Grand Prix 2014 Austrian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

F1 is back In Speilberg, Austria for the first time in 11 years.

The Speilberg race track has a long history in F1. The original track was know as the Osterrelchring. The track was built in 1969 to replace the Zeltweg airfield circuit, and first debuted in F1 in 1970. It was a very fast circuit with every corner a fast sweeping spectacle meaning drivers never had to drop below 3rd gear. However large sections of the track had little run off and some sections including the start finish straight were very narrow. Mark Donohue’s death in 1975 resulted in alterations to the Vost-Hugel Kurve and in 1977 the Hella-Licht chicane was added. After that Allan Prost pushed for larger run off’s rather than more track alterations. These followed in some, but not all corners.

The Osterrelchring was a regular offering until 1987 when the turbo era pushed engine power up to 1400 bhp in quailfying. The speeds achieved approaching the Bosch Kurve were well over 200mph, a corner still with little run off. Other corners were also very fast and the track was considered to be dangerous and having out grown F1’s in its new faster era.

But the real crunch came after two restarts were required in 1987 due to crashes caused by the narrow start finish straight. With the cars now over 6 feet wide, the straight was not wide enough to get much more than 2 cars side by side. F1 had had enough, and Austria was dropped in favour of Budapest.

The track gradually fell into disrepair until the Austrian Telephone Company paid for it’s revamping by Herman Tilke in return for it being renamed the A1-Ring. The A1-Ring returned to the calendar in 1997. Most of the fast corners had gone in favour of 3 tight corners introduced to give more overtaking opportunities. It was also much shorter, down from 3.67 miles too just 2.68 miles. The A1 Ring enjoyed a 7 year run until it was again dropped after 2003.

In 2004 the pit buildings and grandstands were demolished in anticipation of building new facilities. Then the money ran out. This rendered the track unusable for any motorsport. It lay abandoned until Red Bull started 70million Euro renovation works in 2008. The track reopened in 2011 as the renamed Red Bull Ring.

And now we’re back.

We are now past 1/3rd distance in the season. In the Constructors Championship the Mercedes looks more or less unbeatable barring double ERS failures. It seems unlikey anyone will find 1-2 second a lap over them in the next few races in order to amount a challenge. I think it is more likely it will be the end of the season before things close up.

However Mercedes ‘no number 1’ policy is giving us a great battle between Lewis and Nico for the World Drivers Championship. With Nico now 22 points clear following Lewis's 2nd DNF of the year, Lewis really has a challenge on now to catch Rosberg. I'm sure he is hoping for a good luck, bad luck switch with his team mate.

Great to see Dan taking his first win, and with The Red Bull Ring being Red Bulls home track who knows we may see him on the top step again.

Somehow I think this ain't over by a long shot.

Here is the debacle that was 1987.
1987 start 1 crash
1987 start 2 crash
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I'm gonna be missing my first qually session in a while, since Germany 2013! Shame cus I've never seen a race at Austria, I was really looking forward to this one!
Since the turbo lag on the Mercedes cars is less than anyone else can currently achieve they will get the power on more quickly; their main problem is keeping the torque at a level where it does not induce wheelspin. So good mechanical grip is needed, the Merc seems to have that as well. It is difficult to envisage anyone being within half a second of them per lap.
Yep, I've been studying this one as well and pondering over whether Perez should be dropped down the grid on Sunday. New "elements" ... hmm ... always thought one needed "new evidence" ... translation errors there maybe?

Anyway, I've watched replays over and over again including an edit in this article on Sky:

... and IMHO Perez did not make what one would call a "significant" move or jink to the left. Bear in mind that we were in the dying minutes of the race. Worn tyres, poor or uneven grip and/or deteriorating brake balance, etc. means a car can "flap" about on braking. Out-braking oneself can also lead to a "tank slapper". However, I could see none of that going on at all, nor was there any tyre smoking to suggest heavier than normal braking. I may be wrong but I just don't think Perez caused the crash by changing his line in any meaningful way nor by braking inappropriately under the circumstances.

That leaves the question of Perez braking earlier than Massa expected. From the video included in the article on Sky it appears that Perez did indeed brake earlier compared to Vettel running just ahead. Normally we see the "concertina effect" closing as a car catches the one ahead - which has already braked for the turn - and then it all opens out as each guy gets back on the gas a few moments apart. In the first "scene" of Sky's video we clearly see the gap open between Vettel and Perez at a time we expect the gap to still be closing. Meanwhile, Massa's closing speed on Perez appears very quick and, as he pulls out of the slipstream, he gets caught out without enough space for a clean pass.

Those factors, I believe, conspired to cause the collision but don't explain whether or not any blame should be apportioned if at all. Us peep's watching the telly were made aware by the commentary of braking issues affecting some cars, especially after the Mercedes misadventures. The crews on pit wall were also well aware of cars having issues. Further, everyone who follows F1 reasonably closely will know too about the "lifting and coasting" that has been going on. If memory serves the news about cars with brake issues was relayed to at least some drivers by their engineers as we heard at least one such radio call played on air. If Massa had received such a message then he failed to act on it and contributed to the accident by not allowing more space for himself and Perez. If he did not then his engineer is at fault for not ensuring that he was aware and should use the knowledge in his attack.

Perez and Lotus ought to win their appeal on this one and it should get called a racing incident. Having said that, a little word in Massa's shell-like wouldn't amiss. A driver has to read and understand the opposition and I don't think he read Perez and the behaviour of the Lotus well enough.

Of course as my good friend Mephistopheles says from time to time, I may just be talking a load of bollocks! Still that was fun.
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Since the turbo lag on the Mercedes cars is less than anyone else can currently achieve they will get the power on more quickly.

But how about adapting your driving style (going earlier on the throttle to spool up the turbo)?
Indeed. Expect flexibility and adaptability to sort the wheat from the chaff. It occurs to me that these European circuits with nearby forested hills and mountains can throw some weather into the mix as well. A shower or too could be fun ... :D

Where's Jos the Boss ?:thinking: We need a weather forecast.
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