2003 may not be a year that many remember with a particular fondness, but it does hold a great deal of relevance this weekend in Austria.
It was the year that the last race in Spielberg was held at the old A1-Ring, and it was also the year that Williams last locked out the front row in qualifying in Formula 1.
Eleven years later, all of that has changed. We’re back in Austria at the revamped and renamed Red Bull Ring, and Williams is back on top. Despite Mercedes dominating proceedings so far this season, both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton came unstuck during Q3 on Saturday, allowing Felipe Massa to secure pole position for the first time in five years. Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas will join him on the front row of the grid, with Rosberg in third place and Hamilton down in ninth.
FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE
- Sergio Perez has carried over a five place grid penalty for causing the accident at the end of the Canadian Grand Prix with Felipe Massa.
- Marussia’s Max Chilton received a three place grid penalty for crashing into teammate Jules Bianchi in Montreal two weeks ago.
- The stewards were busy deleting times during qualifying for drivers running wide at turn eight. In total, fourteen times were deleted.
- Race director Charlie Whiting has written to the drivers explicitly warning them against running wide at turn eight. The letter reads: “Any driver leaving the track on the exit of turn eight who appears to have gained a clear and lasting advantage by doing so, will be reported to the stewards. We would not, for example, expect a driver who left the track on the exit of turn eight to attempt to pass a driver in front of him into turn one.”
- The stewards have also reminded the teams about the fuel flow limit rule, having done the same ahead of the Canadian GP.
- 0700 ET – Romain Grosjean will start from the pit lane after the team broke parc ferme rules to change his gearbox and his rear aerodynamic setting.
2014 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID
1. Felipe Massa Williams
2. Valtteri Bottas Williams
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
8. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
11. Jenson Button McLaren
12. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
13. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
15. Sergio Perez Force India
16. Adrian Sutil Sauber
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia
19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
21. Max Chilton Marussia
Pit Lane: Romain Grosjean Lotus
The Austrian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET. For live streaming options, click here.
Yamaha Tech3 has confirmed that rising German talent Jonas Folger will make his MotoGP debut with the team in 2017, stepping up from Moto2.
Folger, 22, finished sixth in last year’s Moto2 riders’ championship, and already has one pole position and two podiums to his name after four races in 2016.
The Kalex rider will make the jump up to MotoGP for 2017, joining the Yamaha satellite team on a one-year deal with an option for a second.
“I am super excited about the news and I still can’t believe this is happening,” Folger said.
“I have been racing for years in the motorcycling world championship and to make the move up to the premier class is a dream come true plus I’d like to thank all my sponsors that have stuck by me all these years.
“Furthermore, it’s an honor to make this step with Yamaha, Hervé Poncharal and Tech3 team who have such a long and deep history in the paddock. I will try my absolute best to repay the faith the team has put in me, and I’m really looking forward to the new adventure.
“However, I will remain completely focused for the rest of the year in the intermediate class but I can’t wait for Valencia where I will sample the Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time.”
Folger will get his first taste of the Tech3-run Yamaha bike at the traditional end of season MotoGP test in Spain this November.
Three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called on his fans to trust and respect the Mercedes team amid unfounded allegations of sabotage in the past two races.
Hamilton suffered an issue on his power unit in qualifying for both the Chinese and Russian Grands Prix, helping teammate Nico Rosberg on his way to a streak of four successive victories to start the season.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff responded to claims on social media that the team was deliberately hindering Hamilton’s efforts by calling the accusers “lunatics”, before Mercedes itself wrote an open letter to its fans in response to the claims.
Hamilton has now issued a message of his own via his Facebook page on Friday:
I want you to know how grateful I am for all of your support. I’d like to ask that you please trust in my team, as I do. This is my family. These guys have been the greatest, hardest working people for me, and that is why I am now 3x World Champion.
Please don’t put any more thought into my team doing anything unjust towards me, and understand that it would be in no ones best interest for that to be the case. We’ve had the best 3 years together, and whilst it’s not going to plan right now, all will unfold in its own time.
I trust these guys 1000% and my mechanics are incredible, the best in the business. I respect them so please do the same. They are the guys that are going to make winning this championship possible.
Thank you once again.
Hamilton will bid to end Rosberg’s winning streak and get back into the title hunt when F1 arrives in Europe next weekend for the Spanish Grand Prix.
2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button questioned Red Bull’s decision to drop Daniil Kvyat for Max Verstappen as of the Spanish Grand Prix, saying the team has “short memories”.
Red Bull announced on Thursday that Kvyat would be returning to Toro Rosso, its B-team, as of the next race in Barcelona, with Verstappen moving in the opposite direction.
The decision sparked mixed reactions on social media, with many pointing out that Kvyat had been on the podium just three weeks ago in China.
Button made the exact same point in a couple of tweets sent from his Twitter account on Thursday.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials have confirmed Friday that the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will have a sellout crowd, with confirmation all reserved seats have been sold.
“Every Indianapolis 500 is special, but the buzz surrounding the 100th Running has been building for nearly a year, ever since the checkered flag fell on the 99th,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “Our fans are the best in sports and their incredible support of this year’s race will make it a truly historic day for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”
Further information is linked here, via the IMS website.