Less than one week on from the French GP, Formula 1 is back in action this weekend for the first of two races at the Spielberg circuit. This Sunday it's the Styrian Grand Prix, while on 4 July, it will be the turn of the Austrian GP. This is the second edition of the race bearing the name of the region, which first took place last year, when the venue that sits at 700 metres above sea level hosted the opening two rounds of the 2020 season, following the long delay due to the pandemic.
The Spielberg track is one of the shortest on the calendar, measuring just 4.3 kilometres with only 11 corners. There are long straights that require plenty of power from the engines, but there are also demanding changes of direction, which makes it a medium downforce track. A lap takes just over a minute and the average speed is one of the highest of the season. In fact, Spielberg along with Monza are the tracks where not too much is asked of the brakes, which are only used for around 10 seconds per lap. The only really hard braking point is at turn 3, at the top of the slope that leads to the highest point on the track, which along with the braking point for turn 4, presents the best overtaking opportunities. There are three DRS zones: on the main straight, on the climb between turns 2 and 3 and on the straight between 3 and 4.
The cars first take to the track on Friday, with the usual pair of one hour free practice sessions starting at 11.30 CET and 15. Qualifying takes place on Saturday at 15, preceded at 12 by the final free practice session. The second Styrian Grand Prix gets underway at 3pm on Sunday, with the drivers tackling 71 laps, a distance of 306.452 km.
Ferrari at Spielberg (1997-2020)
GP entered 15
Debut Austria 1997 (M. Schumacher 6th; E. Irvine ret.)
Wins 3 (20%)
Pole positions 4 (26.67%)
Fastest laps 3 (20%)
Total podiums 16 (35.56%)
Styrian Grand Prix: facts & figures
7. The furthest back on the starting grid from which a race around this current Spielberg configuration has been won. David Coulthard did it in 2001. The Scot also takes the prize for making it to the podium from furthest back: in 1998, he qualified 14th and finished the Austrian Grand Prix in second place.
12. The number of districts that make up Styria - Steiermark as it is known locally - which includes the city of Graz (330,000 inhabitants). It covers an area of 16,388 km making it the second largest in Austria after the Niederosterreich region. The Spielberg circuit is located in the Murtal district, established in 2012 with Judenberg as its capital.
29. The average number of overtaking moves in the 15 Grands Prix run with Spielberg's current configuration. The race with most changes of position to date was the 2016 Austrian GP which boasted 66. Next is last year's Styrian race with 45 and then the 2018 and 2019 Austrian GPs on 42. The race with the least was the 2003 Austrian GP, won by Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari F2003-GA, with only 15 passing moves.
1957. The year of the first car race held in Austria. It was an event for Sports and GT cars held on a track laid out on the Zeltweg airfield, a few kilometres from Spielberg. It was won by the Austrian Ernst Vogel in a Porsche, while the GT class win went to Italy's Dore Lete di Priolo at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo.he year of the first car race held in Austria.
5942. The length of the Osterreichring in metres, the earliest incarnation of the Spielberg track built in 1969. It was very fast and boasted a large number of gradient changes as it was carved into the side of a hill. Over the years, as the cars got quicker, the track became too dangerous and therefore obsolete for Formula 1 cars and the last race was run in 1987. Eight years later, the new owners employed the architect Hermann Tilke, who redesigned the track, making it shorter and safer, giving new life to Spielberg. This track was used from 1997 to 2003. Formula 1 then returned to Austria, after the track had been modified yet again, starting in 2014.
This week in Ferrari history
23/6. Two weeks before the 2020 championship resumed after a long break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Scuderia Ferrari was back on track with its two drivers for a day's testing at Mugello. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc took turns at the wheel of an SF71H. The main purpose was to get used to driving again, as well as ensuring the team could rehearse its garage procedures, applying the health protocols laid out by the FIA in order for the season to resume.
24/6. 110 years ago, in 1911, Juan Manuel Fangio Deramo was born in Balcare, Argentina. This extraordinary driver from the 40s and the 50s was a major force in the early days of Formula 1. He won the world championship five times (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957) - a record which remained unbeaten until 2003 when Michael Schumacher secured his sixth title, his fourth with Scuderia Ferrari. Fangio was known for his outright speed, tactical acumen and the knack of always choosing the best car available to him. Fangio raced for Ferrari in Formula 1 for a single season in 1956, winning three races with the D50, in Argentina, Great Britain and Germany, taking the title in Monza. The Argentinian also won with the Maranello team in sports cars, his most significant victory being the 1956 Sebring 12 Hours, sharing an 860 Monza with Eugenio Castellotti.
25/6. Born in Paris in 1949, French driver Patrick Tambay turns 72. He raced for Scuderia Ferrari from the middle of the 1982 season to the end of 1983. He took part in 21 races with the Maranello marque, winning two of them, in Germany in 1982 with the 126 C2 and the 1983 San Marino Grand Prix in a 126 C2B. In both seasons, Tambay played his part, scoring points for Ferrari's Constructors' Championship title.
26/6. In 1949, Ferrari took its first win in the Le Mans 24 Hours with a 166 MM. It was driven by Italy's Luigi Chinetti and Englishman Peter Mitchell-Thomson, the 2nd Baron Selsdon, the latter financing the entry. Chinetti drove for the first ten and a half hours, handing over to his team-mate at 4.30 in the morning, with a three lap lead over the field. Mitchell-Thomson drove for only 72 minutes before handing back to Chinetti who drove to the finish, one lap ahead of the Delage of France's Henri Louveau and Spain's Juan Jover.
27/6. In 2015, Marc Gene, the coach to Ferrari F1 Clienti drivers and a Scuderia Ferrari Ambassador, drove a Ferrari F10 Formula 1 car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. Also there was former Scuderia driver, Rene Arnoux, who took three wins with the team in their 1983 Constructors' Championship-winning season. At the famous English hillclimb, the Frenchman drove a 599XX, one of the very powerful vehicles used in Ferrari's XX Programme.