After visits to Canada and Azerbaijan the European season gets truly underway as the Formula One paddock arrives in Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix. After a 10 year hiatus the Austrian Grand Prix returned in 2013, with the A1 Ring reinvigorated under the Red Bull flag. Unfortunately for the higher ups in Red Bull the two races held there so far have been won by Mercedes and Nico Rosberg. With a series of long straights early in the lap it is ideal for Mercedes and any of the teams with their engine in the back.
The Red Bull Ring, as you can see, is a lot of fast straights and heavy braking zones. There are two DRS zones around the circuit. One down the home straight, leading into the tricky uphill entry and exit of turn one. The other is down the long blast into the downhill braking zone of turn three. Both provide ample overtaking opportunities but the gradient change in the braking zones means drivers have to be mindful about lockups as they make the dives inside.
The back half of the track is fairly single file as they wind downhill towards the start/finish line. There is a chance if someone gets their lines wrong or are struggling on old tyres there will be an opportunity but turns one, two and three are going to be the main hotspots for passing.
Last year saw most teams opt for a one stop race, however with the introduction of the ultra soft tyre this year we could see a few more options, however it is such a short lap around Spielberg that pitstops become more costly.
With most teams going aggressive on the ultra softs and light on soft tyres we could see more stops than usual, but the ultra softs have been lasting longer than expected this season. With ample overtaking options and long acceleration points good tyre wear will be vital for drivers looking to move through the mid-grid into a strong points finish.