The Austrian Grand Prix has some interesting history, particularly due to its racing tracks. It has not been a smooth ride to have the prestigious Formula One championship organized in Austria, and since the 2018 edition has been scheduled for early July, fans and gamblers alike are looking forward to enjoying some awesome action and speed-packed races when F1 championship finally comes to the Austrian Grand Prix track in a few weeks time.
The event will be hosted at the newly renovated Red Bull Ring, formerly known as the A1 Ring, and will take place between 29 June – 01 July 2018. It was re-branded following its acquisition by Red Bull, the Austrian energy drinks company that also owns the F1 World Championship team, who saw the need to revamp the venue to fit the FIA standards and bring the F1 racing action to the Austrian F1 circuit in the land of culture, history, and elegance.
The Austrian Grand Prix circuit story begins with a few locals organizing motor races on a local circuit and in this case, the venue was at the Zeltweg Airfield where they organized a few non-championship tournaments. The race track was not suitable for hosting a major F1 championship but following the massive hit with the first event at theZeltweg Airfield, an F1 championship race was organized in 1964 that saw the Italian Lorenzo Bandini take the win using a Ferrari.
Unfortunately, the racing track did not meet the standards of Formula 1 and this led to the FIA withdrawing the event from the F1 calendar, that is until a proper Austria F1 track that met the standards of FIA was developed. Thus, Osterreichring was built to attract the F1 championship back to Austria.
The new Austrian F1 circuit was popular with many racers and it hosted the F1 races in Austria for almost a decade before troubles started to arise. What happened is that it was discovered that Osterreichring had a narrow pit-straight grid and following some accidents during the 1987 championship, the FIA once again removed the event from the F1 calendar.
|The official name of the track||2018 Austrian Grand Prix|
|Location||Red Bull Ring Spielberg, Styria, Austria|
|Geographical coordinates||47°13′11″N 14°45′53″E|
|The length of the route||4.318 km (2.683 mi)|
|The number of turns||10|
|The lap record in the race||1:07.411(Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+, 2017)|
In 1997, the A1 Ring in Spielberg brought hopes to the F1 fans in Austria since F1 races could be hosted there. In fact, the venue known as the Spielberg circuit hosted about 7 F1 races but due to the financial difficulties, the events fizzled out.
As the overall race speed is substantially lower than at a purpose-built track, cooling becomes a major issue. Teams use of strategies like closer gear ratios, track specific radiator adjustments to provide extra airflow, and a steering rack with a low turning radius. It would not be surprising to see teams use exclusive parts for the Monaco F1 Track. Even though a lot of braking action is required during each lap, the lower speed of the circuit means that brake wear is not a problem at this Grand Prix.
Red Bull came to the rescue when it acquired the A1 Ring and did some over the top upgrades on the field and race track and re-branded the venue to Red Bull Ring. That is where the rubber is set to meet the road come early July when the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix kicks off.
The Red Bull Ring was redesigned by Hermann Tilke, a German engineer doubling up as a racing driver and circuit designer. Tilke was contracted to re-design and upgrade the Spielberg Circuit after its acquisition by the energy drink company. Tilke did an amazing job on the field to develop a grade ‘A’ course that’s reminiscent of an adventure park.
The Red Bull Ring Austria has a length of 4.32 km, with two junctions separating the northern and southern tracks. The lower section has a length of 2.4 km, and this is appropriate for major events, while the northern section of the Austrian F1 circuit has a length of 1.9 km. The special feature of this course is the difference in altitude, boasting a 12% maximum uphill gradient and a 9.3% maximum downhill gradient.
The refurbished Red Bull Ring race track was inaugurated in May 2011, and with it, a new era of motorsports was ushered in. Since its commissioning, it has hosted high class racing competitions including the DTM, European Le Mans Series, ADAC GT Masters, and the Truck Race Trophy.
It was only a matter of time before Formula One followed suit and ensured that all their Austrian fans had something to cheer to come early July. With the professional design and top of the class infrastructure in the Austria Race Track, one will be hard pressed to get another race course where they can immerse themselves in the universe of motorsports as thoroughly as at the Red Bull Ring.