Formula 1 returns to Austria for the first time in 11 years, for round eight of the 2014 season.

The event first appeared on the F1 calendar in 1964 at the Zeltweg Airfield, although one non-championship round had taken place the year before. The Österreichring was the home of the Austrian Grand Prix between 1970 and 1987, before safety concerns caused the event to be taken off the schedule.
The circuit was rebuilt with a new and much safer layout, returning for the 1997 F1 season. The A1-Ring (as it was then called) hosted its last race in 2003 and then fell into disrepair, failing to host any motorsport events for several years.

It was then purchased and refurbished by Red Bull, officially reopening in 2011. It held DTM and Formula 2 races before it was announced that F1 would be returning to the Styrian hills in 2014.The 2.688 mile layout is the third shortest on the calendar, behind Interlagos and Monaco, and features just nine corners.

A lap kicks off on the long pit straight, which climbs uphill to the first corner. The undulating nature of the track means the difference between the lowest point and the highest (turn two) is 60 metres.

Turn one is a sharp right-hander than will be taken in second gear. It is a strong overtaking opportunity, as the heavy braking zone follows the first DRS zone. Getting a good exit is crucial for the long run to the second corner, with an even steeper climb. It is the best overtaking place on the relatively short circuit and features the trickiest braking zone.

The second sector kicks off just prior to the right-hand hairpin, which is the slowest of the nine corners, and is then followed by another long straight. This is where the second DRS zone will be positioned, making it another strong opportunity to make a move.

The track heads downhill on the run to the third corner, which is named Rauch. It will be taken in first gear at around 103kph (64mph). Turn four is a sweeping right-hander before the tricky left of the fifth corner, which was previously named after three-time champion Niki Lauda but is now called Pirelli.

The run to turn six is where the third sector starts. It used to be called the Gerhard Berger Kurve but was renamed Wurth for Austria’s return to the F1 calendar, after the German tool company. Turn seven is a fast right-hander that leads onto another flat-out section of the circuit, which briefly heads uphill. The track heads downhill once again for the fastest corner on the circuit, the tricky fourth-gear right-hander of the eighth corner.

It is named after Jochen Rindt, who won the 1970 F1 title posthumously after tragically losing his life in a crash in a crash during practice for the Italian Grand Prix. A short straight follows before the final turn, which is a medium-speed right. The pit lane entry cuts inside the last corner, with cars re-joining to the right on the exit of the first turn.

Red Bull Racing heads to its own circuit off the back of Daniel Ricciardo’s dramatic victory in Canada. However, the Mercedes drivers look set to dominate once again on raw pace. Either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg will take the win, unless their cars suffer reliability issues once again.
The battle to be best of rest will continue to be close. The track is demanding on the engines and brakes, requiring strong top speed. It has two distinct sections, with the first being made up of long straights and heavy braking zones. The second part of the circuit features medium-speed and more technical corners.

Alain Prost has won the Austrian Grand Prix three times, the most of any driver. Meanwhile, McLaren is the most successful constructor and has triumphed six times. Michael Schumacher was victorious at the last race in the country back in 2003. A brief fire at his first pit stop lost him the lead, but he soon reclaimed the top spot and controlled the race.

  • Rapierman

    I seem to recall reading that this track was originally longer and had a few more straights. Any reason why it hasn’t been rebuilt to the original configuration?

    • I have no idea, but I never found the races at the A1-ring very exciting.I guess Tilke already ruined it.

    • Tom Firth

      The original Osterreichring became far too dangerous with a lack of run off areas, so Tilke changed the track to the A1 ring that it became in time for 1996. When F1 left, it was abandoned, where plans at one point to build an extension but the money / investors pulled out and the track was left abandoned for a number of years, before Red Bull finally decided to re-open it a couple of years ago, restoring it to the same layout that the A1 ring used with some corner name changes. It is basically the same track, which does beg the question, why on earth it all fell apart in the first part.

  • Tom Firth

    The old Osterriechring is incredible though, see if you can find it on Youtube, It’s no wonder it didn’t fit in modern F1 but it was a nice circuit.