Did you know that Austria witnessed the fourth closest F1 finish of all time? Or that David Coulthard scored five successive podium finishes in Spielberg? On the eve of the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Osterreich 2015, we bring you all the need-to-know stats, facts and trivia...
This year sees Austria host its 28th round of the world championship. The inaugural Austrian Grand Prix, in 1964, was staged on Zeltweg’s notoriously bumpy airfield, but all subsequent rounds have been held just down the road at the same location in Spielberg.
In its original iteration as the Osterreichring, Spielberg’s circuit was a daunting 5.9 km blast. It was shortened to 4.3 km ahead of F1 racing’s return in 1997 and has stayed pretty much the same length ever since. In terms of lap distance Spielberg is the third-shortest track of the year after Monaco and Brazil, but in terms of lap time, it's the shortest.
Twenty-one different drivers have won in Austria, but only once has a local driver triumphed - Niki Lauda in 1984. Prior to that the three-time world champion had failed to convert three pole positions on home soil.
Last year’s race - the first in Austria for 11 years - was won by Nico Rosberg, making the German the only current driver to have tasted victory in Spielberg. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas shared the podium.
Rosberg’s victory was Mercedes’ first on Austrian soil. The Silver Arrows have a way to go to catch McLaren, who are out in front with six Spielberg wins - one ahead of Ferrari. Lotus, Williams, and Renault are the only other multiple winning teams.
Five drivers have taken maiden victories in Austria - Lorenzo Bandini (1964), Vittorio Brambilla (1975), John Watson (1976), Alan Jones (1977) and Elio de Angelis (1982).
Brambilla’s victory was notable for the fact that he crashed moments after taking the chequered flag in a race that lasted just 57 minutes because of torrential rain. The Italian was forced to do his lap of honour with substantial damage to the front of his car.
De Angelis’ win, meanwhile, was not just the closest in Austrian Grand Prix history, but the fourth closest F1 finish of all time (third closest if you discount Ferrari's orchestrated finish at the 2002 US Grand Prix). The Italian held off the hard-charging Keke Rosberg by just 0.050s.
In fact, Austria has something of a habit for producing close finishes. Eleven of the 28 races have been won by less than five seconds, 16 by under 10 seconds. Conversely the biggest winning margin in Austria came in 1986 when Alain Prost won by a full lap.
Speaking of Prost, the Frenchman has taken the most wins in Austria - three. However, in terms of overall podium finishes David Coulthard leads the way. The Scotsman scored five successive rostrum appearances between 1997 and 2001.
In terms of duration, the inaugural race in 1964 was Austria’s longest, lasting 2h 06m 18.23s. But in terms of speed nothing compares to the 1987 event in which the winner - Williams’ Nigel Mansell - had an average speed of 235.421 km/h (146.283 mph) over the 52‐lap race.
Of the eight previous races held on the shortened Spielberg track, the polesitter has been victorious on just three occasions. During the same period the lowest any winner has started was seventh - that was Coulthard in 2001.
And finally, if Lewis Hamilton spends one or more laps at the front of the field in Austria he will tie Jackie Stewart’s record of having led in 17 consecutive Grands Prix.