ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 28 Email to Friend   Printable Version

Atlas F1   A Lap of the A1-Ring

Fastest race lap: 1:11.814 (J.Villeneuve, Williams, 1997);
Fastest Qualifying Lap: 1:10.304 (J.Villeneuve, Williams, 1997)

The A-1 Ring has one main feature that makes it interesting - the elevation changes. In almost every corner the road is either heading uphill, downhill, or cresting the brow of a hill.

A1-Ring track map
If you want to read the driving instruction while looking at the map, Click here to open the map in a separate window

As the cars cross the line, the first section of straight is uphill, with the drivers hitting almost 300 kmph in 6th gear before braking hard for the Castrol Kurve (2nd gear) on the brow of the hill. From here there is a gentle run downhill and then briefly uphill along the straight (6th gear, 300 kmph) before the 2nd gear Remus Kurve.

Back hard on the gas for the run downhill to the 2nd gear Gosser Kurve which leads into a sweeping right-left combination started in 3rd and exited in 6th. A brief application of the brakes for the Niki Lauda Kurve.

FlashbackA quick stab on the gas gets the cars into 4th gear before slowing for Power Horse Kurve. Again the cars run flat out uphill hitting almost 300 kmph before cresting the hill and turning into the 4th gear, downhill Jochen Rindt Kurve.

Back on the gas for a quick spurt before the 3rd gear A-1 Kurve and hard on the power to cross the line.

A Lap of the A1-Ring with Alex Wurz:

"The lap of the A1 Ring starts with the uphill section leading into Castrol Kurve. Although quite a long straight, the hill serves to limit the speed to just over 300 km/h, before braking for the first corner which is taken in 2nd gear at around 115 km/h. Traction out of this corner is important as it leads on to the long straight down to the tight Remus Kurve.

"At the end of this straight I will be doing about 310 km/h before braking very hard down to the first gear - you have to use the kerbs to get round this corner well - but still maintain stability on to the short straight that follows. Although the straight is quite short, it is slightly downhill and so I'll reach about 305 km/h before braking for turn 3. This turn is taken in 2nd gear at around 90 km/h and is quite a long corner.

"A short 5th gear straight where I reach about 270 km/h leads into the two fast and very challenging left-hand corners - both of which are taken in 4th gear - the first, the Niki Lauda Kurve, at 145 km/h, and the second, the Power Horse Kurve, at 170 km/h.

"A right-hand kink leads up the hill again and the cars will reach just under 300 km/h before entering the penultimate corner, Jochen Rindt Kurve, which is taken at around 190 km/h in 4th gear. The final corner, the A1 Kurve, is a 3rd gear corner taken at 145km/h."

Facts and Stats about Austria

  • This will be the 23rd WC Austrian Grand Prix - not bad for a country that has only spawned 12 Grand Prix drivers, even though two of those were World Champions who contributed to a total of 41 Grand Prix wins.

  • The Austrian Grand Prix has been to three differently-named circuits - which are actually covered by a mere three kilometers. The first Grand Prix took place at the bumpy 3.2km Zeltweg airfield in 1964 - only early versions of Monaco were shorter - but it was not a success and it was another six years before Grand Prix racing returned to Austria.

  • By this stage, the German-born Austrian Jochen Rindt was becoming successful in Formula One, so a circuit was constructed near Zeltweg specifically to host an Austrian Grand Prix. It was called the Osterreichring, literally, the Austrian circuit, and had several superb features, in particular the very fast downhill righthander, Boschkurve. However, the first corner, Hellalicht, had to be slowed with a chicane after a serious accident which eventually cost the life of American Mark Donohue in 1975.

  • That same year, Austrian weather problems were highlighted when the Grand Prix had to be stopped after 29 laps - and winner Vittorio Brambilla promptly crashed - after the chequered flag! It was the third shortest World Championship round in history and one of four races where half points only were awarded. A year later, John Watson scored Penske's only Grand Prix win, and the year after that, Alan Jones did the same for Shadow. In 1978, the Grand Prix was once again stopped for rain.

  • Rindt, of course, was Austria's first World champion, while Niki Lauda would be the second, winning three titles, making a total of four, and placing Austria fourth in the all-time national rankings. Gerhard Berger, Lauda and Rindt have won those 41 Grands Prix; only drivers from Britain, Brazil and now Germany have won more. Gerhard, incidentally, has the dubious honour of being the driver to have won the most World Championship points without winning a title.

  • Austria was also the venue for the third closest finish of all time. On lap 31 of the 1982 Grand Prix, Keke Rosberg was in fourth place, behind Alain Prost, Elio de Angelis and just behind Nelson Piquet. But Piquet retired on that lap, promoting Rosberg to third, 10s behind de Angelis. Keke was on top form, his Williams handling better as he gained on the Italian's Lotus.

    On lap 49, he found himself in second place when Prost retired and with three laps to go, he was only 2.5s behind de Angelis. With two laps to go, it was down to 1.6s and with a lap to go, he was right on de Angelis's gearbox. But, in spite of the Lotus engine briefly misfiring, Keke could not overtake. On the run-in to the flag, he nipped out of de Angelis's slipstream, but the Italian took the chequered flag by just 0.050s. The rest were lapped.

  • The 1984 event was the 400th round of the World Championship and it was also the first race where all the cars were turbo-powered. It was stopped because of a mis-start but Lauda went on to score Austria's only home win. The next year, the Grand Prix was stopped because of a start-line accident while in 1986 Alain Prost beat Michele Alboreto by more than a lap, the French driver's third win in the country. No one has won more.

  • It took three attempts to get the 1987 Austrian Grand Prix started and the FIA was so unimpressed that the race lost its place on the calendar, in spite of reconstructed pits and the emergence of another Austrian star, Gerhard Berger.

  • Fast forward ten years and Grand Prix racing is back in Austria again, this time at a circuit called the A1-Ring at a place called Spielberg. In fact it is no more than a modified version of the Osterreichring financed by mobile phone company A1 and supported by the nearby town of Spielberg, rather than Zeltweg.

  • Looking back over history, McLaren is the most successful of the current teams in Austria, having gained four wins, but both Ferrari and Williams have won three times. Each have also had a one-two to its credit. Michael Schumacher has never won in Austria but, of the current drivers, Eddie Irvine (1999), Mika Hakkinen (1998) and Jacques Villeneuve (1997) have done so.

  • Milestones reached by drivers this weekend include an important one for David Coulthard (second in Austria in 1997, 1998 and 1999), who will be taking part in his 100th Grand Prix. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, two of this year's Formula One debutants will be reaching their tenth Grand Prix.

    Related Links

    The official Austrian GP web site

    The Austrian GP FORIX page

    The A1-Ring FORIX page

      Related Articles

    The 1999 Atlas F1 Austrian GP Review Issue

    The 1998 Atlas F1 Austrian GP Review Issue

    The 1997 Atlas F1 Austrian GP Review Issue

  • Atlas F1© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
    Send comments to: Terms & Conditions

     Back to Atlas F1 Front Page   Tell a Friend about this Article