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Austria brings us back to what auto racing is in Europe

The Austrian Grand Prix Brings The Focus Back To Europe For The Summer Formula 1 Races

Drafting the Circuits

Formula 1 Report

Austrian Grand Prix Preview

By Steve Aibel

@steveaibel

The Grand Prix in Austria is one of the spectacles of the Formula 1 season, especially for the fans. Set in Spielberg, Austria, and run by Red Bull, the circuit Red Bull Ring re-launched under its current guise in 2011, and started to host Formula 1 three years later in 2014. The Austrian countryside brings with it a setting of the old days where racers split the landscape between small villages nested in old Europe. This is racing where racing is pure!

Austria brings back some old school memories

Austria brings back some old school memories

The Red Bull Ring in its current form is a 9 turn, high-speed circuit that features elevation changes and the shortest lap of the year. The scenery surrounding this venue is stupendous and the effort that Red Bull puts into making this event a spectacle for fans is the model for all Formula 1 races.

The Red Bull Ring is a fan spectacle

The Red Bull Ring is a fan spectacle

The Red Bull Ring should provide an advantage to the powerful Mercedes squad and their vaunted engine package. Surprisingly in 2014, the Austrian circuit was the only race where Mercedes did not secure pole position. Instead, Mercedes powered Williams locked out the front row with Felipe Massa taking pole position accompanied by teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Austria brings us back to what auto racing is in Europe

Austria brings us back to what auto racing is in Europe

Although Williams secured the front row in the 2014 race, Mercedes Nico Rosberg won the Austrian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton following in second position. Another Mercedes smackdown! The take home point is clear. Fully expect Mercedes to dominate the Grand Prix in Austria.

Mercedes continues their incredible dominance!  Will it continue in Austria.

Mercedes continues their incredible dominance! Will it continue in Austria.

Lotus, in their first year with Mercedes power should also expect improved performance this week.

Watch them!

Both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado scored points in the previous Canadian event with the Lotus E-23 starting to deliver on it’s full potential. The drivers are able to push this car more than its predecessor, the troubled, twin tusked E-22. The E-23 is considered a vast improvement. It is a car the drivers like and has inherent speed!

Romain Grosjean is giving up his Free Practice 1 time all summer

Romain Grosjean is giving up his Free Practice 1 time all summer

Still, Grosjean will need to hand Free Practice 1 over to 2014 GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer for the next 5 races. Grosjean has expressed his displeasure with this explaining that losing valuable track time slows down his acclimation to the circuit and the rhythm that is so important to a successful race weekend.

Reading between the lines, I wonder if this could be the first step in Grosjean breaking ties with the Enstone based Lotus.   Although Grosjean’s contract runs through 2016, Lotus is putting a lot of time and effort into Palmers development. As the driver placements for 2016 start to swirl, expect Grosjean’s to be a name mentioned as a potential candidate for relocation.

Being a home race for Red Bull Racing, one would expect them to pull out all the stops for performance in this Grand Prix. Unfortunately, this is unlikely as Red Bull have resigned themselves to starting from the rear of the grid. Red Bull is expected to use a 5th power unit for both Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Teams are only permitted to use 4 power units throughout the F1 campaign so when any team uses a 5th, they are handed a ten place grid penalty.

Red Bull reasons that the best chance for their success lies at the twisty circuit of Hungary in July so it is better to take the engine penalties here and now. Red Bull is still battling with a lean engine that is grossly slow, especially through the speed traps. Don’t be surprised to see Lotus gain, if not overtake, Red Bull in the constructors championship sooner rather than later.

Ferrari will be the team to watch this week in Austria. The Scuderia brought an upgraded engine package to the Canadian Grand Prix, but the poor qualifying result of Sebastian Vettel stalled what would have been an interesting battle with Mercedes. Vettel showed his championship make-up as he battled through the field and finished in 5th position. Austria will be a good marker race as we see how effective the engine upgrade truly was for Ferrari.

Ferrari engine upgrades to be tested this week in Austria

Ferrari engine upgrades to be tested this week in Austria

Drivers’ Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton 151
  2. Nico Rosberg 134
  3. Sebastian Vettel 108
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 72
  5. Valtteri Bottas 57
  6. Felipe Massa 47
  7. Daniel Ricciardo 35
  8. Daniil Kvyat 19
  9. Romain Grosjean 17
  10. Felipe Nasr 16
  11. Sergio Perez 11
  12. Nico Hulkenberg 10
  13. Carlos Sainz Jr. 9
  14. Max Verstappen 6
  15. Pastor Maldonado 6
  16. Marcus Ericsson 5
  17. Jenson Button 4

 

Constructors’ Championship

  1. Mercedes 285
  2. Ferrari 180
  3. Williams 104
  4. Red Bull 54
  5. Lotus 23
  6. Sauber 21
  7. Force India 21
  8. Toro Rosso 15
  9. McLaren 4
  10. Manor/Marussia 0

One comment

  1. Totally enjoy your article Steve. F1 reporting in your articles is as good as being the and the fan is explained the entire race! Keep up the good work Steve!

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