For the first time ever in Formula 1, two races are taking place on the same track in the same season and that’s not the only unusual feature, as the second one is just one week after the first.
From the 33rd Austrian Grand Prix, we now have the first Styrian Grand Prix, with the same circuit and its ten corners in a short 4.318 kilometres. That means something new for the engineers, who can effectively rely on a whole mass of data from the previous weekend.
Named after the region. For the first time, a round of the Formula 1 World Championship is named after a region, although non-championship races have been named in this way, such as the Grand Prix de la Bourgogne, held first in 1946 and the Natal Grand Prix named after the South African region, which was run a couple of times as a Formula 1 race in the Sixties. Styria covers an area of 16,400 square kilometres and is home to 1,246,000 inhabitants, with Graz as its capital city.
Three wins. From 1970 to 1987, the current venue was much longer and was called the Ӧsterreichring. Ferrari has won here three times, with Eddie Irvine in 1999 and with Michael Schumacher in 2002 and 2003.
Hashtags. Once again this weekend, the SF1000s will carry messages in support of former Formula 1 racing driver and Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi #ForzaAlex, as well as #WeRaceAsOne.
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: “There’s hardly been time to pause for breath after a really busy race weekend and now we’re back on track, the same track in fact as last Sunday. It’s yet another unusual factor in this 2020 season, which began last week and is due to end not long before the end of the year.
“First of all, I want to congratulate the FIA, Formula 1 and the Spielberg circuit race promoter on their efforts in making the event happen. Formula 1 was the first global sport to get going again after the halt caused by the pandemic, so everyone who made a contribution should be given credit for this, as it was no easy task.
“The race team has stayed in Spielberg in between the first two races and back in Maranello, the factory is in full swing to try and come up with answers to the questions raised in the first Grand Prix. We knew we would have a tough start to the season and it was even more so than we had expected.
“That’s why we’re working flat out to try and already bring some of the updates due for Hungary to this next race. It’s a race against time but we’re doing our utmost.
“The fact we are racing again at the same track is a further reason to bring the updates here, so that we can confirm if they work and that our development direction is the right one.
“Our aim in the Styrian Grand Prix is to get all the potential out of our package and make the most of any opportunity to bring home as many points as possible.”
Sebastian Vettel: “In such a strange season, starting in the middle of summer, we now face another unusual factor, having two races at the same track in the same year and only one week apart.
“For me, that’s going to mean a chance to do better than last Sunday. We will have a lot more car data to work with and I think what we learned at the first race will be useful.
“As I have always maintained, this is one of my favourite tracks of the year because, even though it’s very short, it has a lot of nice corners and the Austrian mountain setting is fantastic.”
Charles Leclerc: “It’s certainly strange having two races in a row at the same track. It will be an unusual experience. Usually you arrive at the track with the previous year’s data and spend Friday understanding how your car is behaving.
“This time however, unless it’s wet, we will already have a lot of useful information as to how our car will behave.
“Last Sunday’s race here at Spielberg was very special and great fun. We had a bit of luck which helped us get on the podium and it won’t be easy to do the same this time. But we will certainly try our hardest to make it happen.”
Last week in the team
Last week Scuderia Ferrari took part in the first race of the season, with Charles Leclerc finishing second and Sebastian Vettel was tenth after fighting his way back from a spin when he tried to pass Carlos Sainz.
Most of the team stayed in Spielberg to prepare for the Styrian Grand Prix while in Maranello they were able to work on all the data gathered from the first race.
Monday’s usual debrief took place linking the track with the remote garage, in the same way that work is carried out every Thursday to Sunday during a Grand Prix.
This time however it was a bit different as it’s the first time two races take place on the same track a week apart. Analysing the race data is even more important therefore as it will be vital to take to the track on Friday with as much information as possible on the handling of the car.
The SF1000 did not live up to expectations in the first race and so the factory has been working flat out to try and close the gap to the competition.
GP contested 992
Seasons in F1 71
Debut Monaco 1950 (Alberto Ascari 2nd; Raymond Sommer 4th; Luigi Villoresi ret.)
Wins 238 (33.99%)
Pole positions 228 (22.98%)
Fastest laps 254 (25.60%)
Podiums 771 (77.72%)
Ferrari Stats @Spielberg
GP contested 14
Debut 1997 (Michael Schumacher 6th; Eddie Irvine ret.)
Wins 3 (21.43%)
Pole positions 4 (28.57%)
Fastest laps 3 (21,43%)
Podiums 15 (107,14%)
Styrian Grand Prix Facts & Figures
0 – The number of motor racing Styrian Grands Prix to date. This is first therefore and not just for Formula 1. The only Styrian Grand Prix worth noting is an Under 23 cycle race.
2 – The number of Formula 1 Grands Prix, both non-championship events, named after a region, prior to this weekend. The first was the Grand Prix de Bourgogne in 1946, won by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Wimille in an Alfa Romeo. The second was the Natal Grand Prix held in the eponymous region of South Africa in 1961 and ’62. Both were won by Lotus, with Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor respectively. Scuderia Ferrari did not take part in any of these races.
8 – The number of circuits, including Spielberg to have held F1 races with different names. Baku was home to the European and Azerbaijan GPs, Brands Hatch had Europe and the British, Dijon the French and Swiss, Imola, Italy in 1980 and all the others known as San Marino, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain and Europe and Indianapolis hosted the 500 Miles and the United States Grand Prix. One track has run three differently named events and that is the Nurburgring with Europe, Germany and Luxembourg.
42 – Grands Prix that have been run at least once. Those that have only held one, apart from Styria, are Pescara (1957), Morocco (1958) and Dallas (1984).
63 – Or more specifically 62.939, the number of seconds required to lap Spielberg. It’s the fourth shortest lap time in the history of Formula 1, after Dijon in 1974, under a minute (58.79 courtesy of Niki Lauda in a Ferrari), the Indianapolis Oval which was part of the championship from 1950 to 1960 lapped in 1.01.4 in 1960 and Kyalami, which Nigel Mansell lapped in 1.02.366 in 1985, the last time a Formula 1 race was run on a Saturday.
This week in our history
7/7 In 2002, Scuderia Ferrari scored its 56th one-two finish at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Michael Schumacher leading home Rubens Barrichello. It was only mid-season but the German was totally dominating the championship, to the point that he clinched the title at the following round, the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.
8/7 In 1990, Alain Prost won the French Grand Prix but only after overtaking Ivan Capelli’s March with a few laps to go, following an incredible drive from the Italian. The Frenchman’s win was the 100th for Scuderia Ferrari.
9/7 In 1932 the Prancing Horse emblem first appeared on Scuderia Ferrari’s Alfa Romeos. It happened at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours with the Italian team running two 8C 2300 MMs: the 38 car for Antonio Brivio and Eugenio Siena and the 40 for Guido d’Ippolito and Piero Taruffi. The emblem had been passed on to Enzo Ferrari by the mother of war hero Francesco Baracca and it brought him good luck as the cars finished first and second.
10/7 The 2011 season was not an easy one for the Scuderia, with Fernando Alonso only managing one win in the Ferrari 150° Italia at Silverstone. It was the Spaniard’s sixth win for the Prancing Horse.
11/7 In 2004, Michael Schumacher won the British Grand Prix at the wheel of an F2004. It was his tenth win from 11 starts that season. Second was Kimi Raikkonen in a McLaren and third was the other Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello. At the Belgian race, Schumacher secured his seventh world title, the fifth with Ferrari.
12/7 In 1998, Michael Schumacher took his first Ferrari win at Silverstone. He managed despite getting a stop&go penalty for overtaking under yellow flags.