AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX
RED BULL RING - SPIELBERG
Austrian GP: all you need to know
The first Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix was held at Zeltweg Airfield in 1964. The track had been completed in 1959, with the idea of repeating the success of that other airfield circuit, Silverstone. But the F1 circus only visited it once, because the track surface was too abrasive. F1 returned to Austria in 1970 on a new track, not far from the original one, in the beautiful region of Styria. It was called the Osterreichring, the only home the race has had from 1970 to 2019, even though the venue’s name was changed from Osterreichring to A1-Ring and now to the Red Bull Ring. The race has been held in two periods at this venue, from 1970 to 1987 and from 1997 to 2003 and from 2014 to the present day. Over time, the layout has changed with the original one being deemed too dangerous, a danger McLaren’s Stefan Johansson experienced first hand during Friday free practice in 1987, when he collided with and killed a deer.
The new life of Formula 1 in Austria
In 2014, the Austrian GP therefore made a comeback after an absence of a decade, after our owner Red Bull took over the track, renaming it the Red Bull Ring. That name is echoed in an incredible metal sculpture of a bull that sits right in the middle of the track on the hill between turns 6, 7 and 8. The Austrian Formula 1 weekend takes place against the stunning backdrop of the Styrian mountains that surround the natural bowl which holds the circuit.
RED BULL RING
It used to be the Österreichring
A particularly fearsome track, almost six kilometres long, it made its Formula 1 debut in the Seventies. In the mid-90s it was redesigned by Hermann Tilke, becoming much shorter and safer. F1 raced on this layout from 1997 to 2003. The circus then returned to Austria in 2014, thanks to the efforts of Dietrich Mateschitz, who renamed the venue the Red Bull Ring.
In the blink of an eye
The Spielberg circuit is just 4.3 kilometres long and a lap in a Formula 1 car takes just over a minute. That’s because there are only ten corners, split by three long straights that wend their way around the scenic Styrian hills.
Only five Austrian drivers have taken part in the long history of Formula 1. Three corners at the Red Bull Ring are named after Niki Lauda – the only one to have won at home – Jochen Rindt and Gerhard Berger.