Austria is set to welcome Formula 1 for the first time in over a decade next weekend, meaning that very few of the current drivers on the grid know what to expect from the Red Bull Ring circuit.
However, for the youngsters in Spielberg, there is a certain level of excitement that comes with the new event. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean is particularly relishing the race due to the nature of the circuit.
“Competing in the Grand Prix will be my first experience there, which is a pretty cool way to get to know a track,” Grosjean explained. “It looks like quite a fun lap with some high speed sections and not too much low speed stuff, which hasn’t suited our car so far this year.
“The track has a bit of undulation too, which is always fun as a driver. A downhill approach to a corner means you have to drive it quite a bit differently than if it’s an uphill approach and Spielberg has both of those. It should be fun.”
The race was last held in 2003 before falling off the calendar, and just three drivers in the current field took part in the last grand prix there. Thanks to significant investment from Red Bull, it has been revived, and bucks the trend of F1 looking for new races outside of Europe. You can watch a virtual lap of the circuit here.
Grosjean retired from the last race in Canada due to a rear wing failure, and despite this setback he remains hopeful as Formula 1 returns to Europe for the next six races.
“Even though the end result in Canada might not show it, we’ve actually made good progress with the car and it’s starting to feel like a real racer in how it handles and how all the systems feel,” he said. “This is very important to me as it helps you get the most out of the car through every corner to make the most of every lap.
“Certainly at the start of the season this new generation of car was not the easiest or the most pleasurable thing to drive, but I’m being won round! The feel of the car is an important aspect of the improvements being made so it’s another piece in the jigsaw.”
Grosjean has scored all eight of Lotus’s points so far this season, with teammate Pastor Maldonado currently sitting rock bottom of the drivers’ championship with nothing to his name.
However, the team has certainly made some impressive strides forwards over the past few months, and a return to the podium before the end of the season will be the target at Enstone.