In a repeat of the start to last year’s complicated season, Formula 1 is staying in Spielberg for a second weekend of racing, with last Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix now followed by the Austrian Grand Prix.
The same but different. The circuit is exactly the same – 4.3 kilometres, with just eleven corners, several gradient changes and three DRS zones – but there are a few differences. Two of them are certainties, in that Pirelli’s three tyre compounds are one step softer than last weekend, being the C3, C4 and C5. This means that what was the Medium in the Styrian Grand Prix will be the Hard this time round, the Soft becomes the Medium with the addition of the softest tyre on offer from the sport’s sole supplier. The other change is that, after trialling a small audience last week, a full crowd will be allowed into the circuit this time. The third change is a probability rather than a certainty, as it concerns the weather, with the threat of rain and cooler temperatures, which could therefore shake up the order.
Programme. The timetable for the 34th Austrian Grand Prix to count towards the Formula 1 World Championship is identical to last week’s. The cars take to the track for the first time on Friday for the usual two 60 minute free practice sessions, starting at 11.30 CET and 15. Qualifying is on Saturday at 15, preceded at 12 by the final free practice session. The race gets underway at 3pm on Sunday, run over 71 laps, equivalent to 306.452 kilometres.
GP entered 1016
Seasons in F1 72
Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi ret.)
Wins 238 (23.42%)
Pole positions 230 (22.64%)
Fastest laps 254 (25%)
Total podiums 774 (25.39%)
Ferrari Stats Austrian GP
GP entered 32
Debut 1964 (L. Bandini 1st; J. Surtees ret.)
Wins 5 (15,62%)
Pole positions 8 (25%)
Fastest laps 5 (15,62%)
Total podiums 26 (27,08%)
Austrian Grand Prix: facts & figures
2+1. The circuits that have staged the Austrian Grand Prix. In 1964, the first edition was run on a track laid out on the Zeltweg military airfield, which had also hosted the country’s very first motor race seven years earlier. Scuderia Ferrari won with Lorenzo Bandini driving a 156 F1. However, from then on, the poor bumpy concrete surface meant that it was only ever used again for sports and GT car racing. The Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix was back on the calendar in 1970 at the new Österreichring, 5.9 kilometres in length it was located at altitude, having been carved out into the side of a hill. Once again, Scuderia Ferrari won, this time with a one-two finish for Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni in the 312 B. At the end of the Eighties, the track was deemed too dangerous and was used for the last time in 1987. The track was under new ownership in 1995 and Hermann Tilke was called in to redesign it. It was made safer and shortened to 4.3 kilometres, effectively becoming a third venue for the Austrian Grand Prix. It was used from 1997 to 2003 before being dropped from the calendar once again, returning in 2014 after a further change in ownership when Red Bull took it over.
14. The furthest back on the grid from which the race was won in Austria, when Alan Jones did it in the Shadow in 1977. In 1970, Rolf Stommelen set a record for a podium finish from the furthest back on the grid, in the first race held at the Österreichring. The German took his Brabham from 17th to third, behind the Ferrari pair.
29. The number of laps raced in the shortest ever Austrian Grand Prix, in 1975. The race was stopped after less than an hour because of heavy rain and the win went to Vittorio Brambilla in the March. The longest, in terms of laps covered and time taken, came at the very first one in 1964, when Lorenzo Bandini won over 105 laps of Zeltweg, crossing the line after 2 hours, 6 minutes, 18 seconds and 23 hundredths.
40. The percentage of Austrians who regularly take part in sport. The most popular is football (36% participants) followed by Alpine skiing (32%) and ice hockey (12%). However, as a whole, winter sports are the most popular in Austria. The country has twice played host to the Winter Olympics, at Innsbruck, in Tyrol, on both occasions, in 1964 and then in 1976 when Denver, USA, the original choice, informed the IOC it no longer wished to host the games.
660. The height above sea level in meters of the finish line at the Spielberg circuit, the third highest of any track on the Formula 1 calendar. The highest is Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which is at 2,286 metres. Second highest is Interlagos, Brazil at 750 metres.
This week in our history
30/6. In 1956, at the age of just 24, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, son of company founder Enzo, died of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He had been in charge of the design of the 1986cc V6 engine which Scuderia Ferrari would use in Formula 2 and which was later fitted to various GT cars and the Dino road car model range.
1/7. In 2007, Kimi Räikkönen led home Felipe Massa to win the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in the F2007. It was the Finn’s second win with the Scuderia, number 196 for Ferrari, also its 73rd one-two finish. At the end of the year, Kimi took the title, the 15th for a Ferrari driver and the team won the Constructors’ championship for a 15th time.
2/7. In 1961, Giancarlo Baghetti, in his very first Formula 1 World Championship appearance, won the French Grand Prix at Reims at the wheel of a Ferrari 156 F1, entered by FISA (Federazione Italiana Scuderie Automobilistiche) with support from the Maranello factory. It’s a record that has never yet been equalled. A couple of drivers could make a spurious claim to have won on their debut, but Giuseppe Farina could do so only by winning the very first race that counted towards the World Championship, at Silverstone on 13 May 1950. As for John Parsons, he won the Indianapolis 500 in the first year that it counted towards the F1 World Championship, when the only competitors were drivers from the American AAA series, with no regular Formula 1 drivers taking part. Juan Manuel Fangio won his second ever race (Monaco 1950), Tony Brooks his third (Great Britain 1957), while winning in their fourth start were Ludovico Scarfiotti (Italy 1966), Emerson Fittipaldi (USA 1970) and Jacques Villeneuve (Europe 1996 at the Nurburgring).
3/7. In 1982, Didier Pironi won the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, to take his third Formula 1 win, the Scuderia’s 83rd. It meant the Frenchman was just one point behind championship leader John Watson. In the following race, the German Grand Prix, Pironi could have taken the lead in the championship, but his title race ended with a terrible accident that also brought his career to a premature end. It was a year of tragedy for Ferrari who would go on to take their seventh Constructors’ title, following Gilles Villeneuve’s death at Zolder.
4/7. Rene Alexandre Arnoux turns 73. From Pontcharra in the Val d’Isère, he contributed to Ferrari winning its eighth Constructors’ title in 1983. The Frenchman took seven Formula 1 wins, three of them with the Scuderia, all of them in that memorable season. Arnoux triumphed in Canada in the 126 C2B and then in Germany and Holland with the 126 C3, in the fight for the Drivers’ title right down to the final round in South Africa. Last May, Arnoux got back behind the wheel of a 126 C2B at the Fiorano track, 38 years on from his first test.