Analysis: F1 returns to Austria after 11 year break – who will do well this weekend?
Strategy Briefing
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jun 2014   |  1:04 pm GMT  |  137 comments

Formula 1 returns to Austria this weekend for the first time since 2003 on a revamped circuit in Spielberg.

It is essentially the same layout as the old (A1 Ring) circuit, very simple with just nine corners, four flat out stretches where the cars hit 300km/h and a very short lap time of around 68 seconds.

Most teams have only simulations to go on and some of the details which will be important to deciding race strategy – such as the exact pit lane length and pit stop time – will be measured and worked out during practice on Friday.

It looks similar to Canada in terms of the amount of energy and loading going into the tyres, so Pirelli has brought the same soft and supersoft tyres and it predicts a two stop strategy to be the default for the race.

The key to doing well this weekend will be in getting the front tyres warmed up and balancing the temperature of the fronts and rears. With quite a few low speed corners, good traction will be vital and the rear tyres will certainly be warmed up, but the fronts could struggle, especially with the soft compound. The team that gets that right will prosper.

Track characteristics

Spielberg – 4.326 kilometers. Race distance – 71 laps = 307.146 kilometers. 9 corners in total. A circuit made up of four straights and a few tight corners.

Aerodynamic setup – Medium/High downforce. Top speed 315km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 304km/h without.

Full throttle – 70% of the lap (high). 10 seconds unbroken full throttle on main straight. Fuel consumption – High

Time spent braking: 14% of lap (high). 7 braking zones. Brake wear – High.

Total time needed for pit stop at 80km/h (est): 22 seconds.

Sectors 1 and 3 are quite stop-start, with some tight corners in S1 and 90 degree turns in S3, where traction will be crucial. The middle sector has a long double left-hander Turn 5/6, where we will clearly see the cars that have not got the front tyres working properly.

The track is at an altitude of 700m above sea level. With normally aspirated engines this would lead to a 7% power loss, but with turbo engines this is not an issue. However the turbo is more stressed as it spins at a higher rate at altitude to compensate for the lower atmospheric pressure. This will put the turbos on the limit.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 20.56.23
Form Guide

The Austrian Grand Prix is the eighth round of 19 in the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship.

Mercedes is the dominant force at the moment with six wins and seven pole positions. This track is likely to be another strong circuit for them, with four 300km/h straights and traction out of slow corners another Mercedes strength,

Red Bull has improved its car significantly, as witnessed by the win for Daniel Ricciardo in Montreal, but it was still well behind the Mercedes before they hit reliability issues. Red Bull owns the circuit and is the promoter of the race, so they will certainly have prepared well for the event.

Montreal showed Ferrari continuing to struggle for top end power and traction out of slow corners, so this weekend could be challenging for them. However if they are able to run the new sidepods and engine cover they tested in Montreal, it looks like that will give them a useful gain.

Of the current drivers only Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso have raced on the old circuit (which was known as the A1 Ring).

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Weather Forecast

The forecast for this weekend looks good with temperatures in the high 20s and little chance of rain.
Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Austria: Prime tyre is Soft and Option tyre is Super Soft. This is the same combination as in Monaco and Montreal

This combination of Pirelli tyres in Monaco proved very durable and quite hard to warm up and this is likely to be repeated this weekend. This will be particularly noticeable for the fronts on the soft compound. The working temperature range of the soft is higher and the track temperatures may be a little low to get them working to the optimum.

Pirelli is not sure until they test on Friday of the exact difference in lap time performance between the soft and supersoft tyres. The estimated range is between 0.7s/lap and 1.4s/lap.

The difference will be important to planning race strategy – Pirelli simulations show that the teams are likely to repeat what they did in Canada with an initial stint on the supersofts and then two longer stints on the softs.

There could be a chance for cars to jump another through strategy, by staying out an extra lap, if the warm up on the new softs takes a lap or more.

It looks like degradation, rather than tyre wear, will be the limiting factor in Spielberg.

Red Bull

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 14.20.37
Race Strategy: Number and likely timing of pit stops

Despite having four 300km/h straights and two DRS zones, overtaking might not be all that straightforward on this track due to the nature of the corners. Time will tell. So strategy will de decisive as it was in Montreal. Before a wheel has turned it looks as though a likely strategy could be to do an initial stint on the supersoft of around 14 laps and then two equal stints of around 28/29laps on soft. There could be some good racing as the cars, which have just stopped and are getting the front tyres up to temperature, struggle to hold back cars who have stayed out.

Chance of a safety car

As this is a revamped circuit, there is no current data for this.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 20.56.01
Recent start performance

The start will be crucial as it always is. There was the odd start-line accident on the old A1 Ring and the long straight after Turn 1 tends to sort the cars out on the opening lap.

As far as 2014 start performance is concerned drivers have gained (+) or lost (-) places off the start line this season, on aggregate (taking total places lost away from total places gained), as follows –

Net Gained places
13 Kobayashi
12 Massa
11- Maldonado
10 Gutierrez
9 Bianchi, Bottas
8- Hulkenberg, Ericsson
6 Perez [See notes]
4 – Bianchi, Sutil [See notes],
3- Raikkonen
2 – Chilton,

Net Held position
Rosberg, Vettel
Grosjean, Alonso

Net Lost places
11 – Vergne
5- Button
3- Magnussen Kvyat, Hamilton
2 – Ricciardo

Melbourne Notes: Kobayashi, Massa eliminated in a first corner accident; Perez, Gutierrez pitted at the end of Lap 1; Bianchi, Grosjean started from pit lane.
Malaysia Notes: Perez started from pit lane, Bianchi pitted at the end of lap 1
Bahrain notes: Vergne pitted at the end of lap 1 after contact
China Notes: Sutil lost power at start and dropped 8 places, retiring soon after.
Monaco notes: Maldonado did not start, Ericsson started from pit lane, Perez crashed Lap 1.
Canada Notes: Gutierrez started from pit lane; Bianchi and Chilton crashed lap 1; Ericsson pitted lap 1
Pit Stop League Table

Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution by the mechanics and we have seen tyre stops carried out in less than two and a half seconds by F1 teams.

With heavy penalties already handed out for unsafe release from a stop and loose wheels, teams have calmed down their stops to aim for consistency and no mistakes.

The league table below shows the order of the pit crews based on their fastest time in the Canadian Grand Prix, from the car entering the pit lane to leaving it.

1. Red Bull 23.274s
2. Williams 23.448s
3. McLaren 23.479s
4. Mercedes 23.554s
5. Sauber 23.703s
6. Ferrari 23.790s
7. Lotus 23.856s
8. Force India 23.902s
9. Toro Rosso 23.975s

Caterham and Marussia – No stops (retired early)

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The UBS Race Strategy Briefing is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli

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Everyone doing an analysis seems to only quote Button, Alonso and Raikkonen however people are forgetting that Massa raced there in the Sauber in 2002!


I can only assume that it's because Massa was never WDC (although I reckon he was close enough for government work 😉 )



Bit off topic, but sort of related, but has anyone heard of an Austrian F1 commentator called Heinz Pruller?

He was a big mate of the great Jochen Rindt I do believe (I'm sure he wrote a book about the sadly posthumous 1970 WDC). Apparently, Heinz commentated on F1 for ORF (the Austrian equivalent of the BBC in the UK, SABC in South Africa and ABC in Australia) for many, many years. He is apparently the Austrian Murray Walker!


He'll be there.


Thanks Steve W for the info.

There's an excellent documentary on the net (including YouTube) called JOCHEN RINDT: LETZTER SOMMER (Jochen Rindt's Last Summer). It is a moving and very insightful documentary on the (too short) life and career of the "James Dean of F1" It contains some fabulous archive footage, and from about the late 60s part of his career, mostly in colour too - albeit in rather quaint technicolour!

It is entirely in German, with no subtitles (although there is quite a bit of English language interviews as the likes of Colin Chapman, Jackie Stewart and Jochen's wife/widow Nina were not German speakers). However, on this occasion, whether you can speak German is irrelevant. The archive footage and narrative of the story is so superb you just appreciate being able to see the genius of Jochen! Just watching him drift his superb Lotus 49 around Zandvoort in 1969 before he retired with a driveshaft failure is a complete feast for the eyes!

The documentary also has a score featuring the likes of Deep Purple, Santana, Deep Purple and Uriah Heap amongst others. I suppose the production team chose music from the late 60s to give the documentary an authentic flavour. I think I'm correct in saying one of the Santana songs featured is Jingo and Deep Purple is represented by the choice of "Sweet child of time." Those two aforementioned songs are a very good choice, as the brilliantly capture the mood of F1 and the western world as a whole!

Jochen was a brilliant charismatic man: his craggy face made him look like an arrogant man, and many people who worked for him say he was blunt to the point of rudeness. But with that boxers nose, tousled hair, deep voice and incredible car control he was a force to be reckoned with.

I thoroughly recommend all James Allen on F1 watch this superb documentary on one of the great drivers of F1.

Jochen, you are gone, but never forgotten.


I have that book, simply titled "Jochen Rindt".

This info is probably not relevant 40+ years later, but the copy I have was published in England 1971 by William Kimber & Co Limited, Godolphin House, 22a Queen Anne's Gate, London, S.W. 1.

Copyright Heinz Pruller, 1970

SBN 7183 01625

Translated from the German by Peter Easton.


I know him

He's not active these days behind the mike. Not seen him for a while


The hills are alive with the sound of..............."well if I don't start beating Daniel this weekend, all those spectators and pundits will start to question my 4 World championships and whether I really was the Schumacher with a smile or whether some kid who was in the right place at the right time......."

Who will do well? On this occasion, that is total unknown.

I think what will be critical is the team who sets up there engine best for the high altitude conditions. With the circuit 700 metres/2000 feet above sea level, I would imagine the engineers have to try and compromise and adjust their fuel injection settings to cope with a lower oxygen content than normal. Also, the compromise between rich and lean settings will be critical. If a team gets its engine fuel injection settings wrongly adjusted, I suspect a driver will feel like his engine has been strangled!

Another high altitude issue is the cars produce less downforce because of the thinner air, but also with less air comes less drag, so I suspect there'll be a lot of guess-work on how to optimise DRS and all it entails.

It's always great to go a new track as the teams are completely in the dark over set up; everyone has to start from scratch!


"wiil start to"? That's a good one. The people "questioning" Vettel have been "questioning" him (actually, flat out asserting that he's no good) since forever.

If his car works properly (which it very rarely has this season) and if his team does not screw him over on team orders/team strategy as they've done frequently, he'll finish ahead of Ricciardo.

As far as this weekend goes, we should expect normal service to be resumed. Mercedes will lock out the front row and finish one-two. And, curiously enough, nobody will question whether Hamilton and Rosberg just happened to be in the right car at the right time. Funny how that works ...


"That’s a good one. The people “questioning” Vettel have been “questioning” him (actually, flat out asserting that he’s no good) since forever."

Those people who have been "questioning" Vettel's credentials over the past four years have been proved conclusively and indisputably right by the events of this season.

"If his car works properly (which it very rarely has this season) and if his team does not screw him over on team orders/team strategy as they’ve done frequently, he’ll finish ahead of Ricciardo."

That's an awfully long list of excuses on Vettel's behalf. Besides, Ricciardo has had exactly the same amount of DNFs as Vettel i.e two. Moreover, Ricciardo has also suffered at the hands of Red Bull incompetence this season i.e Australia and Malaysia. The RB blunder in Malaysia also meant he suffered from a ten-place grid drop in the next race.

As for Vettel finishing ahead of Ricciardo if everything is as you describe...well, unfortunately for you the evidence from this season does not support your prediction at all. Afterall, Ricciardo beat Vettel fair and square in Bahrain, China and Canada.

And lest you've forgotten, Ricciardo started two places behind Vettel in Bahrain yet finished two places ahead of him. And in Canada, Ricciardo started three places behind Vettel yet finished two places ahead of him. Oh and took Red Bull's first and only race win of 2014 so far.

So in fact, Vettel has his work cut out. Not only is he struggling to outqualify Ricciardo, even on the occasions he has done, it hasn't stopped Ricciardo finishing multiple places ahead of him on two occasions.

All in all, Vettel should solely be concentrating on beating his teammate for the first time in six races. Ricciardo has out-qualified Vettel, thrashed him on the head-to-head record, has more podiums and more race wins.

Whichever way you try to spin (or "twirl" ip ), "legendary 4xWDC" Vettel has been given a hiding by his new teammate in 2014.

"And, curiously enough, nobody will question whether Hamilton and Rosberg just happened to be in the right car at the right time. Funny how that works …"

Curiously enough, you (and your fellow Vettel acolytes on here) not even once considered that Vettel's record 2010-2013 was solely a case of "right car, right time." Funny how that works...

kenneth chapman

@ BK201.......a sound analysis and one that i have asserted myself in other threads. no matter which way you cut it ricci has performed superbly inside a team that has been built almost exclusively for vettel. even if he doesn't win another race this year he has already made me extremely happy. his canadian drive was simply great.

i was prepared to see this first year as one where vettel easily outclassed ricci as he came to grips with a completely new team and car. i also expected ricci to be right up there but never to this extent, a fact that all red bull execs, horner,marko, newey and DM have acknowledged publicly. unusual, but welcome nonetheless.

as the season progresses i expect to see vettel coming back into the picture in a major way. there is nothing like a kick in the ass to get some action. vettel must be smarting and he will doing everything he possibly can to get on top of ricciardo. i very much doubt that vettel can actually take a win on merit and i don't think that ricci can either so it is down to who gets to tablecloth first to pick up the crumbs.

but back to your post. it was well thought out and a dose of reality which is sometimes missing from the vettel acolytes.


I try not to be partisan of vitriolic in my posts and this will be no exception. I agree with the contents of BK201's reply, but not its hostile tone.

People often cite Vettel's victory at Monza in a Toro Rosa as proof he can outdrive a poor car but that particular car was excellent in Monza configuration and optimised for that circuit at design stage, by its Italian influenced team.

Vettel's team-mate at the time, the likable but hapless Sebastien Bordais, qualified in fourth behind Vettel's pole, so the car was hardly a cart-horse.

Vettel is blindingly fast in a car that suits him and that's not to be discredited. But right place right time? Indisputably.



I don't recall seeing you post before (apologies if you are a regular poster) - but I have to say that's a very well constructed reply.

Keep up the good work!


Has anyone noticed that the grid girl holding Fernando's placard looks a bit like Susie Wolff???

Is Susie moonlighting as a grid girl when she isn't driving? Does Toto know about this????


The air pressure isn't an issue, since it's forced induction - issues may come from less cooling (thinner air) and the turbo having to work harder.


you're right about forced induction and cooling but turbo work on exhaust gases so they will not work harder.


Only that they will. If you have lower atmospheric pressure then, in order to deliver the same intake manifold pressure, you need more boost. To get more boost you need to work your turbo harder. Yes, they run on exhaust gas but you only need as much as to get to the desired boost pressure - the rest of the exhaust gas is then routed through the wastegate and does not power the compressor side.


These turbos are not just powered by the exiting exhaust gases. Teams can (and do) use stored electrical energy to spin them up (which reduces lag) and/or spin them faster than they would me made to do from the exhaust gases alone.

The teams will almost certainly be spinning their turbos faster to enable them to draw in the same amount (greater volume of lower density) of air per combustion cycle. Will be interesting to see if any of them go close to the 15k rpm limit. Expect to see a couple of them overheat if not actually go 'bang'.


Air pressure?

What about Dan pressure? 😉


I would imagine for Mr Vettel it's suffocating...........


'Who will do well this weekend?'



and Deitre Matsich..............


Absolutely, red bull 'owns' Austria. They might even rename the country in 'Red Bull Rocks'.


You have obviously never been to Austria


and Deitre Matsich…………..

Do you reckon? I'd be astonished if he turns a profit from the race this weekend - it's more an expression of nationalism.


...and LDM.

Think of the list of complaints he'll have to play with after this race - it will like Christmas come early! 😀


It's pretty incredible that an F1 team owns a race track, not even Ferrari is this wealthy.

But thanks to Red Bull's recent success, we were able to get back one of the classic tracks which is especially good seeing as the majority of the drivers have never raced on the track plus, with this real estate, Red Bull indirectly confirms it's long term participation in the sport.

Anyways, due to Mercedes losing their 100% record for 2014, there's now belief in the other teams that there's a crack in the dam and so anything is possible from here on out.

Now, with the two stop strategy predicted for the weekend, it will be interesting to see if Force India can throw a spanner in the works again by running their one stop strategy, if so Red Bull & co better start praying.


RB does not own a F1 track


Doesn't Honda own Suzuka?


Yes. They also own Twin Ring Motegi, used for MotoGP.

Have a look at the Honda Collection Hall on Google Street View. I'd give you a link if I knew how!


I believe Fuji Speedway is owned by Toyota and Suzuka by Honda - neither are currently running F1 teams but both owned their respective tracks when they were.


Yes, I think that's correct.

Toyota managed to get the race at Fuji because they sent a nice big juicy cheque to some small bloke with a pudding basin haircut. Can't think of his name..........

Point is, Toyota having a race at their personal test track didn't help them in 2007 and 2008!

If ever there was an exercise in wasting money, and to prove the cliche that (lots of) money can't always buy success in motor sport (and F1 in particular) surely Toyota's F1 adventure is surely it..............

kenneth chapman

i simply don't believe those numbers? is there any data to even start to quantify a sum so large?


RE Goggomobil: WOW! US £1.2 billion A YEAR?

Toyota were in F1 for 8 seasons, so that's over US £9.6 billion spent on a programme with zero wins, zero world championships and zero legacy!

Even Ferrari didn't binge on that much money!


Spot on Gaz Boy,a very dear friend, she was high up in promotion section of Toyota P:R ( Australia )a number of times while at certain function of Motor Industry she inicated to me, Toyota participation in F1 exceeded expenditure of over $ US 1.2 billion per year, at that time I thought Ferrari was the Daddy of them all.


Toyota managed to get the race at Fuji because they sent a nice big juicy cheque to some small bloke with a pudding basin haircut...

Twas ever thus - how do you imagine DM managed to swing things with Bernie for this weekend? I believe the only track that doesn't have to sell their soul in order to secure a slot on the race calender, is Monaco.


Honda (as a constructor) is perhaps not far behind...


@ Gaz Boy

Lol... I believe Ferrari would first have to relocate their whole operation to Vietnam before they can even contempt accepting the FIA's Vietnamese cheque.

So it's either that or hell freezes over first.


@ C63

Aah silly me, forgot about Fuji and Suzuka.


Red Bull Racing don't own the circuit.

Red Bull itself does, not the F1 team.


Ferrari are more than rich enough to buy an F1 venue if they wanted. They do own race tracks just not a current F1 calendar event as they seem to like the Italian GP well enough not to bother. If you check out the Red Bull Ring it's not owned by Red Bull Racing but Mateschitz personal part of the drinks empire - so technically they don't own a race track - in the same way that if one of the owners of FIAT bought a track it wouldn't directly be Ferrari.


@ AuraF1

Lol... Come to think of it, that annual $100 million from the FIA is capable of buying anything.


...except Adrian Newey 😉


Goferet, perhaps to make things more fair, the FIA should pay Ferrari 100 million Vietnamese Dong rather than in Dollars/Pounds/Euros!

NB The current exchange rate is UK £2800!

You can imagine Luca: "So this cheque from the FIA for 100 million Vietnam Dong, what can we buy with it?"

"Er............lots of coffee and ice cream.............."


Anyways, due to Mercedes losing their 100% record for 2014, there’s now belief in the other teams that there’s a crack in the dam and so anything is possible from here on out.

I'd say it's more a case of 'they had a chink and someone only won because Hamilton blew his brakes'.

Assuming his rears hadn't failed and he had successfully got into limp-home mode like Rosberg did, we'd see them either 2-3 (or 2-4 at a push). The car was *still* nearly as fast as a charging Red Bull, even though it lost nearly 20% of its power!

Assuming Mercedes now understand their problem and have mitigated/resolved it, short of more arbitrary reliability issues, what chance do the rivals have - they can only *just* get on terms in qualifying and cannot seem to really touch the W05 in race trim at all?


@ Optimaximal

I see what you mean.

I guess the only hope left for rivals is if the Mercedes boys take each other out in a shunt.


"Sorry Paddy, I just biffed Lewis and both of our cars are parked in the gravel."

"You (expletive) what???????"


There's a Blockquote around that first paragraph...


If you say so, but I remain dubious...


Yes it is! Ferrari owns Mugello and Fiorano


Would love it F1 had a "floating" race going between Mugello, A1 Ring, Sachsenring, Imola etc, but doubt it'll happen.


@ James Allen

Oh, I was under the impression Mugello and Fiorano are test tracks for road cars.


Mugello is an absolutely brilliant motogp track, watch this years race if you haven't already.


mugello is FIA grade 1 so its up to F1 standards, fiorano is not a race track, testing only


Moto GP races at Mugello. F1 tested there...


I think you'll find that goferet means "owns a race track that is on the current F1 calendar" rather than a couple of test tracks which Ferrari can barely use for F1 related activities due to the testing restrictions 😉


Mugello,is no test track,its over 5.2 ks long and those in the know will tell you it's on equal with the Spa if not better, just ask any Moto-Gp drivers be it present or past, or seek the opinion from Mark Webber.


"This will put the turbos on the limit."

Lewis to DNF from the lead again?


Rosberg is over due for a DNF. I don't want the championship to be determined because of DNF's.


The conspiracy theorists are starting!


turbo speeds are limited by exhaust gasses.


"turbo speeds are limited by exhaust gasses"

Incorrect - the MGUK can 'spin up' the turbo, hence Merc's advantage of the shorter route for power by splitting the turbo components.

kenneth chapman



@aveli - see my comment above about the cars using electrickery to make the turbos spin faster.


... and by regulations ... 125k rpm is the max limit.


Why? Mercedes haven't had any significant Turbo issues this year...

The Canada issue was a MGU-K failure and their MGU-H design means they still get the majority of their 160bhp by simply driving the car - anything that comes from braking is just more energy!


They didn't have any MGU-K/brake failures before two weeks ago.


You're right, but look at this way:

They've previously had tyre issues - sorted.

They've had a spark plug failure - sorted.

They've had syncronised brake failures - presumably sorted.

So reckon it's time they had a turbo / MGU-H failure. After all, if we're going to keep this championship alive then Mercedes really needs to find new and interesting ways to trip up and fall on their proverbial 🙂


The spark plug 'issue' was actually a split casing - the car was retired to prevent engine damage. It was subsequently fixed and I believe Lewis won all his races on the same engine (although it may have been changed after Bahrain).

They didn't have synchronised brake failures either, they had MGU-K failures, thus all the onus was on the smaller brake discs doing more work with little extra cooling.

Had Lewis not tried to pass Nico at the chicane, he'd have probably still been able to keep running, hanging back from his team mate so that the brakes got cooled by the cleaner air - if the pit wall had called off any sort of race the second the K failed, they could probably have pulled a 1-2 (or a 2-3) out of the bag with some safe driver.


This circuit looks to have a few higher speed corners than canada, im wondering if the super soft will last very long atall , this maybe an agressive choice no?


That's a very good point.

I think some teams may take a punt on a 3 stopper. The time lost in the pit-lane will be gained by a potential massive lap time advantage towards the end of the race on fresher rubber. We'll see.


Some Austria stats:

Been racing at the Österreichring since 1970 however, the modern track (which lost it's long sweeping corners thanks to Tilke) opened in 1997.

a) Prost 3 wins, Schumi + Mika + Peterson + Alan Jones = 2 wins

b) Mclaren 6 wins, Lotus + Ferrari = 4 wins, Williams 3 wins

c) Most podiums Coulthard 5, Ferrari 20.

d) The back to back winners are Prost & Schumi however, Schumi was gifted the 2002 win by Rubens.

e) The drivers to have won with two teams are Prost, Jones & Peterson.

f) Mclaren is the only team with 3 back to back wins.

g) The track has seen 14 one time winners in 25 years.

h) Most poles are Arnoux, Lauda & Piquet >>> 3 a piece >>> whilst Arnoux & Piquet never won the race, Lauda's only win was from P4.

i) 7 out of 25 have been victorious from pole

j) No driver has won more than 1 race from pole.

k) 1971/72 are the only seasons with back to back pole to flag winners

L) The last pole to flag winner was Schumi in 2003.

m) With the exception of Mika in 2000, number 1 drivers that have won the race from pole have also gone on to win the title e.g. Prost, Fittipaldi, Schumi, Jacques.


S'more stats for y'all ...

Current points streaks (2+):

ROS 16

ALO 10

HUL  9

RIC  5

BUT  2

MAG  2

ROS's consecutive points streak is now the longest for any non-DWC, and the 8th longest such streak all-time.

Current podium streaks (2+):



Of the current grid, only Lewis (9 straight from his debut), Vettel (11 straight, on two occasions), and Alonso (15) have racked up more consecutive podiums than Rosberg's current streak. Hamilton's 5 straight between MAL and MON this year is his best since that debut streak.

Max Chilton's consecutive finishes streak, stopped at 25 in Montreal, is the 4th highest of all-time, after Heidfeld (33), Raikkonen (30), and N.Rosberg (27). Alonso has a current streak of 24 race finishes (from China 2013- ).

Thru 7 rounds in 2014, there have been 37 retirements (I'm not including classified non-finishes here). Thru 7 rounds in 2013, there were 23. So a 61% increase year-over-year. Considering how reliable the previous era's machines had become, I don't think that's all too shabby. Of course, I didn't delve into the cause of each retirement, to remove any spins or collisions.



Impressive stats.

So it appears Rosberg has begun playing in big league with the big boys.

Of course with stats like this, this can only mean what happened to Chilton is about to happen to Rosberg and Alonso.


Also, a few extra stats Goferet, if I may:

The O-ring has seen a few occasions when a grand prix driver broke his duck: Brambilla (March) in 1975 , John Watson (Penske) in 1976, Jonsey (Shadow) in 1977 and Elio De Angelis (Lotus) in 1982 all claimed their maiden win at the magnificent Styrian track.

Every grand prix held at the 0-ring from 1975 to 1978 was rain affected. Four consecutive years, four consecutive wet-ish races! I think that must be a record, even Interlagos or Spa can't match that.!

The old O-ring was quite similar to the old Silverstone in some ways: both circuits had a silly chicane located near the start-finish straight, but otherwise it was all long straights linked by very fast corners. Although both tracks were ultra fast, the premium was on aerodynamic efficiency and high speed cornering stability rather than brute power. A case in point is that the powerful Ferrari Flat 12, which was in service from 1970 to the end of 1980, only one once won at the old O-ring, the first Austrian GP at the O-ring in 1970. Otherwise, it was pretty thin (Austrian?) milk for the Scuderia, just a few second places in 1977 and 1979 but otherwise the O-ring was a barren place for Ferrari. And yet the supposedly underpowered Cosworth DFV was rampant in Austria, winning in every race in a British built chassis from 1972 to 1979, and also in 1982. Not bad for a 15 year old motor!

The old O-ring also had virtually zero run off at most corners, the drivers staring down the barrel of a lovely Armco barrier. The only section where there was sufficient run off was the dog leg return corners at the back of the pits where there was lots of green fields for the drivers to run off, but actually in those green fields was, amazingly, barbed wire fencing! At the 1980 GP Derek Daly had a brake failure that sent him spinning off into that aforementioned barbed wire fencing, very, very fortunately he went into backwards in his Tyrrell otherwise grand prix racing could have witnessed a gruesome and unspeakably horrible decapitation - I bet Derek still has nightmares about the fact that in Austria he was oh so nearly beheaded.

Think about folks: barbed wire fencing on the run off area on a track.....................


@ Gaz Boy

Mamma mia, barbed wire at a Grand Prix, that's straight out of a horror movie thankfully, Derek's guardian angels weren't asleep on the job.

Thanks for the stats but regardless Spa, according to Wikipedia, it states Spa went through a 20 consecutive year spell of rain affected races.


RE Wade Parimo: Spot on, it was Chris Bristow, in the 1960 Belgian GP.

When you watch a slow motion replay of the last lap accident in Canada, you'll see just how close Seb came to having Massa errant wheel/tyre nearly cut Vettel's head off. A split Nando at Belgium 2012. Bloody scary.........

Personally, I think the FIA needs it push on for more head/helmet protection for the drivers, but there you go............


Speaking of Spa and barbed wire. There was a terrible incident in the 60's where a driver was decapitated by barb wire at the old Malmedy section of Spa-Francorchamps.


Many of your stats are only relevant to the old track (Osterreichring) which was a significantly different layout to the current track.


True, but like Interlagos, Silverstone, Spa and Monza there is some cross-over from the original and modified circuits.

And the amazing Alpine scenery hasn't changed a bit!


@ Wade Parmino

Yes that's true.


True, but what else does he have to work with?

Stephen taylor

Old circuit ? The layout is exactly the same


The new Red Bull Ring is basically exactly the same as the A1 ring. Just a revamped surface and surroundings. The pre 1996 Osterreichring is quite different.


Stephen Taylor,

Maybe take a look at the layout of the old track...a few OMG corners. It's much different from the new track.

Stephen taylor

I meant the 'old' A1 ring.


"The layout is exactly the same"

It's not the same as the old circuit, it's the same as the new circuit.


Here's hoping for a good race - If we could have something of a repeat of Canada that would be fantastic 🙂


It certainly would however I doubt Mercedes are going to let that happen again. Mercedes will have spent the last two weeks ensuring that they have 100% reliability for the remainder of the season. I'd be shocked if they haven't solved the power issue. Maybe Hamilton will be too eager to regain ground on Rosberg and they both push too hard... Ricciardo will be there again to collect the inheritance. 🙂


The hills are alive with the sound of GET OUT OF MY WAY ROSBERG!


Let's hope so - it seems to me that we have more entertaining races when Hamilton is stuck behind Rosberg 😉


Very true.


I thought Bahrain was quite entertaining 🙂


Hi James,

Of the current drivers - another has raced at the A1 ring, namely - Magnussen - though in a lower formula.

It'll be interesting to see how quick he'll be in relation to Button.

But this previous experience really can't count for much as at the end of the day the circuit is relatively simple.


Both Magnussen and Kvyat in lower formulae, and more recently than anyone else.


"But this previous experience really can’t count for much as at the end of the day the circuit is relatively simple."

Seems obvious at first, but then again maybe it's harder to gain an advantage on a simple circuit - it's not like Suzuka for example where a more experienced driver could find an extra tenth or two in the trickier sections.


Hi James!

Firstly, could you perhaps find out whether Red Bull are still planning to upgrade the track by using part of the old circuit again? I read that their initial plan was rejected as locals claimed that the cars would be too loud however, given the quiet nature of these engines vs the V8's, may we see the track upgraded in near future to incorporate the older segments?

Secondly, do you have many memories of the old track layout used in the 70's/80's? From what I've seen of it, it was up there with tracks like Spa! Very quick...


I have magnificent memories of the old Osterreichring, but the race that stands out for me was the 1984 race.

Alain Prost had crashed out and Niki Lauda overtook Nelson Piquet, to lead in the closing stages of the race, when he lost fourth gear.

Cleverly, he was able to outfox Piquet into thinking that he was deliberately driving slowly, for tactical reasons. Knowing the way Niki drove, Nelson eased off to cruise home in second place.

Walking to the podium, Nelson casually asked Niki how the race went. When Niki told him his gearbox was shot, Nelson was understandably shattered to have let such an opportunity slip.

Of course, 1984 was the season that Lauda won the championship over Prost by half a point. Of all the races that decided the 1984 championship, Lauda always regarded the Austrian Grand Prix as his most fortuitous


Go on YOUTUBE, and type in 1972 Austrian GP. There's an excellent documentary about the race weekend during the hot summer weekend at the O-Ring in August 1972. It gives you a real flavour of the old track.

Bear in mind, its the early 70s, so beware of some horrid polyester shirts, big sideburns, flares...............but apart from the dreadful fashion, it's a great documentary about one of the great circuits.


Before my time I'm afraid!


We need rain there. Enough dry races. Let's see who is who in the rain, racing full hour in good rain!


Have a talk to Bernie, he might have an idea or two 😉


Is anyone receiving email notification if their post is replied too?

Or is it just me?


Thanks for the replies - I would have replied individually, but you wouldn't know that I had 😉


And what made you think we'd notice that you replied to yourself? 😉


Still no e-mails here.


not me.


Nope, still no go.

James did say he ticked a check-box, but maybe he needs to tighten a widget or something instead.


Four straights so... Four DRS zones? It is probably going to be a Greenpeace trip to save some gas, unless we get a lengthy safety car, or rain.


There will only be two DRS straights, between turns 2 and 3, and then on the pit straight.

That pit entry is going to be tricky, methinks. Cars are coming pretty fast around that corner, then have to get over pretty quickly to make the entrance.


James, do you think Mercedes will have the same problems with their brakes if the circuit is similar to Canada?


A1 always serves action & alot of crashes.

1st turn lottery at the start & it may be a crush as the rear guard try to shuffle forward while the front row are breaking to take the turn.

Turn Two always causes incidents.

Lets hope there is an excellent Sunday of racing & even handed rulings by the stewards. Nothing silly or in favour of anyone driving a drink sponsored racing team...nudge nudge wink wink say no more 😉

Come on LEWIS kick ass. 🙂

Michael in Sydney

Certainly if it's wet, I HOPE it will change the dynamic. If Mercedes' recent troubles are fixed I expect much the same. Their out of the corner and straight line speed advantages will have them lapping cars sooner than we believe. From what is said, if the opp for overtaking is not that avert, it will make for an interesting battle again between Rosberg and Hamilton. Question is whether if Hamilton was to lead, can Nico keep up? Lewis has a bee in his bonnet and he wants to show us all how good he thinks he is.

Strategy will be a big player here - especially with a 68 second lap, 4 straights and marginal overtaking. Given it's a track new to many, any clear strategy winner will certainly do themselves favours.

kenneth chapman

for mercedes...a walk in the park one would think.


Yeah, I'd agree with that, reliability permitting!

Never know, could rain, or some of that Alpine nature at the side of the track (ie rabbits and squirrels) could interrupt proceeding!

I remember, I think it was Stefan Johannson was driving his McLaren at the old O-ring and couldn't believe his eyes when a Deer ran out in front of him!


James, if you are commentating this w/end, as I hope, will you be calling turn 6 the Lauda Kurve or the Pirelli Kurve?

looking forward, chris.


Good question! I'll find out when I get there Thursday


Just call it the Lauda Kurve. Silly of them to change it.

Stephen taylor

James just so you the last corner which was called the A1 curve is now the Red Bull Mobile curve.



Thanks for the tips on my blog. Will you be at football next Sat or is it a GP.




Also do you think Hamiton will win the Championship or Rosberg



Very hard to say at the moment

Reliability will be crucial and in the end it will probably be decided by the double points for the last race


James, if possible can you please update us with the status of engines used for each driver. More than ever this year the engine life will be a critical factor towards the end of the season and it would be great to know who has used what as we go along.




Awesome. Thanks.


I've got a feeling Hamilton will turn the tide in the Mercedes battle, and I expect two Red Bulls in the top four.

Let's see how free practice goes.

Hoping, but not expecting a number seven podium.

Grosjean has all sorts of pent up drive; perhaps he will score in the higher points.

I expect both Hulkenberg and Perez to be threatening and causing strategic considerations, again; a one stopping capability could propel them both up the order, but there's much less likelihood of a safety car rest for the equipment.

I'd love to see McLaren challenging, but foresee it, unless they've been sandbagging on the extent of their vaunted upgrades for Spielberg.


For the first time this year, I haven't put any money on Ferrari springing a surprise.

For that reason alone, I'm half expecting both drivers to end up on the podium!


These Ferrari folk!!

Last time out, a cheerful ferrari mafioso spoke to Ted Kravitz to say that Kimi just had a "simple spin" and lost out.

Now 2 weeks later they announce that Kimi's spin was caused by an engine glitch that was there in free practice and was not sorted so it recurred in the race.

Geez, who needs enemies when you got mates like these??


Four straights will surely favor Merc. If they've solved their problems from Canada, dominate they will..

Just a thought, will Lewis's hard and late breaking cause issues? Hoping for another non Merc runaway.


The Austrian pit girls a naturally beautiful.


This is an awesome track. So glad it's back. If only Imola came back too, but with the tight chicane before start/finish.


Hi James,

Just an incidental comment, but I really don't like the new website layout. The old style was much easier to navigate.

kenneth chapman

surely first and second are beyond the reach of anyone other than mercedes given the track layout. the next five places are where i believe all the action will be and there are numerous scenarios that could throw up some surprises. i don't think red bull are going to find it easy going and they will be harried by at least four other teams.

williams are one team that could be a bit of a surprise, their car is fast and if they can sort out their pit MO they could surprise a lot of people. the ferraris wont be far away either. kimi will be desperate to improve his game however he needs to proceed without any desperate lunges into areas where he is not welcome!

all that aside, trying to see who will share the top fives places is well beyond me. there are just so many individuals under pressure to perform that i find it impossible to make any firm predictions....other than mercedes one/two.


----- OFF TOPIC ---------

Yet another sign of the impending apocalypse ->

"Legendary motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson announced Thursday it will be releasing its first prototype for an electric motorcycle"

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