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Red Bull Ring



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Red Bull Ring

Red Bull Ring Straße 1
A-8724 Spielberg



Official website:



4.310km (2.678miles)

Race laps:


2021 winner:

Max Verstappen (Red Bull)



First GP:


Lap record:

1:05.619 (Carlos Sainz, McLaren, 2020)


Permanent Circuit

Total races:



The Austrian Grand Prix has a curious history, because it has visited three circuits of different names, yet two are on the same site and the third less than a mile away. The first Austrian Grand Prix was held in 1964 on the airfield at Zeltweg, south of Vienna. It had been preceded by a Formula One race the previous year, but competitors at the Grand Prix found the circuit incredibly bumpy. Two factors marked the Grand Prix: the Grand Prix debut of one Jochen Rindt in a Brabham-BRM, and a very fiery accident for Phil Hill.

The airfield continued to be used for sports cars but not for Formula One, but Jochen Rindt's continued success encouraged the locals to build a new circuit, the Osterreichring, less than a mile away, in the foothills of nearby mountains. It hosted its first Formula One race in 1970 which, ironically, was the last Grand Prix appearance of Jochen Rindt, who was killed three weeks later during practice for the Italian Grand Prix, winning the World title posthumously.

However, his mantle was taken up a year later by Niki Lauda, who made his Grand Prix debut at the Osterreichring in 1971. Later that decade, there were several surprises, not always pleasant. Mark Donohue died of injuries sustained in the warm-up in 1975, the soaking wet race won by Vittorio Brambilla thanks to a judicious tyre choice, but the Italian March driver promptly crashed after taking the chequered flag of the shortened race.

John Watson won for Penske in 1976 and Alan Jones for Shadow a year later. In 1982, Elio de Angelis got to the finishing line just 0.050s ahead of an ever-closing Keke Rosberg to record the third closest finish in Grand Prix history. Two years later, Gerhard Berger made his Grand Prix debut at the circuit, and let's not forget 1987 when Nigel Mansell was nearly knocked out by an iron gantry as he was driven to the podium.

It was that farcical race which spelt the end of Austrian Grand Prix for ten years. It took three attempts to get the race started after two startline crashes. After that, the FIA demanded that the circuit be widened at the start, but even so, it wasn't for another ten years that Formula One returned to the track.

By then it had been shortened from its majestic 3.692 miles to 2.686 miles, cutting out several of the favoured fast bends and incorporating tight first and second corners plus a name change from Osterreichring to A1-Ring (A1 being a mobile 'phone network) and magically moving from the town of Zeltweg (which hadn't contributed financially) to the smaller village of Spielberg (which had).

The opening of the circuit in 1997 coincided with the emergence of Austria's latest Grand Prix star, Alexander Wurz, although it would be a year until he actually raced there. He became Austria's 12th Grand Prix driver (plus two who never qualified). Included are the two World Champions, Jochen Rindt and Niki Lauda, while Harald Ertl, Jo Gartner, Helmut Koinigg and Roland Ratzenberger are sadly no longer with us. The careers of Helmut Marko and Karl Wendlinger were sadly touched by serious accidents, leaving Gerhard Berger, Hans Binder, Dieter Quester and Alexander Wurz.

The A1-Ring continued as part of the Formula One World Championship until 2004, when F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone dropped it from the calendar as a result of the government's stance on Tobacco.

Sadly, despite some of the many great races we've witnessed in Austria, it is the 2002 event - when Rubens Barrichello sensationally pulled aside, under team orders, to give victory to teammate Michael Schumacher - that is uppermost in our minds.

It looked unlikely that the A1-Ring would host another Grand Prix. Red Bull owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, who had grand plans for the track, was thwarted by local people who objected to his plans and successfully petitioned the local council.

The re-named Red Bull Ring, which now featured a museum, hotel and all manner of other attractions, had everything but an F1 race, though when it re-opened in 2011 the circuit hosted a round of the DTM and a round of the F2 championship.

Against all odds, in December 2012, Red Bull contacted the FIA to say the track would be available to host a round of the Formula One World Championship in 2013, after a slot became available following the postponement of the Grand Prix of America.

In July 2013, Red Bull announced that the Austrian Grand Prix would return as a round of the World Championship in 2014, the move confirmed on 4 December when the official 2014 schedule was released.

Fast Facts - Provided by the FIA

2018 marked the 31st Austrian Grand Prix. The inaugural race was held at Zeltweg airfield in 1964 but then immediately fell off the calendar. The grand prix returned in 1970 at the almost 6km long Osterreichring, which hosted the race until 1987. The race then fell off the schedule once more before making a comeback at a shortened version of the Osterreichring, named the A1 Ring, from 1997 until 2003. The Red Bull Ring, welcomed Formula One back to Austria in 2014.

Four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost is the most successful driver at the Austrian Grand Prix, with three wins to his name - in 1983 with Renault and then in, 1985 and 1986 with McLaren. Ronnie Peterson, Alan Jones, Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg are next on the list with two victories apiece.

Of the current drivers on the grid, only Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have previously won this race, with Briton Hamilton winning for Mercedes in 2016 and Finland's Bottas scoring the second win of his career here last year, also for the Silver Arrows.

McLaren are the most successful team at this race, with six wins. The British team won at the Osterreichring in 1984 with Niki Lauda and in 1985-'86 with Alain Prost. The team then took three wins during the period the track was known as the A1 Ring, with Mika Hakkinen victorious in 1998 and 2000, and David Coulthard winning in 2001. Ferrari are next on the list with five wins, while Lotus and Mercedes have four wins each.

Niki Lauda, Rene Arnoux and Nelson Piquet share the record for most Austrian Grand Prix pole positions, with three each. Hamilton is the only current driver with multiple pole positions at this race. The Briton started from the front in 2015 and 2016.

The race on the A1 Ring/Red Bull Ring layout has been won from pole position on five occasion, and all by different drivers. Jacques Villeneuve started from P1 in 1997, with the Canadian being followed by Hakkinen in 2000, Michael Schumacher in 2003, Hamilton in 2016 and Valtteri Bottas last year.

Bottas' 2017 pole position was the second of four career front-of-grid starts to date for the Finn. All of Bottas' poles were scored in 2017, at the Bahrain, Austrian, Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.

In the four races held so far at the Red Bull Ring the Safety Car has been deployed on two occasions, for six laps in 2015 when Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen collided on the first lap and for five laps in 2016 when Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel crashed out on lap 27.

Two teams scored their one and only Formula 1 victory in Austria. In 1976 US team Penske won at the Osterreichring with Northern Ireland's John Watson at the wheel, while the following year Australian future champion Alan Jones took the only win of Shadow's 104-starts in F1. Watson's win for Penske remains the most recent win for a US-based team in Formula 1.

Coulthard holds the record for victory from furthest back on the grid on this layout. The Scot's 2001 win for McLaren was delivered from a starting postion of seventh. Overall, the honour goes to Jones, whose 1977 win was scored from 14th place on the grid.

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