Formula 1 returns to Austria this weekend after eleven years away. The old A1-Ring last hosted a race in 2003 before the money dried up and it eventually shut, but the circuit has since been revamped by Red Bull and renamed the ‘Red Bull Ring’.
Shameless plugging aside, it’s a fabulous facility that has immediately been a hit with everyone in the paddock. However, the shiny newness does not overawe the old-style circuit, which is unquestionably one of the most picturesque on the calendar.
Here’s the first paddock notebook from Austria on media day.
NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK
- First up, we have our complete preview of the Austrian Grand Prix, which is the first since 2003. In with the old is fine in our book, that’s for sure.
- Felipe Massa did not mince his words when talking about the Sergio Perez incident. He even suggested that Checo should receive a one race ban to teach him a lesson.
- Plans to condense the race weekend from four days into three have been rejected, but testing will be revamped to keep it Euro-centric.
- Lewis Hamilton was in high spirits, saying that he “couldn’t be better” for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
- The MotorSportsTalk team has made its predictions for the race; four writers picking three winners – could be an open thing.
- Just four of the current racers in F1 have done so before at the Austrian Grand Prix, but could the advantage actually lie with the youngsters who raced here a little more recently?
THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK
Of course, Thursday gives us very little to go on besides what we hear from the drivers in the media sessions. It is interesting to not only listen to what they say, but also note how they say it. Felipe Massa is clearly still very upset about the incident with Sergio Perez in Canada, whilst the Mexican driver remains adamant that he did little wrong.
Heading to a new circuit for the first time is always exciting for the paddock, and Red Bull has rolled out the red carpet. The old, run down A1-Ring is nothing but a distant memory, and has since been replaced by a shiny new facility. The media centre itself is a work of art, giving a stunning view of the circuit. Few other tracks can boast such a beautiful setting.
Lewis Hamilton was in a good mood during his media session, taking the opportunity to snaffle a sweet before proceedings began. The Briton is hoping to bounce back from his Canada DNF to score his fifth win of the season this weekend, and cut the gap to teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the drivers’ championship.
For Red Bull, this marks its first ever home race since debuting back in 2005. Morale is high following Daniel Ricciardo’s shock win in Montreal, but the team will be under no illusions that Mercedes is still the team to beat at the moment.
As for the picture? That’s the actual ‘Red Bull Ring’ at the Red Bull Ring. Get it? A Red Bull in a ring? They’re very clever, those energy drink makers.
All in all, it promises to be another fascinating grand prix weekend, so be sure to keep up to date with the latest breaking news and views from the paddock on MotorSportsTalk.