Felipe Massa, Williams, Baku City Circuit, 2016

2016 Austrian Grand Prix team-by-team preview

2016 Austrian Grand Prix

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Williams have thrived at the Red Bull Ring in recent years but can they – or anyone else – keep Mercedes from another easy win?


“I need to get back on it in qualifying and do a better job than last time out,” Lewis Hamilton admitted after his slip-up in Baku. But even if he repeats his 2015 pole position this weekend he well knows it provides no guarantees of success. Last year he was beaten to the first corner by Nico Rosberg who went on to win the race – and starts haven’t been a Hamilton strength this year either.

Rosberg, who is aiming for a hat-trick of Austrian Grand Prix victories this weekend, is confident in his ability to put Hamilton under pressure when the lights go out. “It’s a short run to the first corner there and generally my starts and first corners have been strong this season, so if I can qualify well there’s a good chance of a top result,” he said.


Sebastian Vettel celebrates his 29th birthday on Sunday and his first victory of the year would be a fitting present if the Ferrari is up to it. He qualified third last year but was beaten to the final podium step by Felipe Massa after a pit stop delay.

Kimi Raikkonen has shown a resurgence in form recently and was disappointed to miss out on the podium in the last race. He will have to avoid a repeat of the first lap collision he had in 2015 in Austria if he is to challenge Vettel for the podium.

They have made an aggressive selection of tyres this weekend, choosing nine sets of the ultra soft tyre for each driver, although the one-stop nature of the circuit may limit the effectiveness of this strategy.


Williams have enjoyed a great deal of success at the Austrian Grand Prix in recent years, taking pole position in 2014 beating the dominant Mercedes. They have finished third twice, with both cars no lower than fifth in both 2014 and 2015.

The competition from Ferrari, Red Bull and Force India will be tougher this year, but the FW38 is another efficient chassis which should thrive on this track.

Red Bull

Being a home race for the energy drinks giant and a popular destination for Max Verstappen fans the team can expect a lot of support in Austria.

But ironically the circuit that shares its name is not ideally suited to the characteristics of their car. The recent Renault power unit upgrade will improve matters compared to previous seasons, but they will have to fight very hard indeed to beat Ferrari and Williams to the podium.

Force India

Sergio Perez has raised his profile again with two fine podium finishes in three races, both at circuits that suited the characteristics of their car. Austria is likely to play to their strengths once again so another strong finish is on the cards. Nico Hulkenberg is increasingly being eclipsed by his team mate but will be hopeful of arresting his team mate’s run of form at a circuit where he beat Bottas to fifth in 2015.


Experimenting with a softer suspension set-up in Baku didn’t help Renault at a track where the RS16 was at its weakest. The team are confident that the flowing nature of the Austrian circuit should naturally improve their competitiveness, particularly with their B-spec power unit.

Toro Rosso

It all looked a bit 2015 for Toro Rosso in Baku as both cars suffered similar suspension failures in the last race and the team have been busy in the run up to the Austrian Grand Prix investigating the cause to prevent a recurrence. The team had good momentum in the races leading up to Baku and are confident that a points finish will once again be possible this weekend.


Sauber are another team who, like Haas, have struggled to find the optimum operating window for their tyres in the cooler conditions of late, suffering significant degradation in the race at Baku.

The team are likely to be mid-table once again in Austria, pushing to take their first points of the season to keep in the championship fight against Renault despite a significantly restrained budget. Felipe Nasr outshone Marcus Ericsson in Baku, holding onto the back of Jenson Button to finish in 12th position.


The short lap in Austria will bring the midfield pack closer together and the team are optimistic that recent improvements in their overall package will assist them to fight for points once again.

McLaren have won six times in Austria, the most of any team, taking their last victory here in 2001. But last year both cars were eliminated by lap seven, Fernando Alonso being taken out by Raikkonen on lap one, followed by electrical gremlins for Jenson Button shortly after.


Formula One’s minnows put on a good qualifying performance in Baku taking 17th and 18th position, but a turn one incident for Rio Haryanto and brake failure for Pascal Wehrlein sent them home disappointed. The Austrian circuit has many medium-speed corners and relies on aerodynamic efficiency, which may cause them to struggle to hold on to the back of the pack.


Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2016
Grosjean and Haas are seeking a return to the points

The return to more traditional circuits, coupled with warmer summer temperatures, should help the team to improve their fortunes as they have recently struggled to find the best set up to keep the tyres in their optimum working range. Neither driver has had particularly good fortune here in the past and Esteban Gutierrez is still chasing his first points of 2016.

2016 driver form

DriverStartedGap to team mate (Q)Laps leading team matePittedFinishedGap to team mate (R)
Lewis Hamilton10th+19.196s0/5115th+56.335s
Nico Rosberg1st-19.196s51/5111st-56.335s
Sebastian Vettel3rd-0.303s44/5112nd-16.406s
Kimi Raikkonen4th+0.303s7/5114th+16.406s
Felipe Massa5th-0.763s14/51210th+24.489s
Valtteri Bottas8th+0.763s37/5116th-24.489s
Daniel Ricciardo2nd-1.604s51/5127th-1.467s
Daniil Kvyat6th-0.313s5/61
Nico Hulkenberg12th+0.885s3/5119th+52.467s
Sergio Perez7th-0.885s48/5113rd-52.467s
Kevin Magnussen22nd-0.046s40/50114th-12.389s
Jolyon Palmer21st+0.046s10/50215th+12.389s
Max Verstappen9th+1.604s0/5128th+1.467s
Carlos Sainz Jnr18th+0.313s1/62
Marcus Ericsson20th+0.682s9/50217th+45.172s
Felipe Nasr15th-0.682s41/50212th-45.172s
Fernando Alonso13th-0.279s33/422
Jenson Button19th+0.279s9/42211th
Pascal Wehrlein17th+0.085s39/391
Rio Haryanto16th-0.085s0/39118th
Romain Grosjean11th-0.594s48/50213th-28.969s
Esteban Gutierrez14th+0.594s2/50216th+28.969s

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2016 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Chris Turner
Being pelted by rain on his first visit to an F1 race at the 1998 British Grand Prix wasn't enough to dim Chris's passion...

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5 comments on “2016 Austrian Grand Prix team-by-team preview”

  1. Someone needed to proof read this article…

    1. yeah, the formatting is all messed up too. this website usually has pretty high standards so it’s quite noticeable.

      1. @chapor @frood19 Sorry about this – somewhere along the lines a draft version replaced the published one. That’s why the ‘form’ table had also gone. It’s fixed now.

        1. HighinDutchman
          30th June 2016, 17:45

          With a little bit rain and a little luck, Verstappen wins his next race… thats what’s up ;)
          just hoping it will be better than the last race, which shouldn’t be a problem i think

  2. F1 rather overshadowed by other, more serious events, in
    Europe today…particularly at Thiepval and other memorial sites.

Comments are closed.