Round eight of the 2021 Formula One World Championship is taking place this weekend at Austria's Red Bull Ring. Known as the Styrian Grand Prix, it's a special round to fill in for one of the earlier rounds canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
It was also on the calendar last year, and just like last year the Red Bull Ring circuit will play host to both the Styrian Grand Prix as well as the regular Austrian Grand Prix scheduled for next weekend.
The Red Bull Ring is a compact, roller coaster of a circuit, with a frantic, somewhat short track measuring 2.688 miles. There are only 10 corners and a complete lap takes just 68 seconds. There are four long straights, each one preceded by a slow corner, and that places the engineering emphasis on traction and straight-line speed.
Red Bull Ring, home of the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix
One other issue to note is weather. Given the high altitude of the Red Bull Ring (approximately 2,100 feet), temperatures can be a bit cool, even during the current summer period. The mountain location can also make weather a bit unpredictable. The current forecast is for mild temperatures and scattered showers during both Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race.
In an interesting move, Pirelli has nominated different tire combinations for the Styrian and Austrian Grands Prix, despite the races being held on the same track and just a week apart. For this weekend's race, the C2 will be the P Zero White hard, the C3 the P Zero Yellow medium, and the C4 the P Zero Red soft. For next weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, the P Zero White hard will be the C3, the P Zero Yellow medium the C4 and the P Zero Red soft the C5. Teams normally use a one-stop strategy.
Going into the weekend, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen leads the 2021 Drivers' Championship with 131 points. Mercedes-Benz AMG's Lewis Hamilton is second with 119 points and Red Bull's Sergio Perez is third with 84 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull leads with 215 points versus the 178 of Mercedes and 110 of McLaren. Last year's winner of the Styrian Grand Prix was Hamilton driving for Mercedes.