Austrian Grand Prix: Red Bull Ring

Red Bull Ring
Red Bull Ring (DannyWilde /

The Red Bull Ring is one of the oldest and most iconic tracks on the F1 circuit at the minute. It’s been open since 1969 and whilst there have been several names of the track – including Osterreichring and A1-Ring – the current set up is about as good as it’s been in terms of both facilities and track layout.

Based in Spielberg, Austria, the track is surrounded by mountains and sits within a stunning landscape, typical of Austria. The drivers tend to enjoy racing there due to the fast nature of the track and the fact that it offers several overtaking possibilities. Due to the races typical date of around mid-summer, the track often benefits from fine weather, which can offer some unpredictability as well, such as rain.


Swap Start/End

Circuit Info

Location Length Corners Capacity Year Opened
Spielberg, Austria 4.318km 8 40,000 1969

Circuit Layout

The current layout of the track is one that has been tinkered with several times since 2014 in order to make it safer and more exciting for viewers.

Red Bull Ring Grand Prix Circuit Map

The first corner is arguably the most exciting and drivers race down the pit straight and then dive into a sharp right hander at almost 90 degrees. It’s here where the majority of overtaking manoeuvres take place and also provides a great opportunity for cars at the back of the grid to break a little alter and pass cars caught up in traffic and having to avoid collisions. Often these collisions do occur though, such is the severity of the right hander.

The run through to the second corner provides an opportunity for the cars to really open up. It’s a long straight which again is met with an acute right-hand turn. This allows cars that are strong in straight line speed to gain some advantage before having to break hard and then taking the turn at around 50mph.

With only 8 official corners on the track, it’s a circuit that has one of the fewest in terms of numbers of the whole season. But, the corners are all pretty interesting, especially as you get to turns 7 and 8 which offer an almost slingshot down the home straight. Many times you see drivers slip streaming here and then propelling forward as they use clean air to pass their opponents.

Recent Winners

YearDriverCarFastest Lap
2018 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.07.442
2017 Valterri Bottas Mercedes 1.07.847
2016 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.08.411
2015 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1.11.235
2014 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1.12.598

Circuit Redevelopment

The Crowd at the Austrian Grand Prix
The A1 Ring (selbst fotographiert /

The current set up for the track and the surrounding building has changed quite significantly over the years and in 2004 much of the paddock and grandstands were demolished to make way for new, improved buildings. 

The takeover of Red Bull raised a few eyebrows at first, and with it many people wondering if the track would be transformed back to its former glory or if Red Bull would indeed find others uses for the site.


It was the owner of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, that announced that they had no intentions of putting money into the track. Although, in 2005 renovation work had started, which did contradict the words said by the Red Bull owner.

After much deliberation, by 2008 the company set out with the €70million renovation work within the track and were aiming for a return to Formula 1 and racing in general by 2009. They held their first race in 2011, which came in the form of the DTM Season, now known as the Red Bull Ring.

F1 Returns in 2014

It took until 2014 before they were allowed to feature Formula 1 racing again, due to a fall out with a track in New York that was already proposed to be running. Austria were granted the race and it was the Red Bull Ring that was to again host F1 racing for the first time since 2003.

Other Races & Events

Moto GP
Moto Grand Prix (Abdul Razak Latif /

Aside from Formula 1, the only other inclusions on track have been that of the Moto GP and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Both of these are very much high octane racing though, albeit very different from each other.

One thing that the Red Bull Ring does better than most, is have the ability to open up the course to that of music concerts. The likes of the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi and AC/DC have all performed here over the last 25 years, creating an incredible atmosphere which is enhanced by the velodrome-likeness that the surrounding mountains give.


Austrian Grand Prix
2018 Austrian Grand Prix (pedrik /

The Osterreichring was originally built in 1969 as a replacement for the Zeltweg Airfield circuit that was currently on the site and caused great controversy with its unbelievably bumpy surface, especially at high speeds.

Original Layout

The original layout for the track was very fast and offered multiple sweeping corners. In fact, it was reported that many drivers didn’t even need to hit gears as low 3rd to complete the race. But, as the technology in cars increased, the track became dated, with the ability to pass something that many found very difficult as momentum was rarely lost throughout.

The track was often referred to as dangerous though and whilst most drivers enjoy speed, the fact that it had an almost 180-degree corner that was taken at speed with next to no run off area, meant that the smallest mistake resulted in a crash. The narrowness of the track was one of the main reasons why the course needed to be redeveloped and adjusted for the turbo powered cars, which at the time were kicking out almost 1,500 bhp.

Mark Donohue

The issues rose when driver Mark Donohue crashed at the Vost-Hugel Kurve in 1975. As a result, the corner was addressed and tightened which meant that cars needed to slow down more to successfully pass it. Other aspects of the track were also amended as a result of this, slowing cars down considerably to what was originally the second fast F1 circuit of all time, behind that of Silverstone. The difference was that Silverstone had ample run off area, making it much safer.


By 1996 the track was almost completely rebuilt as the A1-Ring, utilising the expertise of Hermann Tilke. The track was shortened to that of 4.32km from 5.94km and most of the sweeping bends were replaced with much tighter corners, forcing drivers to slow down.