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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:


2017 winner:

Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)



First GP:


Lap record:

1:07.411 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2017)


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

2017 marked the 30th Austrian Grand Prix. The first Austrian GP was held at Zeltweg in 1964 with a gap of six years until the next event at the Osterreichring. The almost 6km-long circuit hosted the event until 1987 before falling off the calendar. A shortened version of the circuit, named the A1 Ring, rejoined the schedule from 1997 until 2003. The same layout, now christened the Red Bull Ring, welcomed Formula One back in 2014.

Alain Prost is the most successful driver at the Austrian Grand Prix. The Frenchman won the race three times, in 1983 for Renault and in 1985 and '86 for McLaren. All his wins were scored on the Osterreichring.

On the A1 Ring/Red Bull Ring, three drivers have multiple wins: Mika Häkkinen in 1998 and 2000 for McLaren and Michael Schumacher in 2002 and 2003 for Ferrari at the A1 Ring, and Nico Rosberg in 2014 and 2015 at the Red Bull Ring. Lewis Hamilton is the only current driver to have won at this circuit. The Briton won here last year for Mercedes.

Only three other drivers have won at the A1 Ring/Red Bull Ring: Jacques Villenueve in 1997 for Williams, Eddie Irvine in 1999 for Ferrari, and David Coulthard in 2001.

Current Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas secured his first front row placing and his first podium finish (P3) at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Since then the Finn has been on the front row a further four times, the most recent of which was last time out at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Bottas isn't the only driver to score his first front-row spot in Austria. Juan Pablo Montoya started from P2 in 2001, as did John Watson in 1976 and Clay Regazzoni in 1970.

Nine other drivers have taken a maiden podium finish at the Austrian Grand Prix: Bob Anderson in 1964, Regazzoni and Rolf Stommelen in 1970, Tim Schenken in 1971, Carlos Pace in 1973, Vittorio Brambilla and Tom Pryce in 1975, Alan Jones in 1977, Gilles Villeneuve in 1978.
Bottas is the only driver to date to have taken a first podium on the current layout.

Five drivers have scored their first win in Austria. Lorenzo Bandini in 1964, Brambilla in 1975, Watson in 1976, Jones in 1977, Elio de Angelis in 1982. Again, to date no driver has taken a maiden win on the current layout.

In 10 events at the A1Ring/Red Bull Ring, the race has been won from pole position four times - by Jacques Villeneuve in 1997, Häkkinen in 2000, Schumacher in 2003 and last year by Hamilton. Four winners have started from third place on the grid, one from P2 (Rosberg in 2015)
and one from P7 (David Coulthard's 2001 win is the victory scored from furthest back on the grid).

McLaren have the most Austrian GP wins of any constructor with six - 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 Maranello squad is the only one to win on all Austrian GP layouts
so far - in 1964 at Zeltweg, in 1970 at the Osterreichring and in 1999, 2002 and 2003 at the A1 Ring.

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