Grid TV: Red Bull Home Advantage, Spielberg 2017


On the 18th May 2003 the A1 Circuit, Austria held its last ever Grand Prix. The weather was changeable. The mountains would hide and reveal themselves behind the mizzle, drizzle and odd fall of rain all weekend. Michael Schumacher won, as he did most weekends that season, to finish the year beating Fangio’s record of 6 world record titles. Spa replaced the A1 Circuit on the F1 calendar for 2004.

Enter 2005 and the introduction of Red Bull, an Austrian managed and owned team based in Milton Keynes, England. Red Bull morphed into life from the defunct Jaguar team. New teams are hard enough to put together but Red Bull management certainly had their work cut out. Naturally, it made sense to retain as many human resources as possible, but the challenge was to get the Jag boys out of the local pub at lunchtimes, away from the pints and burgers. I know this… I was there. 2005 was also one of the most turbulent years to join the F1 paddock with much political debate over FOM payments and general distribution of funds. However Austrian businessman Dietrich Mateschitz didn’t seem to be deterred, also hoovering up the Minardi crumbs, registered a “B” team, and called it Torro Rosso, which actually finished above Red Bull in the constructors’ championship of 2008.

Running the Cosworth 2.4 V8, it only took Mark Webber until round 6 to rack up a 4th place at the Nurburgring. Adrian Newey was tempted away from McLaren and later led the design team through four constructors titles on the bounce.

So you might think that going from zero to two teams (in one year) should provide adequate entertainment and challenges for anyone right? Wrong because what Mr M did then, was even more remarkable. He removed his chequebook once more and purchased the A1 Circuit, redeveloped it and renamed it the “Red Bull Ring”. Being back on the calendar since 2014 it has become a focal point of its national motorsport pride, and a place for a home advantage… The team from Mobil1 – The Grid interviews Red Bull’s Christian Horner.


So looking forward at Spielberg, what new things are we expecting:

FIA to conclude “CrashGate” and decree before Austrian GP

Some observers have felt the punitive measures issued to Vettel by the FIA over what has now been described as a “potentially dangerous” manoeuvre were not harsh enough. It appears these extra investigations are directed at the moment Vettel appeared to drive into the side of Hamilton’s car. They will, of course, be deciding if Vettel did this purposely, malice or misadventure.

FIA statements have gone from “…data shows Hamilton didn’t brake test…” – no further action required, to “could” Further examine (28/06) to WILL later the same day. Why? I ask myself how much pressure internet discussions are bearing down on the president’s shoulders, when after less than a week ago the FIA leader (who also serves as UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety) preached about his responsibility of “taking leadership” around such matters.

Others chipping in:

Latest to come out of retirement to throw their hat into the ring is Button with a “Move on”. He stated “Azerbaijan GP was a pleasure to watch,” via Twitter on Thursday. “Why? because adrenaline and emotions were high. What Vettel did was silly but he’s been punished. Move on.”

Button, who was a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) with Vettel before leaving Formula One at the end of last year, said a 10 second stop and go penalty was effectively 30 seconds with time lost at the pit entry and exit.

And Max (fifty shades) Mosley has labelled Sebastian Vettel’s behaviour as “intolerable” and calling for a black flag. I was surprised to see Max’s involvement, he hates it when people violate HIS private sphere.

Reports are to be made public before the Austrian GP. Presumably to apply any sanctions in Austria.

I imagine Vettel’s relative silence on the matter is due to walking a bit of a disciplinary tightrope until that the outcome is decided. No doubt Ferrari will be deciding how to minimise the effects of penalties to keep the fight with Mercedes in the forefront.

Teams bringing updates (that we know of) to Austria

Honda Spec 3 power introduced for Austria

It appears that Honda now thinks they have a reliable MGU-H and Turbo and have gained 0.2 to 0.3 seconds per lap. This appears to be what Hasegawa is calling a Honda “spec 3” PU. And will be used in both cars at Austria.

The next upgrade is rumoured to bring upgrades to the ICE specifically in head work and changes in the pre-chamber. It is likely that the following (Spec 4?) next will include development in the torsional vibration issues which will prevent further gearbox replacements. I imagine they will want to be bringing this in ASAP and stand a chance at keeping Alonso.

Sauber says an update package it will introduce at the Austrian and British Grands Prix should deliver a ‘major’ step forward that could make it a regular midfield runner.

It is the fifth time that the Sauber F1 Team qualified for Q2 during this year’s Formula 1 season.

Pascal Wehrlein added a further point to Sauber’s total, with a tenth place in Azerbaijan. McLaren-Honda’s Stoffel Vandoorne says it was “impossible” to pass Sauber pair in Baku and Marcus Ericsson admits it was “painful” to allow Sauber teammate Pascal Wehrlein past who added a further point to Sauber’s total, with a tenth place.

Mercedes will adapt its Formula 1 headrest in time for the Austrian Grand Prix to avoid a repeat of the problem that cost Lewis Hamilton victory in Azerbaijan last weekend…

Force India confirms that junior driver Alfonso Celis Jr. will return to practice duties in Austria.

Wish I was there…


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