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NEED TO KNOW: The most important facts, stats and trivia ahead of the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 heads from Spain to Austria as the triple header sequence continues at the Red Bull Ring this weekend. Need to Know is your all-in-one guide for the week ahead with statistics, driving pointers, strategy tips and plenty more. You can also keep track of how fans have voted using our popular F1 Play predictor game.

With Spielberg also marking the third Sprint weekend of the season, Free Practice 1 and Sprint Qualifying will take place on Friday, June 28, followed by the Sprint and qualifying for the Grand Prix on Saturday, June 29 and the Grand Prix itself on Sunday, June 30.

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Vital statistics

  • First Grand Prix – 1964 (Zeltweg)
  • Track Length – 4.318km
  • Lap record – 1m 05.619s, Carlos Sainz, McLaren, 2020
  • Most pole positions – Niki Lauda, Rene Arnoux, Nelson Piquet, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen (3)
  • Most wins – Max Verstappen (4)
  • Trivia – Austria’s Red Bull Ring has the fewest corners on the F1 calendar, with just 10 turns making up the layout
  • Pole run to Turn 1 braking point – 233 metres
  • Overtakes completed in 2023 – 105
  • Safety Car probability – 50%
  • Virtual Safety Car probability – 30%
  • Pit stop time loss – 20.4 seconds (includes 2.5s stop)

FAN VIEW: After another relatively close race in Barcelona, we have ourselves a battle again for Austria this weekend. Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris in the F1 Play voting – but not by much after the flying Brit pipped him in qualifying in Spain. There is also a little support for the rejuvenated Lewis Hamilton.

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The driver’s verdict

Jolyon Palmer, former Renault F1 driver: Austria is a picturesque circuit, really undulating, which makes it nice to drive and characterful.

You’ve got to be careful with the kerbs as it’s very easy to get straddling or to get over some more abrasive kerbs, which can inflict a bit of damage to your car. But beyond that, it’s a short and relatively simple circuit with some hidden technicalities.

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Turn 1 is always quicker than you think it’s going to be, but braking is the order of the day for the first sector. Turn 4, a downhill braking zone, is the easiest one to mess up – so many drivers end up in the gravel there on the exit.

There’s overtaking aplenty in Turns 3 and 4, and then the flow through the second half of the lap is really good as it just comes around so quickly. It’s one of the fastest on the calendar and it really feels it at the wheel. You barely get a breath through this Grand Prix.

ONBOARD: Max Verstappen’s 2023 Pirelli Pole Position Award lap at the Austrian Grand Prix

Last five Austrian GP pole-sitters

  • 2023 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2022 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2021 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2020 – Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
  • 2019 – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

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Last five Austrian GP winners

  • 2023 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2022 – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  • 2021 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2020 – Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
  • 2019 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

FAN VIEW: Elite race strategy and the brilliance of Verstappen enabled Red Bull to repel Norris and McLaren in Barcelona, and F1 Play gamers fancy a repeat this coming Sunday. Around 70% favour Max in the voting right now, with Lando down on around 25%. It is, of course, home advantage in Austria for Red Bull.

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Verstappen has enjoyed plenty of success in Austria, but will one of his rivals cause an upset this year?

Tyre and strategy insight

“The Spielberg track surface is quite old and therefore is highly abrasive, but the lateral forces exerted on the tyres are decidedly lower than the average for the season, resulting in very limited wear overall,” reads Pirelli’s weekend preview.

“Traction out of the slow corners and stability under braking are key contributors to being competitive at this track.

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“It is important to manage the tyres in such a way as to avoid overheating, especially if they run at high temperatures: those drivers who don’t manage to keep them cool enough could end up finding it difficult to fend off attacks from other cars, especially in the first and last sectors.

“Therefore, another important factor will be the ambient temperature at a venue where the weather is often rather variable.

“For the past two editions of this race, the two-stop strategy proved quickest, running the medium and hard tyres, and last year, no driver gambled on the softs.”

FAN VIEW: With Verstappen and Norris strongly fancied to lock out the top two spots, the rest are involved in a desperate battle for the third and final position. Right now, it is Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fighting it out at the top, with the other Mercedes of George Russell next best in the F1 Play voting.

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Current form

Max Verstappen made it back-to-back wins, and seven for the season as a whole, with another superb display at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, extending his championship advantage in the process.

However, in both Canada and Spain, the Dutchman was pushed all the way by McLaren driver Lando Norris, with a resurgent Mercedes also proving to be a thorn in Red Bull’s side at two very different circuits.

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Now F1 rolls on to Austria and the Red Bull Ring, where the third Sprint weekend of the season promises to bring plenty more excitement, drama and surprises, along with the threat of some adverse weather conditions.

Will we see another close fight between Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes? Can Ferrari bounce back after two off-colour weekends? And can Alpine continue their recent, encouraging form that has seen them lead the midfield?

All of those questions, and more, will be answered in the coming days...

FAN VIEW: The Alpines are back after both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon got among the points at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday, and F1 Play gamers expect them to go well again in Austria. The Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll are also fancied to be in the top 10 on Sunday night.

Race Highlights: 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

Iconic moment

It was an already unusual weekend in Austria back in 1999, which marked the first race since Michael Schumacher was sidelined by a broken leg, leaving it up to Eddie Irvine to lead Ferrari’s charge and take the fight to the McLaren drivers.

Having been comfortably outpaced by Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard in qualifying, the Northern Irishman was handed a gift at Turn 3 when the leading pair dramatically collided – Coulthard nudging his team mate into a spin to the dismay of those watching on in the McLaren garage.

F1 NATION: Norris had the ‘best car’ in Spain – so how did Verstappen win? It’s our Barcelona review

From there, it got worse for Coulthard, who was reeled in by Irvine and overhauled as the strategies unfolded, giving the Ferrari man a boost in his quest for the title and leaving Coulthard to apologise as Hakkinen (that year’s eventual champion) salvaged third.

Watch the drama as it unfolded in the video player below...

F1 VAULT: Austria 1999 - Coulthard hits Hakkinen to boost Irvine's title push

Elsewhere in Spielberg

There's other activity taking place in the beautiful Styrian countryside as part of the wider Sustainability Strategy that Formula 1 introduced in 2019, which includes the goal of being Net Zero by 2030, leaving a legacy of positive change and creating a more diverse sport that reflects the world in which we race.

  • Following a successful trial at last year’s event, a low-carbon energy system will return this weekend. In 2023, it reduced relevant emissions by over 90% in the Pit Lane, Paddock, and broadcast compound.

  • The circuit has continued their efforts in increasing the amount of renewable energy that powers their event. As well as the green tariff for grid energy and 1.3MWp (Megawatt peak) solar panels, this year the circuit now powers 100% of their generators with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel and has implemented a new biomass heating plant, reducing the need for gas equating to 382 tonnes of CO2 per year.

DESTINATION GUIDE: What fans can eat, see and do when they visit Styria for the Austrian Grand Prix

  • Fans have been encouraged to use greener modes of transport for many years, including key initiatives like the “Nimm’s Shuttle” or “Nimm’s Radl” (“Take the Shuttle”/“Take your Bike”), and this year's event is no different. Visitors travelling from further afield can make use of cross-regional bus transfers from six different states.

  • The Red Bull Ring carefully selects suppliers for the event and puts priority on locally-sourced produce and businesses. 85% of Red Bull Ring’s key suppliers are from Austria and half of those come directly from the region of Styria itself.

  • Across the weekend, there will be two sign language interpreters translating drivers' interviews on the Fan Zone stage.

  • The circuit is also teaming up with Sindbad, an organisation who mentor disadvantaged Austrian youth. The young fans will have a Q&A Session with the Mercedes and Aston Martin drivers, as well as an Austrian Apple Strudel baking lesson with the Red Bull drivers!

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In 2023, the low-carbon energy system at the Red Bull Ring reduced relevant emissions by over 90% in the Pit Lane, Paddock, and broadcast compound.

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