Sunshine and pleasantly warm weather greeted the Formula 1 circus this Thursday of the Styrian Grand Prix, the first of two races on consecutive weekends at the Austrian circuit. Carlos Sainz was the first of the Scuderia Ferrari drivers to face the press and he began by talking about the track. “The Spielberg track is straightforward yet demanding, because it is so short that you can’t afford to make any mistakes. You go round in just over one minute, there’s no shortage of overtaking opportunities and with three DRS zones, if you are on the attack you can be even more aggressive. That’s why we usually see some action-packed races at Spielberg.” Charles Leclerc shared his Spanish team-mate’s view of the place. “I have to admit that, of the permanent race tracks, this is one of my favourites. The fact it is short, with so few corners reminds me in a way of a karting track and everyone knows how much I like that.” Charles has twice finished second in Austria, in 2019 and 2020 and is determined to bring home a good result.
26 races in 52 weeks. Sunday’s race will be the 26th Formula 1 event held in 52 weeks, an average of one a fortnight, although in fact there have been some triple-headers in there, that have made demands on the drivers and been even more of a strain for all the teams’ personnel. “When I’m on track, I don’t feel tired or stressed, because I’m doing what I love, but undoubtedly the effect of having so many Grands Prix makes itself felt, especially for the guys in the team,” said Carlos. “As drivers, we’re living the good life,” agreed Charles. “I got here last night and usually I go home on Sunday night. But the guys have been working in the paddock since Monday to build up the garage and on Sundays they finish breaking it down and packing up very late at night. They have to work at a very different pace to ours and I can imagine that the triple-headers, sometimes in three different locations, can be tough.” Carlos then also spoke about getting acclimatised to life at the Scuderia. “I felt at home immediately, maybe because it is an Italian team,” he said. “Since the first meetings in December, the relationship with the engineers was good right from the start and it has got stronger day by day, ever since the first test in Fiorano. I think it was clear that I felt at home right from the first races of the season.”
Programme. Track activity starts tomorrow with the two 60 minute free practice sessions that start at 11.30 CET and 15. Then qualifying is at 15 on Saturday, preceded by the final free practice session at 12. The second Styrian Grand Prix gets underway at 3pm on Sunday.