For the first time in Formula 1 history the World Championship will begin in Austria this weekend, at the former Österreichring now the Red Bull Ring, for part one of the season opening double header at the venue.
2020 Formula 1 World Championship, Round 1 - Austrian Grand Prix
Lap distance: 4.318km. Total distance: 306.452km (71 laps)
2019 pole: Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2019 winner: Max Verstappen, Red Bull
Race lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari, 2018, 1:06.957
Austria returned to the F1 calendar in 2014 after an 11-year break
The circuit is the second highest altitude of the season after Mexico.
Mercedes have won four of five races since the return, but have not won there for the past two years
Lewis Hamilton, winner in 2016, Valtteri Bottas (2017) and Max Verstappen (2018 & 2019) are the only drivers on the current grid to have won in Austria.
Austria first hosted a race at Zeltweg in 1964, an airfield which has now become Red Bul Ring
Triple world champion Niki Lauda is the only Austrian to have won at home
Ahead of the new season, Hamilton has 84 victories from 250 races
Austria was supposed to be the 11th race on this season's calendar...
When was the track built:
Built as the Osterreichring in 1969 to replace the Zeltweg airfield circuit, it has today been transformed into a top-rate facility and known as the Red Bull Ring - the pride and labour of love for billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz. Hermann Tilke was assigned to modernise the venue which now hosts the grand prix.
First Grand Prix:
Jacky Ickx won the first Austrian Grand Prix in 1970 driving for Ferrari. What followed was a 17 year run on the F1 calendar until 1987 when Nigel Mansell triumphed at the Osterreichring or a final time. The track did not host a grand prix until 1997 when |Jacques Villeneuve took top honours for Williams - the track then known as the A-1 Ring.
2019 Race Recap:
Last year's edition of the race triggered the Max Verstappen versus Charles Leclerc legacy, the two young guns and already destined to be long-term stars of the. Their battle, rubbing wheels and employing every bit of strategy in their arsenal, it was Verstappen who won that round beating the Ferrari driver on the day. Valterri Bottas' was best of the Mercedes pair in third.
What’s the circuit like:
The Red Bull Ring packs a lot into one of the shortest laps on the F1 calendar. Apower hungry early sector up the hill into Turn 1 and the torque needed to then the drag race up the hill to the elbow sharp Turn 2. This is followed by a rolercoaster like downhill with a sharp right hander at the bottom of the hill which precedes a giant esses-like left and right sweeps that lead to the short back straight topped by a blindingly fast downhill right-hander into a sharp right which leads onto the start-finish straight.
Don't go to this year's race because you won't be allowed to get anywhere near the circuit as the event is being staged in lock down conditions, very different from the throbbing masses that descend on the venue for the Grand Prix in normal circumstances.
Nevertheless, you can get into the spirit by checking out the F1 team wear collections we have in stock in our Paddock Legends online store!