2024 F1 Austrian Grand Prix preview: Sprint race returns

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

The 2024 Formula 1 World Championship heads to the Red Bull Ring nestled in the Styrian hills this weekend for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The race, which is round 11 on the calendar, is the second of a triple-header and will play host to the third Sprint race of the season, after the Chinese and Miami Grands Prix. The Sprint race is a standalone points race that takes place on Saturday, prior to the qualifying session for Sunday’s main race. It has its own qualifying session that takes place on Friday, after a single practice session.

The Red Bull Ring, where all the action will take place, is notorious for its high curbs and is considered to be one of the toughest tests for suspensions. This applies especially to the curbs at the exits of Turns 1, 6, and 7, which take a toll on the cars due to their height and the speed at which the cars are traveling.

The circuit also stands out for having one of the shortest tracks of the season, at just 2.688 miles. This means a lap takes just over a minute to complete.

Red Bull Ring, home of the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix

There are four long straights, as well as three DRS zones. The latter are located on the main straight, on the climb from Turns 2 to 3, and between Turns 3 and 4. One change this year is the addition of a wide gravel strip at the exit of Turn 9, designed to reduce track limit violations.

The track’s surface is highly abrasive, but with just 10 corners the lateral forces exerted on the tires are relatively low, resulting in very limited wear overall. As a result, Pirelli has nominated its softest compounds: the C3, C4, and C5.

Another factor to consider during the Austrian round is the weather. Due to the high-altitude mountain location of the Red Bull Ring, situated at roughly 2,100 feet, temperatures can be somewhat cool and the weather unpredictable. The current forecast calls for fine conditions with peak temperatures reaching around 85 degrees F.

Going into the weekend, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship with 219 points. McLaren’s Lando Norris is second with 150 points and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is third with 148 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 330 points. Ferrari is second with 270 points and McLaren is third with 237 points. Last year’s winner in Austria was Verstappen, driving for Red Bull.

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