11 years on from its last visit, Formula One is returning to Austria at the Red Bull Ring. The race, which was first held in 1963, has been on and off on the F1 calendar over the last 51 years but is making it’s return in 2014 and will be the battle ground for the next F1 showdown.
Before the race’s departure from the Formula Once calendar, it went down in the history books courtesy of Ferrari. Back in 2002, whilst Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello both drove for the Italian outfit, the Brazilian driver was instructed by the team to hand over the lead to his team-mate and give Schumacher the win.
The race will be a home-coming for the Red Bull team, as the team’s owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, bought the track, renamed it to the Red Bull Ring and opened it back in 2011. Over the three years since being re-opened it has hosted a round in the German touring car championship (DTM) and a round in the 2011 Formula 2 championship.
Before Red Bull bought the track, it needed mass rebuilding works after safety concerns were raised during the mid-1990’s. The current track design was created by the legendary Formula One track designer, Hermann Tilke. The re-design of the track saw it shortened from 5.942 km to 4.326 km, and a set of tight corners were added to create greater overtaking opportunities.
Following on from the Canadian Grand Prix, where Daniel Ricciardo won his first Formula One Grand Prix after capitalising on Mercedes’ engine troubles. Red Bull will look to take their home advantage and challenge the Mercedes for the victory.
From my perspective, home advantage might not be enough for Red Bull to take the win, without any luck at least. I believe this because the track looks like the Mercedes will feel at home with four long straits where the Silver Arrows will be able to utilise their advantage of power from their power unit. Come the middle sector, the tight turns could see the Mercedes duo scrapping for the lead, with each driver potentially trying different lines.
The track itself has a mix of gradients. The track rises heavily on the run up to turn two, before it slopes its way back down on the run from turn two, all the way to turn six. From this point onwards the drivers have dealt with the more technically challenging part of the track and now push hard to the finish line. Out of the nine corners, only four pose a hard breaking points, that should be the best places to challenge the car ahead for their position.
Since the track is owned by Red Bull, ahead of this weekends Grand Prix, their two star drivers and team-principle have created a short video to show you what the track has to offer.
Video from the Infiniti Red Bull Racing YouTube channel.
Now, for this weekend, Pirelli will be bringing along the supersoft (red) compound tyres, as well as the soft (yellow) tyres for the race. Pirelli has explained this tyre allocation decision comes as the track requires the most mechanical grip due to the several tight and twisty sections.
For Formula One fans in the UK, the race will be shown exclusively live on TV on SkySportsF1 with BBC covering the race live on BBC Radio 5, whilst showing highlights following the climax of the race.
For SkySportsF1, their coverage starts on Thursday and is as follows:
Thursday 19th June
14:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference – Live
Friday 20th June
8:45 – Austrian GP Practice One – Live
11:00 – GP2 Practice – Live
12:45 – Austrian GP Practice Two – Live
14:50 – GP2 Qualifying – Live
16:00 – Team Principals’ Press Conference.
17:00 – The F1 Show – Live
Saturday 21st June
8:45 – GP3 Qualifying – Live
9:45 – Austrian GP Practice Three – Live
12:00 – Austrian GP Qualifying – Live
14:35 – GP2 Feature Race – Live
16:20 – GP3 Race One – Live
Sunday 22nd June
8:25 – GP3 Race Two – Live
9:30 – GP2 Sprint Race – Live
11:30 – 2014 Austrian GP – Track Parade – Live
12:00 – 2014 Austrian GP – Race – Live
15:30 – 2014 Austrian GP – Paddock Live
As for the BBC, their coverage starts on Saturday, and is as follows:
Saturday 21 June
13:00 – Qualifying – Live – BBC Radio 5 live
16:45 – Qualifying – Highlights – BBC One
Sunday 22 June
12:30 – Race – Live – BBC Radio 5 live
19:30 – Race – Highlights – BBC One