F1 Insight: Who will triumph in the Austrian Hills?
Insight
Austrian Grand Prix 2015
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Jun 2016   |  3:12 pm GMT  |  36 comments

This weekend sees F1 return to a more conventional circuit after the ‘outlier’ of the new street track in Baku.

The Red Bull Ring, as it is now known, is a simple 9 turn high speed circuit with some long straights, open corners and technical challenges. So who will come out on top and what does a winning strategy look like for the other teams?

On paper this race should favour Mercedes and not do any favours to Red Bull, which has struggled on its own race track since it came back on the calendar.

Austrian Grand Prix 2015

With three straights where the cars hit over 300km/h, the track is classed as a power circuit and while Renault has made great progress since the new update was introduced over the Monaco and Canadian GP weekends, it’s still a good 30hp down on the Mercedes and Ferrari engines.

This should be a good circuit for Ferrari, which is only now able to show the improvements made during the spring after a series of mistakes and unfortunate events masked their pace. Whether Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen can hope to challenge Mercedes for the race win, as they could in Montreal, for example, remains to be seen.

Qualifying remains a challenge, as Mercedes still have the edge over the single lap, but the three tyre options open up some possibilities for Ferrari to be aggressive on race strategy and take the fight to Mercedes.

Sergio Perez

Force India is another team that should go well this weekend; the team has been on great form since the chassis updates introduced in Barcelona and Sergio Perez’ confidence is soaring. Williams is another; after Valtteri Bottas’ strong performance in Canada, this is another track where Williams would expect to feature strongly. Felipe Massa was on pole here in 2014.

The weather is expected to be much cooler than last year, with temperatures of 20 degrees on race day and some showers around for Saturday and Sunday. This will affect the tyre life.

The Pirelli tyre choice is Ultra Soft, SuperSoft and Soft. This combination was in action in Monaco and Montreal and it was interesting to note in the latter race that the Supersoft was a poor race tyre in the cool conditions, so most teams avoided it.

Austrian Grand Prix 2015

Austria has been a one stop race in recent times, but this year could see some variation. With Ultrasoft being the qualifying tyre and therefore the starting tyre for the top ten runners, it will be interesting to see how the teams decide to play it. A pit stop is quite fast at 22 seconds, so a strategy that leans on two fast stints on UltraSoft could be worth exploring.

One of the key considerations with switching onto the soft, based on last year’s situation, is that the slow warm-up of the soft tyre meant that undercut would not be possible. This means that the tactical option for the car behind of pitting a lap earlier than the rival ahead and then using the performance of the new tyre on the out lap, will not necessarily work out to put you ahead of your rival.

The key numbers at the Austrian GP

Nico Rosberg’s victory in the European Grand Prix gave Mercedes its 52nd F1 triumph, which moves the team clear of Red Bull into fifth place on the all-time win list.

Mercedes can overcome another one of Red Bull’s records if its drivers lead 66 more laps than Daniel Riccardo or Max Verstappen in Austria. If they do, the German manufacturer will move above Red Bull’s tally of 3,161 F1 laps led.

Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg

A third piece of history, and the first outright record, is also up for grabs for Hamilton and Rosberg. If either one of the duo secures first place in qualifying, they will tie F1’s all-time record for teammate poles, which is currently held by Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, who notched up 52 for Ferrari between 2000 and 2005.

Sergio Perez claimed his second podium in three races with his third place in Baku, and that means he has now tied Pedro Rodriguez’ Mexican record of seven F1 podium finishes. Interestingly, the drivers starting from pole, third and seventh on the grid, have comprised the podium of the last three races.

Pascal Wehrlein

One driver who left Baku with a notable streak coming an end was Pascal Wehrlein. After the German driver’s brakes failed at Turn 1 in Azerbaijan with 11 laps to go, it forced him into his first retirement of the season and the first DNF of his fledgling F1 career.

Although only Rosberg is the only driver from the current crop to have won at the Red Bull Ring, Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Manor’s Rio Haryanto have scored GP2 wins at the Austrian track. Nasr won the feature race in 2014, while Haryanto triumphed in the 2015 sprint race.

Finally, if Hamilton, Jenson Button or Jolyon Palmer takes the win on Sunday, it will be the 250th victory for a British driver in F1. Germany is second on the list, with 164, most of which come courtesy of Schumacher and Vettel

Lewis Hamilton

What are you looking forward to at the Austrian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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36 comments

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1
Carlos Marques

It feels good to be back to a proper European wide-open race circuit.

2

Finally, if Hamilton, Jenson Button or Jolyon Palmer takes the win on Sunday, it will be the 250th victory for a British driver in F1.

It's depressing that only one of these drivers has ANY chance of making this happen this weekend! Someone PLEASE give Button a competitive car!!!

3

I personally like the track though it's hardly condusive to close racing as it will undoubtedly favour the Mercedes powered cars, much like we've seen in the past race at Baku.
Expect to see a confident Perez up there again, pushing the Williams and Ferrari's for the third place spot.
Obviously Ham and Ros will fight for pole, with daylight between them and third which will make for a snoozefest of a race.
Is it to early to start looking towards Silverstone?

4

Unfortunately its really going to come down to track temps and whether it rains or not. I do appreciate its the same for everyone but unfortunately its very hit & miss with Pirelli. Barring tech problems Mercedes should win this but the real story as usual will be "who's on 2nd" & "whats on 3rd"?.

I really hope Force India do well and I cant wait to see another strong result from Sergio. Williams have been poor on thermal management on pirellis so they can be at the very front of this race or they can be P10. Whereas I believe FI are a solid 6th or better at Spielberg in most conditions. Im really not sure about Ferrari- if its 20c+ they can be P2 but if its 15 they can be 5th or worse . I honestly believe there is an inherent weakness in Allison designed chassis with tyre warm up- they are outstanding in wear and high soeed grip but but poor in low speed & cant peak as readily as the both Merc/RBR. I really want to see Kimi & Seb fighting as the front as they did earlier in the year- just not sure that they can work out their tyres well enough. This maybe an issue for Red Bull too which really shocked me at Baku.

Theres a lot of ifs but the weather is forecast showing a wet weekend- it will be Hamilton/ Ricciardo/ Vettel

5

Yes Elie I fully agree re Ferrari and their tyre warm up issues. Allison's Lotus cars were the same. I guess it doesn't help that the tyres are a notch harder this year with even the 'soft' tyres being able to go over half a race.

6

Nick- Notch harder is not the issue and its a good thing that tyres are lasting. Better still is the 3 compound choice.

Its tyre Sensitivity.. lets save that for another post- its annoying me more than anything during a GP

7

Yes, always a pleasure to be back in Austria for just like the sound of music, the scenery is breathtaking.

Now what I look forward to in Austria is hopefully a good showing by Red Bull to put a smile on the locals fans, also a tight battle at the front.

However with the conditions slated to be cooler this year, it seems the teams may lean towards a one stop as cooler temperatures mean the ultra softs will last a little bit longer

As for Mercedes, with Austria being a home race for the bosses, the team will be looking to put on a good show

8

Well like a Bus, Ferret !
You wait for one post and you 3 at the same time ...thanks for reminding to put Waffles on my shopping list ??

9

@ Hugo Weaving

Hahaha don't forget to add the digestive biscuits too

10

Some Austria stats:

Been racing at the Österreichring
since 1970 however, the modern
shorter track opened in 1997.

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

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

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

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

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

f) The track has seen 14 one time
winners

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

h) Lauda is the only local driver to have won

i) 7 out of 27 have been
victorious from pole

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

11

Nice effort ?

12

@ Sarsippious

Cheers

13

If Hamilton, Jenson Button or Jolyon
Palmer takes the win on Sunday, it will be the 250th victory for a British driver in F1
-------------------------------------

Maybe it would be better if the Brits kept their gun powder dry till the British race

14

Mate, you're just repeating what the article says...stop it please.

15

@ bippy

Actually what I was doing is quoting the article

16

Trying to imagine how any of Js would grab that win.

17

@ BW

Well Senna almost won a wet race in a Toleman

And yes Senna was left handed just like Jenson

18

Wehrlein just can't cut it at this level. 8 rounds in and a retirement already compared to the great Max Chiltons record in the same team.

19

Not a word about Mercedes tyre pressure trick?

20

See a Merc 1-2 in quali with Seb being 3rd. Can he have one other quick start? If he does, will be a nervous Ferrari pit wall! They may find a different way to lose it this time though ???; will be nice to see A hard fight between Nico and Lewis and between Ricci and Max.

21

Be good if a British Driver takes the win
More likely Lewis.
But hey I'd take Button or Palmer.
Anything to break away from the Brexit chat.
'Angles Merkel' and 'Sideways Sturgeon' and 'Forget to fill in my EU allowance receipt again Farage'. 'Cameron Coat Hanger & 'Jeremy Manhole Covers Corbyn'.

22

And the the Euros nightmare!

23

There is so much talking about Brexit that i hope british drivers copy their football team and loose against something like Iceland - Marussia?

Brexit in TV, Brexit in radio, Brexit in newspapers, Brexit on this side, ... Even the queen did her 90th -sorry, i don't want to hear the british hymn to be remembered about all that Brexit babbling.

24

Sefinkestler
Marussia doesn't exist!!!!
It's Manor like it it always was and Manor are a British F1 Team based in England !!
If you want get your
Iceland vs England example correct. You mean a UK/German based Premiership Team like
Mercedes F1
being beaten by a
English Conference Division Team
like Manor F1.

25

@seifenkistler
Just ignore it, it will soon go away?

26

power & fast track (as defined be the art.)
the race should be boring
may be nasty weather will bring complications;
well to you

27

Another Mercedes shootout followed by the Ferraris, though FI may interfere with the Ferraris. RB declared themselves not fast enough on this track, but that may not be true. Let's hope the strategy will play some role.

28

I am looking forward to Austria this weekend! I psyched myself up with a full race on F1 2015. It was weird, the race strat I used was Prime, Prime, Option, Option. With the Prime's falling off after 20 or so laps. If only real F1 tyres were like that. I made a set of Option's last close to 20 laps so I could have ten laps flat out to the flag. BTW, I was in the Williams, Valterri Bottas. As a Merc fan, I want to see my boy, Nico, win but, I would love to see a Ferrari or Williams victory. Even a surprise Haas win

29

'Much cooler weather than last year'. Bad news for Ferrari and for the chances of a close race. The red team needs summer to arrive quickly.

Overtaking has proven quite difficult on this circuit despite the long straights so a few showers in the race would be most welcome.

30

Ferrari did well at a cold and leak Montreal

31

James....

You state that the Renault "engine" is 30bhp down.... But, we have a PU, not just an engine. Part of Honda's problem iirc is the battery and generator not having a quali mode for example.... nothing to do with the engine output. Likewise a smooth power curve and good midrange drive is very important to lap times, obviously affected differently by car and circuit.

So, could we please be treated to Teachers Half Term report on the PUs ? How are the different units now, bhp, smoothness, midrange, mgh, mgk, battery, quali mode... it is all part of the bigger picture of the PU and utterly fascinating for us F1 nerds 🙂

32

Another one of my favourite races. Kind of has a little sprinkle of magic about it with the scenery and undulating flow to the circuit.....and of course turn 2. Some epic battles in the past. Foaming at the mouth!!!

33

It's going to be a lay down misere for Mercedes again. Hamilton will win this one easily from Rosberg. The real race will be between Ferrari, Force India and Williams. Red Bull hasn't got a hope here.

34

Red bull ring is an excellent location but i do wish that DM would reinstate some of the old circuit. i am not a fan of power/speed circuits that favor point and squirt racing. circuits like baku/monza/canada spring to mind. circuits that i enjoy most are spa/silverstone and COTA where we get to see all facets of racing in the one race. RBR could be one of those if some of the old circuit were once again integrated. As for the race at the weekend there appears to be some chance of rain. that would not go amiss as it seems to level out a lot of teams and drivers and in so doing it enlivens the early parts of the race before sheer grunt kicks in and we see the same old same old take the laurel wreaths.

35

The old circuit is fully rebuilt, as far as I know. However, it will not be used for anything more than club level events, as there are sections of it which do not meet FIA standards, namely the first left/right Chicane, which has hardly any runoff for what is probably the biggest stop on the circuit.

The work on the circuit seems to have been finished earlier this year, but no one is talking about it. When I watched F3 and DTM from RBR, it almost seemed like they were making effort with the camera shots to NOT show where the new expansion leaves and rejoins the current track, but a keen observer can definitely see that there have been changes made.

Hopefully one day we will get to see F1 and WEC on the full circuit.

36
Stephen Taylor

It was never fully re-built . There is a separate circuit for club events which does not replicate the old circuit.

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