Formula 1 GP Austria 30.06.2023 - 02.07.2023

History of the Red Bull Ring

 

At he Red Bull Ring, the smell of decades of exciting motorsport history lingers in the air. From 1963 until 2003 the spectacular Formula One races first took place at the Zeltweg airfield and then on what is now the Red Bull Ring. Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, and Michael Schumacher all raced at top speed around this legendary track. Several breakpoints split the history of the famous circuit. Let’s start from the beginning:

Österreichring  (1969–1995)

 

In 1969, The Österreichring circuit replaced the bumpy and dangerous Zeltweg Airfield circuit. It was demanding for machines and tires, especially Bosh's bend. In 1986 Derek Warwick was rushing into Bosch's corner at a speed of 344 km / h. His Brabham BT55 was powered by a BMW engine during qualifying.

Some sections of the track had minimal protection or even none. Two serious accidents happened during the final round of the Austrian Grand Prix in 1987.

Frequent collisions occurred at the beginning of the races, because of the 1.8 m wide Formula 1 car.  The start-finish line was very narrow and did not provide enough space to overtake other cars. Other circuits were 18 to 24 m wide while this one was around 9.1 m wide.

Three-time world champion and long-time hero of the domestic audience, Niki Lauda, is the only Austrian driver to win the domestic Grand Prix in 1984 at the Österreichring in a McLaren-TAG Porsche. Lauda won his third championship in 1984, beating his team-mate Alain Prost by the smallest point difference in F1 history, by only half a point.

 

A1-Ring (1996–2003)

 

For safety reasons, the Österreichring was rebuilt in 1995-1996 by Hermann Tilk. The length was reduced from 5,942 km to 4,326 km, and three narrow clockwise turns replaced fast and sharp turns to create space for overtaking.

The A1-Ring was the name of the circuit because the A1 mobile phone provider paid for most of the renovation.

In 1996 and 1997 several DTM races and Austrian motorcycle races took place at the circuit. And between 1997 and 2003, it hosted seven Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix races.

Red Bull Ring (2011–present)

 

In 2004 the stands and boxes were demolished and the fate of the circuit was unclear. There were also proposals to extend the track, but even in 2005, it was uncertain whether the motor races would ever happen again.

In 2008, Red Bull gave € 70 million to renovate the circuit and DTM management was considering returning to the circuit. In the summer of 2010, it was confirmed that the circuit would host the DTM race of the 2011 season, now known as the Red Bull Ring. The championship has returned to the circuit every year since then.

Since then, other championships and races have begun to return to the circuit. In 2010, the return of F2 to the Red Bull Ring was announced. This was followed by the F1 Grand Prix and the Red Bull Air Race Championship in 2014. Finally, in 2016, MotoGP returned to the circuit.

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