RedBull Ring - Austria

Location: Spielberg, Styria, Austria.

Fastest lap: 1:02.939 during qualifying in 2020 Gp by Valtery bottas on Mercedes-Benz W11 EQ Performance

History: The race circuit was founded as Österreichring (translation: Austrian Circuit) in 1969 and hosted the Austrian Grand Prix for 18 consecutive years, till 1987, when It was shortened, rebuilt and renamed the A1-Ring (A Eins-Ring). In 2003, when Formula One outgrew the circuit, a plan was drawn up to extend the layout. Parts of the circuit, including the pits and main grandstand, were demolished, but construction work was stopped and the circuit remained unusable for several years before it was purchased by Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz and rebuilt. Renamed the Red Bull Ring the track was reopened on 15 May 2011. Formula One returned to the circuit in the 2014 season, and MotoGP returned to the circuit in the 2016 season. The Red Bull Ring also hosted a second F1 event named the Styrian Grand Prix in 2020 and 2021, just like MotoGP event named the Styrian motorcycle Grand Prix.

Originally built in 1969 the Österreichring track was situated in the Styrian mountains and it was a visually spectacular and scenic circuit. Although narrow at 10 m (11 yd) in all places, the track was very fast, every corner was a fast sweeper It had noticeable changes in elevation during the course of a lap, 65 m (213 ft) from lowest to highest point. Like most fast circuits it was a hard circuit on engines but more difficult on tires, because of the speeds being so consistently high. Many considered the Österreichring to be dangerous.

Some of the track was just road with little to no protection at all, even up to the final Austrian Grand Prix there in 1987, a race that had to be restarted twice because of two progressively more serious accidents both caused by the narrow pit straight. In practice for the 1987 race McLaren's Stefan Johansson narrowly avoided serious injury or worse when at over 240 km/h (150 mph) he collided with -a deer that had made its way onto the track while Johansson was cresting a blind brow before the Jochen Rindt Kurve behind the pits.

Increasing speeds were also a concern at the Österreichring; during the final Grand Prix there in 1987 pole-sitter Nelson Piquet's time for the 5.942 km (3.692 mi) of 1:23.357 set an average speed record for the circuit of 256.621 km/h (159.457 mph).

American driver Mark Donohue died after crashing at the Vost-Hugel Kurve in 1975. In 1976, the Vost-Hugel Kurve was tightened and made into one right hander rather than two right-handers with a small section between, and in 1977 it was slowed down and became the Hella-Licht chicane, going from the fastest to the slowest corner on the track. It is also known that four-time World Champion Alain Prost often said that all tracks can be changed but that the Österreichring should remain unchanged, just adding run-off areas would be fine, which eventually did happen up until the original track's final year in 1995. The track was known for having many crashes at the start of races (especially 1.8 m (6 ft) Formula One cars at the Austrian Grand Prix) because the start–finish straight was very narrow (about 9.1 m (30 ft) wide and it did not provide enough space for cars attempting to pass others, especially cars that stalled or broke at the start. Motorcycle rider Hans-Peter Klampfer died after a collision with another rider at the Bosch Kurve (where most fatalities happened) and 29-year-old Hannes Wustinger was also killed after a crash at the Tiroch Kurve (the part that was left out of the present circuit) at a race for the Austrian Touring car championship and this sealed the decision to build a new circuit.

Triple World Champion and long time hero of the home crowd Niki Lauda is the only Austrian driver to win his home Grand Prix. He won the 1984 Austrian Grand Prix at the Österreichring driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche. Lauda went on to win his third and final championship in 1984, beating his teammate Alain Prost by the smallest margin in F1 history, only half a point.

The Österreichring's safety concerns had reached ahead in the mid-1990s, and in 1995 and 1996 it was totally rebuilt, at the same site, by Hermann Tilke. Its length was shortened from 5.942 km (3.692 mi) to 4.326 km (2.688 mi), and the fast sweeping corners were replaced by three tight right-handers, in order to create overtaking opportunities. Its three long straights, as well as a twisty infield section, asked for a setup compromise.

As much of the construction work was paid for by the mobile phone provider A1, the track was renamed the A1-Ring. It proceeded to host seven Formula One Austrian Grands Prix between 1997 and 2003, as well as several DTM races and the Austrian motorcycle Grand Prix in 1996 and 1997.

The grandstands and pit buildings were demolished in 2004, rendering the track unusable for any motorsport category.

In late 2004 and early 2005, there were intense discussions concerning whether the owner of the circuit, Red Bull, would find another use for the site, or return motorsports to the venue. In January 2005, return of motorsports seemed more unlikely than ever, as Dietrich Mateschitz publicly announced that he had no intention of wasting money on a deficient circuit.

Late in 2008, Red Bull began their €70m reconstruction of the track and DTM chiefs considered a return to the circuit in 2009, and in September 2010, it was confirmed that the circuit, now known as the Red Bull Ring, would host a round of the 2011 DTM season. The championship has visited the circuit every year since then until 2018.

In November 2010, F2 announced that Round 6 of the 2011 F2 championship would take place at the Red Bull Ring. The circuit was reopened at a special event, The FIA Historic Formula One Championship was invited to provide the headline race attraction with a race on each day for Formula One cars from the 3-litre period.

In December 2012, Red Bull contacted the FIA to say the track would be available to host a round of the Formula One World Championship in 2013, after a slot became available following the postponement of the proposed New York metropolitan area Grand Prix of America, and by July 2013, Red Bull announced that the Austrian Grand Prix would return as a round of the Formula One World Championship in 2014. The Austrian Grand Prix was held on 22 June 2014.

From 2014 until 2016, the track also hosted a round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

On 11 February 2016, it was announced that MotoGP would return to the circuit in 2016 for the first time since 1997.

On 30 June 2019, in honour of the late 3-time Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda, the first turn of the track was renamed the "Niki Lauda Curve".

On 30 May 2020, it was reported that the Austrian government had given permission for two Formula One races to be held on 5 and 12 July 2020 respectively to kick off the 2020 Formula One season after its start had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 2 June 2020, Formula One confirmed the Red Bull Ring would hold back to back races on 5 and 12 July to start the 2020 season, with the second race styled as a one-off Styrian Grand Prix. It would also hold the first four races of the 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship and the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship. The circuit also hosted back to back races of the 2020 MotoGP season on 16 and 23 August, with the second race styled as a one off Styrian Grand Prix.

In the 2021 Formula One season, the Red Bull Ring hosted two races again due to the Canadian Grand Prix being cancelled and the Turkish Grand Prix being postponed. The first of the two was titled as the Styrian Grand Prix, with the second being called the Austrian Grand Prix. These two races a week apart from each other saw Max Verstappen winning both from pole position. Also in MotoGP, following the cancellation of the Finnish Grand Prix in May 2021, the Styrian Grand Prix was added to the calendar on the weekend of 6 to 8 August, one week before the Austrian Grand Prix. The first race saw MotoGP rookie Jorge Martín claim his and Pramac Racing's first win in the premier class, whilst the second race saw Brad Binder take a shock home win for KTM despite finishing on dry tyres in wet conditions.

In January 2022, it was revealed that the circuit would be modified slightly for MotoGP and other motorcycle races, with a chicane being introduced at turn 2. However Formula One and other car racing series will continue to use the current layout.


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