This weekend the Formula 1 world championship stops at the Spielberg Circuit where the Austrian Grand Prix is scheduled.

We are going to the “home” of Red Bull and Max Verstappen, together with his RB20, is certainly the man to beat, even if he does not seem to have the best car at this time. As Perez’s results show, it is the Dutchman who makes the difference by leading the team.

At this moment McLaren the team most in form seems to be McLaren that continues to grow, even if it is not free from blunders as happened in Barcelona. Behind them we find Mercedes, on the rise, and Ferrari, called upon to give a decisive turn to its season to safeguard second place on the constructors’ ladder.

Amongst the second ranked teams, if, on the one hand we have a growing Alpine, on the other hand, Aston Matin seems to have lost its bearings in the latest rounds.

We come to a very fast track that is run in little more than a minute (in 2023 Verstappen took pole with 1:04.391). With its 4,315m it is the third shortest track behind Monte Carlo and Interlagos, in which there are only 10 bends and 2 straights. It is in the Alps at about 660m above sea level. It is a mix of “important” climbs and descents with a difference of 63.5m between the highest point and the lowest point (second only to Spa-Francorchamps), with gradients of up to 12%.

Tyre wear is not the highest and Pirelli brought its softest compounds C3-C4-C5. Traction coming out of the slow bends will be a major factor, just like stability in braking.

The Red Bull Ring sees the Sprint format back on stage with qualifying after the single session of free practice and the Sprint race on Saturday, followed by qualifying which will decide the starting grid of the Grand Prix scheduled for 3.00pm Sunday. A weekend with a lot of points up for grabs.

Once again qualifying will be an important part of the weekend.

Gian Carlo Minardi