All About F1 GP Austria 2024

All About F1 GP Austria 2024

The Austrian Grand Prix is almost upon us, and is one of the events this season to feature a Sprint Race as well. Will Max Verstappen emerge victorious, or will his nearest challengers Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris close in?

Event Overview and Schedule

Here is all you need to know about the weekend ahead:

Friday June 28

  • 11.30am: Austrian GP Practice One
  • 3.30pm: Austrian GP Sprint Qualifying

Saturday June 29

  • 11am: Austrian GP Sprint 
  • 3pm: Austrian GP Qualifying

Sunday June 30

2pm: The Austrian Grand Prix

Circuit Information

The Red Bull Ring was originally known as the Osterreichring, and hosted the F1 GP in Austria initially from 1970 to 1987. It returned for 1997-2003, then again in 2014 until today. When Red Bull rebuilt the track, it became known as the Red Bull Ring.

The track is 4.318km long, with 10 turns. Carlos Sainz currently holds the track record with 1:05.619, set in 2020.

The track is known for three exceptionally long straights, with the first two turns taking in almost half of the track length before a tight hairpin at Gosser leads to six more corners in quick succession, before turn nine takes the cars back to the starting line straight once more.

Expectations and Pre-Race Analysis

With Max Verstappen the reigning champion, and top of the standings once more, the form book suggests that he will be the favourite once more. That is before you consider the fact this is the home track of the Red Bull team, and they are intimately familiar with the surroundings.

However, this season both Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Lando Norris (McLaren) have emerged as credible rivals to the Dutchman, and a win here would not just put them back in the mix for a title challenge, but represent a huge  blow to Red Bull’s self-confidence as drama threatens to overtake the team away from racing.

Drivers and Teams

Red Bull’s Verstappen won both the Spanish  and the Canadian GPs, with McLaren’s Norris in second place for both. While Ferrari’s Leclerc was fifth in Spain, only a few races ago he finally triumphed at Monaco to win his home Grand Prix.

Verstappen leads with 169 points, Leclerc has 138, and Norris 113. With more points on offer in Saturday’s sprint, a double triumph could make a decisive change to the standings.

Key Storylines and Talking Points

With controversy surrounding Christian Horner at Red Bull, and speculation continuing over the future of Max Verstappen with the Austrians, the pressure is on the current dominant team to not make any mistakes on the track. Five wins suggest that for now they will emerge with another drivers’ and constructors’ championship double.

However Lando Norris’ continued improvements hints at a change at the top of the standings as Mercedes threaten to fall away into irrelevance in Lewis Hamilton’s last season, which is attracting dissent of its own.

For Leclerc and Ferrari, this is the season before Hamilton’s arrival, so the Monegasque will be keen to make it clear he will not give up the No. 1 spot in Italy.

Circuit History and Memorable Moments

One legendary moment took place in 2003, when Michael Schumacher started in pole and won the race, but it was far from straightforward in between. A brief shower added early drama, and then in Schumacher’s first pitstop, a problem with the fuel rig saw Schumacher staying in his car as the vehicle burst into flames. That nerveless display was then improved as he battled through the pack to get past Kimi Raikkonen and repeatedly set one track record after another.

In 2019, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen faced off, with the Dutchman falling as low as eighth in the opening lap. Leclerc, on pole, kept his lead as Verstappen started to chip away, and he leapt forward with an advantageous string of pitstops, and on lap 68 the two started a tussle that continued into the next lap as Leclerc was forced off the track in controversial circumstances.

Three years before, it was the scene of a Lewis Hamilton triumph as he battled with his one-time nemesis, Nico Rosberg. Already in an ill-tempered rivalry, Rosberg was ahead with 15 laps remaining. Rosberg then failed to turn, meaning Hamilton had to go off-track, striking Rosberg’s wing as he returned to the action. Rosberg limped home in fourth, and Hamilton finished first with such a time advantage that the ensuing 10-second penalty made no difference to his finish.

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