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F1 Austrian Grand Prix Preview

Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Sean McKean

Credit: Joe Portlock

F1 returns to the hills of Austria, for a highly anticipated grand prix. It is the home of the Red Bull Ring, the home circuit of F1 legend Niki Lauda (among many more) and was also the first circuit that we raced at back in the COVID-19-affected 2020 Season. The Austrian Grand Prix is arguably a modern day classic circuit, and we’re in for a great race, along with a Sprint weekend to really spice things up.

Sprint Format

Viewers will most likely now be used to these sprint races, and we have yet another at the Austrian Grand Prix, which means there are many format changes.

Timetable (BST times):

Practice - Friday, 12:30pm

Qualifying - Friday, 16:00pm

Sprint Shootout - Saturday, 11:00am

Sprint Race - Saturday, 15:30pm

Grand Prix Race - Sunday, 14:00pm

With the Austrian Grand Prix historically being held at a circuit which punishes drivers for even the slightest mistake, every single lap of practice will count. Drivers will need to get some insight and data as the weekend will be limited for them in this regard. The track can be very difficult, despite there being just 10 turns throughout the whole circuit, most of the track is full of long sweeping straights, where it can be very difficult to hit braking markers, and especially as the tyres degrade and lose grip.

Circuit Guide

Credit: Formula One

The track begins with a fairly short run down to the first right hander, which drivers make the most of, being careful not to run over the sausage kerb on the outside of the first corner, as it could greatly affect their run down the straight up to the major braking zone at Turn 3. Negotiating the small kink in the track, which is known as Turn 2, drivers slam on the brakes for Turn 3, which they again must be careful not to run wide or lock up the brakes, as Turn 3 leads on to another medium length straight, and downhill to Turn 4. Turn 4 is a difficult corner to get right, and if you lock the brakes or miss your brake marker, you could end up playing in the sand off the circuit.

This then flows nicely into the twisty section of the track, where you must be very precise, before a chicane which spits drivers out onto an uphill climb up towards the final two corners. Taking the first of those final corners with just a lift of the accelerator and trying not to run wide (lap times will most likely be deleted here in Qualifying) and then on the brakes into the final corner, before a short run to the line.

Drivers to Watch

Max Verstappen - Red Bull at the Red Bull Ring

Max Verstappen, before ever becoming a World Champion, had always performed exceptionally well at the Austrian Grand Prix. In 2018, Verstappen took on the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, and after a double Mercedes DNF to take his and Red Bull’s first ever victory at the Red Bull Ring. In 2019, Verstappen fought back after kicking his engine into an anti-stall off the grid and managed to take back-to-back victories at the circuit, although many fans thought his dive-bomb on Charles Leclerc into Turn 3 was particularly aggressive, but the FIA did not penalise him. With Verstappen on an absolutely dominant run of podiums and victories, it’s expected that he will strike once again in the mountains of Austria.

Fernando Alonso - Aston Martin’s Best Shot

Credit: NurPhoto

With Fernando Alonso’s recent P2 at Canada and multiple podiums throughout this season already, we can assume that with some mixed conditions seemingly for the sprint race and sprint shootout as well, but also caution for rain across the entire weekend, that Fernando Alonso might just be able to close that gap to the Red Bull drivers. Alonso has never taken victory at the Red Bull Ring, and it remains one of the few tracks where he has never even finished on the podium. Could this be rewritten in 2023?

Owen’s Predictions!

I’m predicting multiple safety cars across this weekend. The field is so close together in the midfield, that with everyone running so close, mistakes are bound to happen and could lead to incidents, especially if the track is as wet as predicted in the forecasts. Look out for Turn 4 for some crashes and likely many incidents. It seems to have been a corner which the drivers love pushing each other wide at, and because of the nature of that corner, they typically run off wide into the gravel, and could get sucked even deeper into the gravel trap if they can’t recover the car quick enough, who could forget Bottas’ lawn mower service from a few years ago! I think Max Verstappen will most likely take victory this weekend, unless a poorly timed Safety Car comes out, or potentially an engine failure, nothing will likely stop “Mad Max.”

Who do you think could win the Austrian Grand Prix? Let us know in the comments below!

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1 comment

1 Comment

Jun 30, 2023

It should be a fun GP, a number of passing places make it not necessarily a procession which is good. Max in FP1 single lap runs could fairly easily beat the Ferrari time on mediums compared to the Ferrari on softs... thats a scary performance gap really and on long runs there is no better car than the RB. So barring a disaster he has this wrapped up.

I love recalling pre season predictions so will just leave some names that I predicted (against a bit of a trend) would perform.... Stroll, Hulkenberg and Albon. All 3 are actually showing well in their intra team battles, Stroll might be a stretch but he is being measured up against probably one…

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