LOOKING AHEAD TO AUSTRIA

Our official race previews are your guide for every lap of every race in 2017.
Hear from the team, drivers and management as we prepare for round nine of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at the Red Bull Ring.
Follow McLaren TEAMStream for all the build-up to the Austrian Grand Prix.

LOWDOWN

Race title Formula 1 Grosser Preis Von Osterreich 2017
Circuit name Red Bull Ring
First race 1970
Previous winners 2016 Lewis Hamilton, 71 laps, 1:27:38.107s
2015 Nico Rosberg
2014 Nico Rosberg
History lesson Austria’s association with Formula 1 dates back to 1964, when the country staged its inaugural Austrian Grand Prix at the temporary Zeltweg Airfield circuit. A permanent home for the race was subsequently established at the Osterreichring (1970-’87), which was shortened and re-profiled by Hermann Tilke in the mid-’90s to create the current Red Bull Ring (nee A1 Ring)

TRAVEL

City Spielberg
Time zone BST+1
Population 5,000
How far? Spielberg is 729 miles (1,173km) from the McLaren Technology Centre
Getting there The Red Bull Ring has the most remote location of any racetrack on the 2017 Formula 1 calendar. Getting there takes time. The nearest international airports are at Graz, one hour’s drive away, and Vienna, 2.5 hours away. Like many teams, the majority of the McLaren race team flies to and from the race on a Formula 1 charter flight, from London Luton to Graz
Surprising fact The old town in Graz is a UNESCO World Heritage site, much like the old town in Baku, where the Azerbaijan Grand Prix took place a couple of weeks ago
Local speciality ‘Steirisches Wurzelfleisch’, a pork-pot roast that’s a speciality of Styrian chefs. Served with grated apple, horseradish and caraway potatoes, the pork has a distinctive taste which, we’re told, cannot be found anywhere else…
Weather It’s warm at this time of year. Temperatures have been in the mid-20s this week, but rain is forecast to hit the region at some point over the race weekend

TRACK

Track length 4.326km/2.688 miles (the fourth-shortest of the year)
2016 pole position Lewis Hamilton, 1m07.922s
2016 fastest lap Lewis Hamilton, 1m08.411s (lap 67)
Lap record 1:08.337s (Michael Schumacher, 2003 – A1 Ring)
Tyre choice Purple Ultrasoft, red Supersoft, yellow Soft – the fifth time this combination has been used in 2017
Distance to Turn One 185m/0.115 miles (longest of the season: Barcelona 730m/0.454 miles)
Longest straight 868m/0.539 miles, on the approach to Turn One
Top speed 310km/h/192mph, on the approach to Turn One (fastest of the season: Baku, 365km/h/227mph)
Full throttle 66 per cent (highest of the season: Monza, 75 per cent)
Brakewear Medium. There are only three significant braking events around the lap
Fuel consumption 1.7kg per lap, which is average
ERS demands High, due to lots of full-deployment
Gear changes 54 per lap/3,834 per race

RACE

Laps 71 laps
Start time 14:00hrs local / 13:00hrs BST
Grid advantage Pole position is situated on the left side of the track, on the racing line. There is a slight grip advantage there, but it’s only a short, uphill dash to Turn One
DRS There are two DRS zones, on the approaches to Turns One and Four
Don’t put the kettle on…Lewis Hamilton won last year’s race on a two-stop strategy, but Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen finished second and third by completing the race with one pitstop. Verstappen managed 56 laps on a set of the Soft-compound tyres, so various strategies are possible
Pitlane length/Pitstops 242m/0.150 miles (longest of the season: Silverstone, 457m/0.283 miles). Estimated time loss for a pitstop is 20s
Safety Car likelihood The likelihood of a Safety Car is low, largely due to the acres of asphalt run-off giving the drivers room for manoeuvre. However, there was a six-lap Safety Car period in 2015, following a collision at Turn Two between Fernando and Kimi
Watch out for…The Lauda corner, Turn Seven. Its fast, downhill approach challenges the bravery of the drivers and if they carry too much speed at the exit they will understeer over a sausage kerb and risk damaging the car

THE DRIVERS

FERNANDO ALONSO
#FA14 MCL32-03

“I really enjoyed my race in Baku. Our performance in the race not only showed that the foundations of our car package are strong, but also that our operational team – our mechanics, engineers and strategists – are all racers, poised and waiting to take advantage of any situation. Two points may have been a small consolation after an extremely tough weekend, but, as I said at the time, we’ll take it and use it to drive us forwards.
“And there are reasons to feel more optimistic about our weekend in Austria. It’s a circuit that’s not as dependent on power as some of the recent races, and I think our car will be better suited to the twists and turns of the Spielberg circuit. I think we’ll be able to push hard.
“We’ve also got a couple of useful steps coming on the car, including – hopefully – Honda’s revised Spec Three power unit, which I tried during Friday practice in Azerbaijan. Every step is important, so I’m looking forward to a positive weekend where we can once again get everything out of the car.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE
#SV2 MCL32-02

“I’m looking forward to Austria – it’s a great little circuit that usually produces good overtaking, close racing and unexpected results. It should also suit our package a little better than Canada and Baku, where the long straights really don’t play to our strengths.
“Scoring points in the last race was very good for the whole team’s motivation and morale, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to make further progress in Austria. We’ve been bringing upgrades to every race, so a problem-free weekend, at a circuit that doesn’t disadvantage us, would really allow us to gain some momentum.
“Of course, we’re still some way off where we want to be, but a respectable result in Austria would really give the team an added boost.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

McLAREN-HONDA RACING DIRECTOR

“After a couple of flyaway races, it’ll be good to get back to Europe and push on with developing our 2017 package. After the excitement and incident of Azerbaijan, I hope that Austria will once again deliver a thrilling race for Formula 1. The circuit itself seems to produce good, close racing, and its configuration should certainly suit our car better than the high speeds and long straights of both Montreal, Baku and the forthcoming race at Silverstone.
“In fact, we had one of our strongest showings in Austria last year, when Jenson was third in a rain-affected qualifying session, and went on to finish a very competitive sixth. There’s been no let-up in our development push all season, and, while the result in Azerbaijan was nothing to truly celebrate, it was a sign that we are working well and able to capitalise whenever an opportunity presents itself.
“With a number of improvements planned for the Austrian weekend, not least the proposed new Spec Three power unit upgrade from Honda, I’m hopeful that we’ll be in a position to get amid the other midfield runners and take a useful step forwards.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

HONDA R&D CO. LTD HEAD OF F1 PROJECT & EXECUTIVE CHIEF ENGINEER

“The Red Bull Ring is a beautiful, unique circuit surrounded by the Styrian mountains.”
“It is the track with the shortest lap time on the Formula 1 calendar, and with only nine corners. However, contrary to appearances, it is a demanding track for the drivers with high speed corners and you have to be very careful not to make a single mistake for 71 laps.
“One of the biggest challenges for us is the high altitude. The circuit is around 700m (2,297 ft) above sea level, and the turbo will therefore have to spin at a much higher rate to produce the same amount of power. The efficiency of deployment will also be affected. Our strategy for the energy management will be key for the race.
“At the previous round in Azerbaijan, we were able to bank our first points of the year and I think it brought some brightness into our team. We also tested the updated PU, the Spec Three, with Fernando on Friday and we were able to confirm some progress in terms of the power output. We have proceeded with the mapping back at the factory utilising the data we collected, and we are going to bring the Spec Three for both drivers this weekend.
“I think we have some improvements in our competitiveness and I am looking forward to seeing our performance in Austria.
“We will not stop our preparation until the last minutes, and I hope we have a good race to reflect our progress.”