Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Red Bull Ring

The Red Bull Ring, nee A-1 Ring, nee Osterreich Ring, nee Zeltweg

What a neat little course!  Only 8 turns in 2.6 miles, but with lots of elevation change and off-camber bends.  (Some teams count 9 turns because of a throttle-lift between turns 3 and 4.)  David Hobbs says it is a medium-speed circuit, with a lap speed of around 140 m.p.h.  But it looks high-speed to me.  There was some chatter about the Red Bull Ring being a "point and squirt" circuit, hard on rear tires (which it is), but the complex from turns 3 to 8 is anything but.

I don't remember being impressed with this course when it was the A-1 Ring.  And I wasn't aware that it went all the way back to the Osterreichring (a fine course) until the NBCSN broadcast team mentioned it in practice on Friday.

Compare this track map to the 12-14 turn, 3.5 mile, flat but pretzel-twisted, courses that have become part of the Formula 1 schedule in the past decade or so.  The lovely mountains and history make for a great venue.  Tradition is a no-cost option.  But I'd have been impressed with the Red Bull Ring even if it was a new.  Which it is, in a way, due to configuration changes from the A-1 Ring.  This is what Formula 1 is all about.  Here's an on-board video lap in a slower Formula BMW car:

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