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Feeder Series Preview: Austria

Written by Vyas Ponnuri and Ellie Nicholls

The hills are alive with the sound of motor racing, as Formula 2 and Formula 3 move from the fiesta in Spain to the Styrian mountains. Set in the city of Spielberg, the Austrian round of Formula One’s support series are set to thrill once again, with plenty of action inbound. 

About the racetrack

The Red Bull Ring is a track boasting not only great racing, but beautiful views; Image credit: Formula Two

Surrounded by the landscapes of the beautiful Styrian mountains, the Red Bull Ring is made up of just 10 corners - the least of any circuit on the current calendar. However, what it may lack in corners, the circuit makes up for in pretty much everything else- history, prestige, scenery- and, most importantly, speed.

A lap of the circuit takes the drivers up the hill towards the sharp right-hander of turn one, before another straight takes the drivers down the hill towards turn two, and back up as it reaches another slow right-hander of turn three. 

Traction is extremely important off this sharp right-hander, with the third DRS zone running down to the right-hander of turn four, as the track slopes downhill at the apex. It will be important for drivers to get an excellent run off this corner too, to prevent being overtaken along the kink of turn five, into the winding left of turn six. 

The drivers will then take on the enjoyable left hander of turn seven into turn eight, a fascinating piece of racetrack, as they head down a short straight into the quick right-hander of turn nine. Beware though, as the pit entry is on the apex of the corner, and drivers can get caught out by others ahead pulling into the pit lane entry. 

Another medium-speed, downhill right-hander takes the drivers down to the main straight, across the line for a lap of the Red Bull Ring. 

With three DRS zones and multiple long straights, the circuit rewards power and offers many opportunities for overtaking- yet the notoriously strict track limits also challenge the drivers’ precision and judgement. To claim victory in Austria, drivers must find an exact balance of speed and control — making the most of the circuit and pushing to its limits, while being sure not to overstep them by even a millimetre.

Formula 3

Formula 3 continues this weekend at the Red Bull Ring, as the championship took another turn at the series’ 100th outing in Barcelona. 

Prema Racing’s Gabriele Mini, championship leader going into the Spanish weekend, was scuppered by a poor qualifying effort, leaving him only 15th on the grid for the pair of races to follow. 

A tussle with Campos’ Sebastian Montoya during the sprint race saw Mini take the racing line out of turn four and run into the Colombian, as both made contact, sending the duo spinning off into the gravel at turn five. No points scored for the Italian, yet he held on to the championship lead. 

His teammate Arvid Lindblad became the first repeat winner in 2024, in Formula 3’s 100th outing, the 16-year-old Red Bull junior becoming Formula 3’s youngest feature race winner with a controlled drive of an experienced runner. 

The Briton had to add some caution to his driving, as spots of rain began to hit the track’s final sector late on, threatening to add some late drama into the 25-lap feature race. 

It was Christian Mansell who would start the feature race from pole, though, putting himself in the best position to make it ten race winners in ten races. However, he wouldn’t be able to rein in the Red Bull junior after being overtaken early in the race, holding on for second. 

In a championship of nine race winners, the championship lead went to a driver who hasn’t won a race yet this season — Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli. A stunning juxtaposition in an extremely competitive series, as the Italian’s consistency has been a shining light. 

He took third from Luke Browning late on, the Williams junior’s fourth position finish lifting him up to second in the overall standings. 

Mini’s no score from Spain dropped him to third in the standings, just a singular point ahead of feature race winner Lindblad, as the championship prospects started to hot up once again. 

A feel-good story arising from Barcelona was a Spanish driver winning with a Spanish team for the third year in succession. It was David Vidales in 2022, Pepe Marti in 2023, and Mari Boya continued Campos’ winning run at home this year, taking the spoils in the sprint race ahead of McLaren junior Alex Dunne, who took his best finish of 2024. 

It was a sprint to forget for Trident, though, with Sami Meguetounif and Santiago Ramos coming together at turns one and two early in the race, battling for the lead. The French racer even veered onto the grass in an attempt to avoid hitting his teammate, before spinning into the rear of Ramos. Both drivers were relegated out of the points, costing Trident a big result. 

The duo would be looking to match their more illustrious sophomore teammate around the Red Bull Ring, as they look to strengthen their battle for the drivers’ championship, and form a three-pronged attack to chase down Prema Racing in the constructors’ championship, a 68-point gap separating both Italian teams. 

Several drivers will be wanting to stake their claim around the Red Bull Ring, with Formula 3 heading into the second half of the season. Drivers usually take the first half of the season to settle, before pushing hard in the second half to make a strong impression towards their future employers.

With a promotion to Formula 2 in the offing, drivers will be keen to impress the paddock with their talent and be in the running for an elevation to the series for next year. 

Formula 2:

Formula 2 returns this weekend in Austria — fresh off the back of the Spanish Grand Prix and promising to deliver yet another round of great racing action.

Last year’s podium sitters, surrounded by Austria’s rich racing history; Image credit: Formula Two.

Last year, the sprint race started in mixed conditions after a spell of light rain before the green flag, and in the opening laps, drivers who had started on the wet weather tyres had an advantage over those who had opted for slicks — including reverse pole-sitter Jak Crawford, who fell down the order to sixth place.

However, with the track quickly beginning to dry, the slick tyres became the better compound, and those who had started on wet tyres came into the pits. This benefitted drivers who were already on slicks, and allowed Crawford to regain the lead of the race to take his first victory in the series.

Pole-sitter Victor Martins had a difficult start to the feature race, being overtaken off the line by Frederik Vesti, who had started second, before losing more places into the first corner. There was a lot of movement further down the pack as well, with many drivers trading places in what was a relatively clean start to the race.

A late safety car, called to retrieve the stricken DAMS of Arthur Leclerc, afforded those on the alternative strategy a cheap pitstop, putting them onto fresher, grippier tyres for the remainder of the race. Richard Verschoor in particular benefitted from this, as he rose from 11th place on the grid to take the victory in Austria- the first win for Van Amersfoort Racing and Verschoor’s third in Formula Two.

Ayumu Iwasa also showed extremely strong pace throughout the feature race, making up five places on the opening lap alone, and thanks to the cheap pitstop he was able to claim second place having started in 16th. Championship leader Vesti completed the feature race podium, settling for third place but still managing to extend his lead over Theo Pourchaire in the drivers’ standings.


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