The 2014 F1 World Championship returns to Austria for the first time since 2003 this weekend for a race at the Red Bull Ring – the site that used to be home to the much-loved Osterreichring circuit.
The Austrian Grand Prix was first hosted in 1964 on the Zeltweg airfield before the superb Osterreichring track was constructed to host a high-speed event. The fast track saw some of the finest Grand Prix races of all time around its daunting twists and curves and during recent years the track has morphed into the Red Bull Ring.
The facility, set high in the mountainside, is set to become a popular race on the F1 calendar once again.
With Daniel Ricciardo winning the thrilling Canadian Grand Prix for Red Bull two weeks ago, the Milton Keynes-based manufacturer is keen to win again on home soil, but the Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas cars of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will prove hard to beat as they look to hit back following their first race defeat of the 2014 season.
The Mercedes duo encountered problems in Canada that saw Hamilton retire and Rosberg lose the lead in the closing stages, but the German manufacturer has since been working hard to rectify any problems.
Rosberg, who leads the world championship table by 22 points, said: “Canada was all about damage limitation. I managed to finish second but Lewis didn’t finish and dropped points as a result. We know the championship is getting harder at each race and it is very important to score good points again here in Austria.”
Hamilton added: “Canada was not good for me. Not to finish allowed Nico to gain an advantage over me, but the gap between us is less than the total of one race win.
“My aim for this week is to score as many points as possible and keep my momentum going before heading to Silverstone.”
Nico Hulkenberg is placed sixth in the world championship standings for Silverstone-based Sahara Force India.
The 28-year-old German, who has scored points in all seven rounds of the series so far, said this week: “So far this season everything is going quite well. I am very pleased with how the team is performing and how we are in a position to challenge for points. I would ideally like to record another top five finish this weekend.”
Sergio Perez will drive the second Force India, while Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat race the Bicester Toro Rossos.