At 4.3 kilometres and with a record lap time of less than 68 seconds, the Red Bull Ring ranks among the shortest circuits used by Formula One.
And with a fresh, smooth layer of asphalt in place this year, and ultra-soft tyres among the selection this weekend, it’s possible we could see some seriously quick record-breaking laps this weekend.
The layout is straightforward not not un-challenging. In particular the second half of the lap features long, medium-to-high speed corners bordered by gravel traps ready to catch the drivers out. That plus an enthusiastic Austrian crowd makes this compact course an F1 favourite.
A lap of the Red Bull Ring
Track data: Red Bull Ring
|Lap length||4.326km (2.688 miles)|
|Grand prix distance||307.02km (190.773 miles)|
|Lap record (race)||1’08.337 (Michael Schumacher, 2003)|
|Fastest lap (any session)||1’07.908 (Michael Schumacher, 2003, qualifying one)|
|Tyre compounds||See drivers’ choices|
|2015 Rate the Race||5.6 out of 10|
|2015 Driver of the Weekend||Nico Hulkenberg|
The opening right-hander is quicker than it looks, inviting drivers to get on the power early in time for the steep climb that follows. However they must take care not to cheat the track at the exit, as Esteban Gutierrez explains.
“They put this sausage kerb there which doesn’t allow us to cross a lot,” he said, “so it’s a little bit like a street circuit where you don’t have a lot of margin to play on the exit kerb.”
One of the circuit’s two DRS zones is on the start/finish straight and has its own detection point before the final corner. Out of turn one the drivers have a long, flat-out drag without the assistance of DRS, but they pass another detection point as they approach turn two.
The uphill slope allows drivers to brake deep for this low-speed corner. At the exit DRS is available again but the run into turn three is tricky and downhill. The exit of the corner opens up but here the drivers have a gravel trap to contend with if they run wide.
The character of the circuit changes through the next few corners. “You approach turn four and turn five, which are the two fast corners on the left, which I enjoy a lot,” says Gutierrez. “I love them.”
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“You enter into turn four and it’s a blind corner. You exit using all the curbs, preparing for the next corner, which basically makes it one corner altogether – a very, very fast one.”
The lap ends with a pair of quick right-handers. The second of these – turn nine – previously featured a significant bump, though it remains to be seen where the resurfacing has eased that challenge for the F1 drivers.
They must also be wary of running wide through these latter corners, as in recent years the stewards have deleted drivers’ fastest lap times for straying wide of the track boundaries.
2016 Austrian Grand Prix
- Long stint didn’t cause Vettel’s tyre blow-out in Austria
- Point earns Wehrlein Driver of the Weekend win
- Mercedes will use team orders if Austrian GP scenario recurs
- Hamilton won’t change his approach after Mercedes discussions
- 2016 Austrian Grand Prix team radio transcript