Spielberg Track Guide

logo
Location: Spielberg, Austria Track Length: 4.326 km Laps: 71 Lap Record: 1:08.337

Red Bull Ring

Austrian Grand Prix F1 circuit guide

The Österreichringhe, the home of the Austrian Grand Prix, became a staple of the Formula 1 calendar in 1970. It ran until 1987 and was then absent for a decade before returning until 2003. Another 10-year absence followed and, having been bought and rebuilt by Red Bull, it returned to the calendar in 2014.

The Red Bull Ring, as it's now known, is located in the small city of Spielberg, surrounded by the Styrian mountains. Alongside F1, it also currently hosts a MotoGP race and has often done so for the DTM season.

In the 70s and 80s, it was considered one of Formula 1's most exciting and dangerous circuits due to the elevation changes, fast corners and small run-off areas. Safety concerns were a factor in its removal from the calendar in 1987, and when it returned, it had been hugely rebuilt by Hermann Tilke to address this. Red Bull then made further changes when they bought it, carrying out a £60million renovation.

There have been no Austrian drivers to call it their home race since its 2014 return, but it is considered just that for Red Bull, and they've enjoyed considerable success there, winning in 2018 and 2019.

The ring's current layout is 4.3km long and contains nine turns, with the race going on for 71 laps. Niki Lauda is currently the only Austrian to have won there in an official Formula 1 championship race, doing so in 1984.

Austrian Grand Prix F1 circuit information

The track's original layout made it one of the favourites among the drivers, and, since Tilke modernised it, removing multiple sections, many have longed for it to return.

In its current form, it's short and sweet. With just nine corners and three straights, a powerful engine and opportunistic overtaking are essential if a driver wants to enjoy success.

Turn 1 - At the end of a short uphill run from the start/finish line is a tight, blind right-hander that can often cause chaos on Lap 1. After this, it's the best place on track to make a move on the driver ahead.

Turn 2 - The drivers then continue uphill to Turn 2, the track's highest point. With the long run towards it containing a DRS zone, it's another one of the three best overtaking opportunities.

Turn 3 - The final one comes immediately afterwards, thanks to another DRS zone. Due to the winding portion that follows, however, it's more difficult to pass here.

Turn 4 - Following the right-hander is short, sweeping bend that opens up, allowing the drivers a small window to put their foot down.

Turn 5 - Next up is the lap's first left-hander. If a driver can head into it with the inside-line, they have a decent shot at gaining a position.

Turn 6 - Sector 3 begins with the drivers taking another left turn before...

Turn 7 - ...leaning across to the right for the following curve. Given the upcoming short straight, it's essential to get a decent exit here.

Turn 8 - At the end of said straight is a high-speed right-hander. The pit-entry and a DRS activation point are found at its exit, so drivers need to master it.

Turn 9 - The track's final corner sees cars taking a wide line to get on the kerbs and secure the best exit possible for the pit straight.

Schedule: 2020 Austrian F1 Grand Prix

The 2020 Austrian Grand Prix weekend is scheduled to take place on July 5 but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will now act as the season opener after Formula 1 officially confirmed an initial revised eight-race European calendar.

The Formula 1 roadshow will stay located at the Red Bull Ring for a second Austrian Grand Prix which will be known as Steiermark GP. This will be held the following week on July 10-12.

Austrian Grand Prix tickets: how to get them for the big race

The official Formula 1 website is the best place to buy tickets for the race weekend but, due to the global health pandemic and Formula 1's commitment to racing in the safest conditions possible, both races to be held at the Red Bull will be behind closed doors. Only essential personnel from each team will be able to attend.

Austrian Grand Prix ticket lowdown: things to note

When fans are allowed to return to the Red Bull Ring, here are some useful nuggets to keep in mind with regards to viewing locations.

The Red Bull grandstand is the most popular area and offers some excellent views of the track. Found on the straight between turns 1 and 2, it provides views of both that area and the pit straight, meaning you can see the start/finish line and two of the best zones for overtaking. Handily, it's also surrounded by huge TV screens, ensuring you won't miss a thing.

If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, the Grandstand Mitte is a great option. Turn 3 is visible from it, as is the straight that precedes it, meaning you'll see some thrilling wheel to wheel action, while, being located opposite the Red Bull grandstand, the atmosphere is excellent.

It's also one of the best races to go to if you only want to purchase general admission. There are areas that provide views of the circuit and TV screens everywhere to watch on, while the mountain surroundings alone make it a worthwhile experience.

Red Bull Ring directions: how to get there

Given its rural location, the best way to get to the Red Bull Ring is to drive, whether in your own car or one you hire from an airport  - but only once it is safe to travel freely again of course.

Surrounded by a vast network of motorways, driving to the track is simple. It's located next to the S36 motorway; once on this, take the Zeltweg Ost/Spielberg exit onto the L503 before turning right after around 2km.

If travelling by train, the nearest station is Knittelfeld, which is well connected to each of Austria's major cities. From there, a shuttle bus service operates on race weekends to bring fans to the track.

For those wishing to fly, the nearest airport is Flughafen Graz (GRZ), located in the city of Graz. However, it's small and only really an option for domestic flights.

The best option, therefore, is Vienna International Airport (VIE), located around 200km from the track. From there, you can hire a car or head to the city centre and get a three-hour train to Knittetfeld from there.

Red Bull Ring address:

Projekt Spielberg GmbH & Co KG

Red Bull Ring Straße 1

A-8724 Spielberg,

Austria

Austrian Grand Prix history, memorable races and past winners

The circuit has one of the richest histories of any currently on the calendar, with both its new and old layout providing F1 with some hugely memorable moments and races.

The first official Grand Prix that took place at the circuit was in 1970 and was won by Jacky Ickx. The Italian team picked up a 1-2 as Clay Reggazoni finished close behind him.

14 years later, Niki Lauda sparked celebrations when he became the first native to win there. He did so in dominant fashion, crossing the finish line a whopping 23 seconds ahead of Nelson Piquet. This race was also saw the F1 debut of another Austrian legend, Gerhard Berger.

The 2002 edition contained one of the sport's most controversial moments. Rubens Barrichello entered the final lap ahead of Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher but was ordered by the team to allow the German past just before the finish line. This led to a chorus of boos from the fans during the podium ceremony and motivated the FIA to ban team orders at the end of the season.

The highlight of the track's more recent races is undoubtedly Max Verstappen's triumph in 2019. In front of thousands of orange-clad Dutch fans, the Red Bull driver fought his way up from P8 to overtake Charles Leclerc at Turn 2 for the lead and eventual win with just three laps to go.

Drivers with most wins

Alain Prost - 3 (1983, 1985, 1986)
Ronnie Peterson - 2 (1973, 1978)
Alan Jones - 2 (1977, 1979)
Mika Häkkinen -2 (1998, 2000)
Michael Schumacher - 2 (2002, 2003)
Nico Rosberg - 2 (2014, 2015)
Max Verstappen - 2 (2018, 2019)

Teams with most wins

McLaren - 6 (1984, 1985, 1986, 1998, 2000, 2001)

Ferrari - 5 (1964, 1970, 1999, 2002, 2003)

Lotus - 4 (1972, 1973, 1978, 1982)

Mercedes - 4 (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

Williams - 3 (1979, 1987, 1997)

Brabham - 2 (1963, 1974)

Renault - 2 (1980, 1983)

Red Bull - 2 (2018, 2019)

Last 10 wins

2000 - Mika Häkkinen, McLaren
2001 - David Coulthard, McLaren
2002 - Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2003 - Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2014 - Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2015 - Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2016 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2017 - Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
2018 - Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2019 - Max Verstappen Red Bull

Red Bull Ring F1 circuit fastest lap

The fastest lap time recorded at the Red Bull Ring came courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen. He did so at the 2018 Grand Prix with a time of 1:06.957 on the 71st and final lap of the race.

Driving for Ferrari, the Finn picked one of his better results of the season. After starting in P3, he benefitted from a retirement from Valtteri Bottas and a strategy error from Lewis Hamilton to cross the line in P2, just over a second behind Max Verstappen,

Red Bull Ring F1 circuit: what the drivers say

Charles Leclerc: "I really look forward to racing in Austria. The Red Bull Ring is my favourite track, next to the one in Monaco. It is very small, but has a special rhythm to it that I really like. There are a lot of fans there to support us and many events taking place around the track, which gives the weekend a special feel."

Daniel Ricciardo: "Austria is a short lap, but a very busy one. It’s pretty hectic. The middle and last sectors are really fast, in fact the final two corners are my favourite, especially in the current cars. The race is intense and feels high paced from start to finish so you have to concentrate hard. As the lap is so short there is no room for error – one little mistake will cost you, as all the times are very close."

Austrian Grand Prix Schedule July 3-5

Practice 1 3 Jul 2020 11:00 AM
Practice 2 3 Jul 2020 3:00 PM
Practice 3 4 Jul 2020 12:00 PM
Qualifying 1 4 Jul 2020 3:00 PM
Qualifying 2 4 Jul 2020 3:25 PM
Qualifying 3 4 Jul 2020 3:48 PM
Race 5 Jul 2020 3:10 PM

Austria - Steiermark Grand Prix Schedule July 10-12

Practice 1 10 Jul 2020 11:00 AM
Practice 2 10 Jul 2020 3:00 PM
Practice 3 11 Jul 2020 12:00 PM
Qualifying 1 11 Jul 2020 3:00 PM
Qualifying 2 11 Jul 2020 3:25 PM
Qualifying 3 11 Jul 2020 3:48 PM
Race 12 Jul 2020 3:10 PM