Formula One visits schloss Red Bull this week end.
As part of their plan for world domination, Red Bull bought what used to the be Österreichring and later the A-1 Ring in 2003, before they even started competing in Formula 1.
Formula 1 had raced at the original track from 1970, when it was opened, until 1987. The original Österreichring was an epic, scary fast track with open corners, elevation chances and long straights.
Here is what it looked like in it's final 1987 configuration, a chicane added to try and keep speeds from being too ridiculous.
By the mid and later 80's though, it had become obvious safety features such as drainage ditches were completely inadequate.
The new track, renamed the A-1 Ring, was a shadow of the former one. For one thing it was much shorter, the lap record stands at 1:08.337 set in the race by Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari in 2003. (Schumi did a 1:07 in Q1 that year). Gone are many of the fast sweepers and in came the sharp second gear corners, a Tilke trademark.
As for the racing, it is an anomalous track on the calendar: Short laps should mean pit stops will be costly. 14% of the lap, according to Brembo are spent braking, so everyone will be looking to see if Mercedes resolved the issue that plagued them in Canada.
There are only nine corners but two of them will be flat for sure. The track will put a premium on aero grip in the middle section. Teams will probably choose a very high downforce setup, advantage Red Bull.
With the short lap and the first two tight corners, the first lap will be especially important as contact is almost inevitable.
Of the current drivers only Raikkonen, Button and Alonso have any experience there in a Formula 1 car, albeit in very very different machines.