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Toro Rosso preview Austrian Grand Prix

Jean Eric Vergne
Jean Eric Vergne

The Austrian Grand Prix will be something of a celebration for our owners and the clue is there in the name of the circuit, the Red Bull Ring;

Apart from the Formula One action, Red Bull is pulling out all the stops to keep the crowds entertained, calling up the crazy Freestyle Moto-X riders, the Red Bull Sky Dive Team, as well as Hannes Arch, the Red Bull Air Race Pilot to entertain the crowds.

Austria has played a large part in the history of Formula One and that will be evident on Sunday when all nine living ex Formula 1 drivers from Austria will take to the track in various Formula One cars covering four decades of competition.

The list of drivers naturally includes Helmut Marko so it will be interesting to see if his protégées, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat decide to give him some last minute driving tips! Austrian interest in grand prix racing really dates back to the days of Jochen Rindt, the only driver to be awarded the world championship title posthumously, in 1970, and the driver who spurred the interest of young Austrians.

The Red Bull Ring, then known as the Österreichring, last hosted a grand prix in 2003 and the track layout itself has not changed since then, although all the facilities have been significantly upgraded. Famous for its climbs and drops, at 4.326 kilometres in length, with only nine corners, it’s going to be a very quick lap, under 70 seconds.

Heavy downhill braking and some really high speed corners will make this a great challenge for the drivers, which should produce some spectacular racing for the fans. And in case you’re in any doubt where you are, standing proud in the beautiful Styrian alpine scenery is a striking giant iron Red Bull statue.

Jean Eric Vergne: “I have never raced at this track before, but I did drive it last year in an F1 One show car run for Red Bull at a Renault World Series event. I remember that the race was very exciting. The track is short, but really nice and I am sure it will make for a very interesting race this weekend. It will be an important event for us as part of the Red Bull family and so I hope that we will perform well. We have to consider it as a sort of home race for Toro Rosso.”

Daniil Kvyat: “This is one of my favourite circuits. I raced here in Formula Renault Alps and had two wins there in 2012. I had a great weekend and really loved the track. Last year I went back to the Red Bull Ring with Formula 3 this time and again I had great memories taking three poles out of three, followed by three second places in the races. It’s my kind of track, with heavy braking points and it is quite a technical track. It has some fast and medium speed corners which I really enjoy. Hopefully the STR9 will go well there. The scenery is beautiful, typical Austrian nature! It’s going to be a big weekend for the Red Bull family, but I will be concentrating on the usual jobs of getting everything sorted and finding the right set-up from First Free Practice, having the right approach and seeing how it goes. You need to find a good balance there as there are some reasonably long straights. But it’s mainly about high speed corners which is where you find most of the lap time.”