Austrian Grand Prix Preview
1 – 3 JULY
RED BULL RING
ROUND 9 OF 21
The Red Bull Ring, located in the small town of Spielberg, hosted the first grand prix under its new guise in 2014. What a race it turned out to be for Williams. The short 4.326km circuit, with its undulating features, was a popular return to the Formula One calendar. Williams scored its only 1-2 of the season in qualifying in Austria and Valtteri Bottas went on to claim his first ever Formula One podium. Williams has won three Austrian Grands Prix in its various venues.
For Spielberg, Pirelli have made available the ultrasoft, supersoft and soft tyres.
We are in the middle of a phase of high-speed circuits of which Austria is typical, and as such favours the characteristics of the FW38 and the Mercedes power unit. The circuit itself has brought us success in the past, and we have every reason to believe that it will do so again. However, for this third visit here with the hybrid cars we will see a couple of significant differences. The first is the weather, which is predicted to be unsettled throughout Friday and Saturday, with current forecasts showing Sunday as the only potentially dry day. Perhaps more significantly is the fact that the circuit has been completely resurfaced. In the recent European F3 race, teams reported that it was more severe on tyres, which makes the prospect of a dry race following damp practice sessions even more challenging. That being said, we would expect to see a two-stop race in Austria and the selected tyre choices seem to reflect that. Whatever conditions are thrown at us I have every confidence that the team will come through to gather a strong haul of points.
Austria is where I got my first podium in Formula One, so it’s always nice to go back. I like the landscape and the beautiful countryside that surrounds the track because it’s similar to my home in Finland. As a place to visit, I really enjoy it. The track itself is always fun to drive. It has a nice flow to it with some big elevation changes and plenty of high-speed corners. It’s also pretty good for our car, so it should be an interesting weekend.
Austria is a very small but nice track to drive. I’ve had some great races there over the previous two years. Last year I was on the podium in third. The year before, we had a pole position and second on the grid. Valtteri finished on the podium and I finished fourth. That shows it’s a good track for our car and we are normally very competitive. I hope we have another year like that! There are some good straights for the power unit, mixed with some high-speed corners. As a place, it’s somewhere I really enjoy visiting. We normally stay in a hotel which is like an old castle, so that’s interesting and different to normal. The people are always really enthusiastic about Formula One, so it’s always nice to come here.