilling conclusion of the race, in which Verstappen hunted down race leader Leclerc. On Lap 68, Verstappen made a bold move on the Ferrari at Turn 3 but couldn’t make it stick. He tried again on the next lap and was more successful; though his move caught the attention of the stewards. Verstappen went on to win and his victory was confirmed hours after the race as the stewards decided not to penalise the Dutchman. Bottas completed the podium, as Vettel overtook Hamilton for fourth on the penultimate lap. The victory was the first for a Honda power unit since the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.


ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW




🇦🇹 DID YOU KNOW?

63.6 metres is the difference between the highest and lowest point on the track, which sits 600 metres above sea level.


🇦🇹 AUSTRIAN GP WINNERS AND POLESITTERS

YearPolesitterTeam On PoleWinnerWinning Team
1970Jochen RindtLotusJacky IckxFerrari
1971Jo SiffertBRMJo SiffertBRM
1972Emerson FittipaldiLotusEmerson FittipaldiLotus
1973Emerson FittipaldiLotusRonnie PetersonLotus
1974Niki LaudaFerrariCarlos ReutemannBrabham
1975Niki LaudaFerrariVittorio BrambillaMarch
1976James HuntMcLarenJohn WatsonPenske
1977Niki LaudaFerrariAlan JonesShadow
1978Ronnie PetersonLotusRonnie PetersonLotus
1979Rene ArnouxRenaultAlan JonesWilliams
1980Rene ArnouxRenaultJean-Pierre JabouilleRenault
1981Rene ArnouxRenaultJacques LaffiteLigier
1982Nelson PiquetBrabhamElio de AngelisLotus
1983Patrick TambayFerrariAlain ProstRenault
1984Nelson PiquetBrabhamNiki LaudaMcLaren
1985Alain ProstMcLarenAlain ProstMcLaren
1986Teo FabiBenettonAlain ProstMcLaren
1987Nelson PiquetWilliamsNigel MansellWilliams
1997Jacques VilleneuveWilliamsJacques VilleneuveWilliams
1998Giancarlo FisichellaBenettonMika HäkkinenMcLaren
1999Mika HäkkinenMcLarenEddie IrvineFerrari
2000Mika HäkkinenMcLarenMika HäkkinenMcLaren
2001Michael SchumacherFerrariDavid CoulthardMcLaren
2002Rubens BarrichelloFerrariMichael SchumacherFerrari
2003Michael SchumacherFerrariMichael SchumacherFerrari
2014Felipe MassaWilliamsNico RosbergMercedes
2015Lewis HamiltonMercedesNico RosbergMercedes
2016Lewis HamiltonMercedesLewis HamiltonMercedes
2017Valtteri BottasMercedesValtteri BottasMercedes
2018Valtteri BottasMercedesMax VerstappenRed Bull
2019Charles LeclercFerrariMax VerstappenRed Bull