Fast facts ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix

By Balazs Szabo on

In such a long and fully-packed race calendar that this year’s Formula One World Championship season has, there is no space for any interruptions. Today, the field will battle it out at the Red Bull Ring which will host the 36th Formula One Austrian Grand Prix. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó picks out the vital facts for the Spielberg race from the Red Bull Ring paddock.

Long history – Today’s race will be the 38th FIA Formula One race held in Austria and the 36th Austrian Grand Prix. The two races that did not bear the name of the Austrian Grand Prix took place in 2020 and 2021 when the Red Bull Ring hosted two races on consecutive weekends. Those two races were run under the name of the Styrian Grand Prix.

The first race in Austria was held in 1964 on a circuit at the Zeltweg Air Base. Due to its nature with trees close to the track, the Zeltweg track quickly disappeared from the F1 calendar. Constructed close by, the Österreichring made its calendar debut 50 years ago in 1970 and hosted the race until 1987. A shortened version of the circuit, named the A1-Ring, was used between 1997 and 2003, and now called the Red Bull Ring, the track has hosted the race since 2014.

The most successful drivers – Alain Prost and Max Verstappen are the most successful drivers at the Austrian Grand Prix with both of them having secures three victories apiece. The Frenchman clinched victories for Renault in 1983 and then McLaren in 1985 and 1986. After winning in 2018, 2019 and 2021, Max Verstappen matched Prost’s record to equal the record of the four-time world champion. The Dutchman has four victories at this track, having also won the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix.

The most successful teams – McLaren are the most successful constructor at the Austrian Grand Prix with six wins. Ferrari and Mercedes are the second most successful teams, having won on five occasions apiece, followed by Lotus with four triumphs.

Short lap – The current iteration of the Red Bull Ring belongs to the shorter F1 circuit with its length of 4.318km. Drivers will need to circle 71 times around the track to cover the total race distance of 306.452km.

A tiny difference – The start and finish lines are not identical at the Red Bull Ring with a difference of 126m between the two lines.

The Spaniard– The fastest ever race lap belongs to Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard clocked a lap of 1m05.619s with his McLaren in 2020.

The third highest – The Red Bull Ring is located at 660m above sea level which is the third-highest during the year after the Hermanos Rodriguez track in Mexico and the Carlos Pace circuit in Brazil. The high altitude puts power units under more stress than at many venues and effective cooling of engines often presents a headache for teams at this circuit.

Plenty of opportunities – FIA has defined three different DRS zones at the Red Bull Ring in order to provide drivers with plenty of opportunities to execute an overtaking manoeuvre in the 71-lap race. The first has a detection point 160m before Turn 1 with an activation point 102m after Turn 1. The second zone has a detection point 40m before Turn 3 and an activation point 100m after Turn 3. The detection point of the final zone is 120m before Turn 10, while its activation point is 106m after Turn 10.

The softest compounds – The Red Bull Ring in Austria is a short and sharp rollercoaster with just 10 corners and constant elevation changes. Pirelli brings the three softest tyres in the range: C3 as the P Zero White hard, C4 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C5 as the P Zero Red soft.

Fast circuit – The Red Bull Ring, made up of just 10 turns and a sequence of straights, is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. Drivers spend more than 70 per cent of the lap at full throttle. When it comes to the longevity of the DRS activation, it is also a record-breaker circuit as the three DRS zones cover more than a third of the circuit.

Changes – The barrier between T2 and T3 has been updated to accommodate the layout used for MotoGP.

Debut race – Alfa Romeo’s rookie driver Guanyu Zhou makes his F1 debut this weekend. However, the Red Bull Ring is not new for the Chinese driver as he also drove for Alpine in the opening practice session last season. The 23-year-old driver from Shanghai has also raced here previously in the ADAC Formula 4 and the FIA Formula 2 series.

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