|Location:||Spielberg, Styria, Austria|
|Record time:||1'08.337 min. 227.894 km/h.|
|Record driver:||Michael Schumacher|
The Österreichring is an Austrian race circuit which hosted the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix 18 consecutive years, from 1970 through 1987. After being rebuilt and renamed A1-Ring, it again hosted races from 1997 through 2003.
The track is located in Spielberg, Styria. The old Österreichring was more often referred to as being located at Zeltweg, which is bigger and better known. However, the circuit was never relocated, only modified.
The old Österreichring
The track was known for having many fast corners, as well as noticeable changes in elevation during the course of a lap. Many considered the Österreichring to be dangerous, especially the "Boschkurve", a 180-degree right-hand corner with almost no run-off area. Tragically, American Mark Donohue died at the "Hella-Licht" corner in 1975.
Formula One history
The new A1-Ring
Mainly due to safety concerns, the track was abandoned by Formula One for nearly a decade. The circuit was totally rebuilt (at the same site) in 1995 and 1996 and renamed A1-Ring (after a sponsor, the cellphone provider A1). The Austrian Grand Prix was held on it from 1997 to 2003. The A1-Ring now had a length of 4.326 km (2.684 mi). It hosted the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix from 1997 onward. The circuit had three long straights, as well as a twisty infield section, making car setup a compromise.
Formula One history
|Season||Date||Winning Driver||Winning Team||Report|
|2003||May 18||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|2002||May 12||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||Report|
|2001||May 13||David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||Report|
|2000||July 16||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||Report|
|1999||July 25||Eddie Irvine||Ferrari||Report|
|1998||July 26||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||Report|
|1997||September 21||Jacques Villeneuve||Williams-Renault||Report|
Uncertain status and future
The grandstands and pit buildings were demolished in 2004, rendering the track unusable for any motorsport category. In later 2004 and early 2005, there were intense discussions whether the owner, Red Bull, would find another use for the site or even bring back motor sports. However, as of January 2005, this seems more unlikely than ever, as Dietrich Mateschitz publicly announced that he had no intention to waste money on a deficitary circuit. This failure of the project, which was of considerable importance for the surrounding municipalities, may even have serious political repercussions, as Styrian governor Waltraud Klasnic had strongly supported the project.