A fruitful Canadian Grand Prix has given momentum to Red Bull as it and the rest of the Formula One paddock prepare to return to Austria for the first time since 2003.
It will be a home race for Red Bull, which has revitalized the old A1 Ring into the new Red Bull Ring. Back in November, the first batch of tickets for the June 22 Grand Prix sold out in 48 hours, assuring that a big crowd will be on hand to welcome F1 back.
And that means high expectations for Montreal winner Daniel Ricciardo and four-time defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel, as well as their boss, team principal Christian Horner.
“To have a race at the Red Bull Ring as Red Bull Racing – with that comes a bit of pressure but it will be fantastic to perform in front of effectively a home crowd,” Horner said to Reuters.
“They sold out within a matter of hours a colossal amount of tickets and I think it is going to be a huge spectacle. For us as a team, it will be trying to get the most out of that weekend as we can.”
Red Bull’s triumph in Canada will surely intensify their ongoing battle with Mercedes. But even though the rivalry between the teams has gotten more fierce as the season’s progressed, Merc’s Toto Wolff was impressed at what Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has done regarding the revival of the Austrian Grand Prix.
“It is a fantastic place with so much history and heritage and I think what Mateschitz’s done there has just revived the region,” Wolff also said to Reuters.
“I hope on the Sunday night, we are going to spoil the party, but I think he has a bigger picture than just a racing team.”
Still, this particular race has already been at the center of some controversy between the teams.
Last month, the name of Niki Lauda, three-time F1 champion and current Merc non-executive chairman, was removed from one of the Red Bull Ring’s corners.
Then going into last weekend in Montreal, some German media reports surfaced about Red Bull kicking Mercedes personnel out of their hotel for Austria.
According to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Horner denied those reports and was spotted with a piece of paper that showed Mercedes had actually cancelled their reservations.