Last year, Formula One returned to Austria after an 11-season hiatus, with the action taking place at the Red Bull Ring located in the small town of Spielberg. The short 2.688-mile circuit with its undulating features and stunning scenery was a popular return to the F1 calendar, and no doubt this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix will be filled with fun.
It takes just 68 seconds to complete a lap of the Red Bull Ring, which is made up of only nine corners—the fewest of any circuit on the calendar. There are four long straights, each one preceded by a slow corner, and that places the engineering emphasis on traction and straight-line speed.
The surface at the Red Bull Ring is low grip and low abrasion, with the track getting progressively quicker as the weekend goes on. Even though the asphalt is new, the track is quite bumpy in places, which makes it difficult to find consistent grip.
To aid the mechanical grip of the cars, Pirelli is taking its Soft and Supersoft tires to Austria, the third time in a row that this particular combination has been used. The tire strategy will depend on some extent to the weather: if it is warm we are more likely to see two stops, whereas if it’s cool the balance might shift towards a one-stopper.
Unfortunately it looks like we’ll see some rain this weekend, though only scattered showers are expected for Sunday’s race.
Last year’s winner was Mercedes AMG’s Nico Rosberg. Going into the weekend, Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton leads the 2015 Drivers’ Championship with 151 points. Rosberg is second with 134 points while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is third with 108 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes has a commanding lead of 285 points followed by Ferrari with 180 points and Williams with 104 points.