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Red Bull Ring



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Red Bull Ring

Red Bull Ring Straße 1
A-8724 Spielberg



Official website:



4.326km (2.688miles)

Race laps:


2016 winner:

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)



First GP:


Lap record:

1:08.337 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2003)


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

2016 marked the 29th Austrian Grand Prix. The race was first held at Zeltweg in 1964 but immediately dropped off the calendar. In 1970 the event returned at the location it has occupied since, first at the almost 6km-long Osterreichring, which hosted the race until 1987, and then at a shortened version of the track, named the A1 Ring, from 1997 until 2003. The same layout, now christened the Red Bull Ring, welcomed Formula One back in 2014.

The most successful driver at the Austrian Grand Prix is Alain Prost, who has three victories to his name. All were scored at the Osterreichring - in 1983 for Renault and in 1985 and '86 for McLaren.

The most successful drivers on the modern circuit layout are Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and Nico Rosberg who have all won this race twice. Rosberg is the only man to win in Austria since the circuit's return in 2014.

McLaren has six Austrian GP wins to its name, a 1984-'86 hat-trick on the Osterreichring layout and three wins at the A1 Ring in 1998, 2000-'01. Next on this list is Ferrari with five victories. The Italian team is the only one to win on all Austrian GP layouts, winning in 1964 at Zeltweg, in 1970 on the Osterreichring and in 1999, 2002 and 2003 on the current configuration.

Niki Lauda, Rene Arnoux and Nelson Piquet share the record for most Austrian GP pole positions, with three each.

In nine events on the current circuit layout, the race has been won from pole position just three times - by Jacques Villeneuve in 1997, Mika Hakkinen in 2000 and by Michael Schumacher in 2003. Nico Rosberg's two wins were scored from third on the grid in 2014 and second last year.

On this layout David Coulthard has the honour of winning from furthest back on the grid. Driving for McLaren, he took victory in 2001 having started seventh.

Coulthard has the record for most podium appearances at the Austrian GP, with five consecutive top three finishes starting in 1997. All were scored at the A1 Ring and bar his '01 win all saw him take the trophy for second place.

Five drivers have scored their maiden grand prix win at the Austrian Grand Prix: Lorenzo Bandini in 1964; Vittorio Brambilla in 1975, John Watson in 1976, Alan Jones in 1977 and Elio de Angelis in 1982. For Bandini and Brambrilla it would be their only victory in F1.

Watson's 1976 win was the first and only one for Penske in F1, while the following year Jones took Shadow's only victory.

Valtteri Bottas scored the first podium finish of his career here in 2014 with third place for Williams. He has appeared on the podium eight times since then, with the most recent being for third at this year's Canadian Grand Prix. The 2014 Austrian Grand Prix also saw Bottas land the first of three front-row starts to date, the others being in Germany in 2014 and in Russia this year.

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