It’s been a long wait, but Formula 1 is finally back. First up in 2020, we’re heading to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Over three months have been and gone since winter testing, and much has happened in that time. Sebastian Vettel agreed to leave Ferrari at the end of the year, Carlos Sainz has agreed to replace him, and the calendar has had a huge shakeup.
Such a shakeup has moved the Red Bull Ring to the forefront of the season. It will play host to the first two races, with the first maintaining the usual title of the Austria Grand Prix.
This would have been music to the ears many. Pre-season testing suggested that Mercedes could well dominate again, but this will most likely not be the case in Austria.
The German team has struggled there in recent years, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen dominating. Whether that will be the case again this year is anybody’s guess, but either way, we should be in for a cracker
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the season opener…
When is the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix?
The start times for the Austrian Grand Prix are as follows:
Practice 1: Friday July 3rd, 1100 local time (1000 BST)
Practice 2: Friday July 3rd, 1500 local time (1400 BST)
Practice 3: Saturday July 4th, 1200 local time (1100 BST)
Qualifying: Saturday July 4th, 1500 local time (1400 BST)
Race: Sunday July 5th, 1510 local time (1410 BST)
Where does the Austrian Grand Prix take place?
The name Red Bull Ring may be relatively new to the Formula 1 calendar but the A1-Ring is not, arguably one of the most iconic tracks in the sport’s history.
Today’s circuit is not what it used to be, though. Set upon by track designer Hermann Tilke in the 1990s, some would argue that the Austrian venue was neutered, losing many of the characteristics that gave it that iconic status.
The end result was a track comprising just nine corners, seven to the right and two to the left, and dominated by its three straights making it a power-hungry venue. Simply put it is a low-downforce, engine-dependent track.
Red Bull took ownership in the early 2000s and made numerous changes to the scenery, most notably the pit buildings and grandstands. With the venue revived and modernised, Formula 1 returned in 2014.
Sunday’s race will be run over 71 laps of the 4.326km circuit.
Where can I watch the Austrian Grand Prix on TV?
Austrian Grand Prix weekend – including qualifying and the race proper – will be screened live in the UK by pay-TV broadcaster Sky Sports on its dedicated Sky Sports F1 channel. You can also access a live stream of the coverage via Now TV. Highlights will be aired by free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4.
Subscribers to F1’s own app can hear radio commentary on the race proper from the BBC and access live data around each session.
PlanetF1 will carry live timing and expert commentary on every session of the race weekend along with all the latest news from the track.
The Austrian Grand Prix will be shown live on TV by the following outlets in other key markets:
United States: ESPN (English), Univision (Spanish)
Canada: RDS (French), TSN (English)
Australia: Fox Sports and Foxtel 4k (no ad breaks)
France: Canal + (pay TV) and TF1 (free-to-air)
Italy: Sky Sport F1
Germany: RTL and Sky Deutschland
Spain: Movistar F1
What is the weather forecast for the Austrian Grand Prix?
Friday July 3: 26C, sunny.
Saturday July 4: 25C, cloudy.
Sunday July 5: 27C, cloudy.
Which drivers have won the Austrian Grand Prix?
French master Alain Prost is the only driver to have won the Austrian Grand Prix on three occasions – triumphing in 1983, 1985 and 1986. A host of drivers have been successful on two occasions – including recent world champion Nico Rosberg.
After taking victory from Charles Leclerc in the final stages of last year’s race, Max Verstappen is also on two wins. He may not have the support of his Orange Army this time, but with the chance to statistically become the joint-most successful driver ever at the track, he’ll be as motivated as ever.
Since the race returned to the F1 calendar in 2014, the winners are as follows:
2019: Max Verstappen (The Netherlands, Red Bull)
2018: Max Verstappen (The Netherlands, Red Bull)
2017: Valtteri Bottas (Finland, Mercedes)
2016: Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain, Mercedes)
2015: Nico Rosberg (Finland, Mercedes)
2014: Nico Rosberg (Finland, Mercedes)
Track Lap Record: 1:08.337 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari, 2003)
Austrian Grand Prix grid positions
Valtteri Bottas took the first pole position of the season in what looked to be a front row lock-out for Mercedes, at least until Red Bull protested.
Lewis Hamilton was handed a three-place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags in Q3 some 30 minutes before the start of the race, dropping him from second to fifth.
Max Verstappen moved up to second with Lando Norris third and Alex Albon P4 while Ferrari’s woes were compounded by a shocking performance on Saturday afternoon.
Full grid positions for the Austrian Grand Prix are as follows:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:02.939
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.538s
3 Lando Norris McLaren 0.687s
4 Alex Albon Red Bull 0.929s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.012s
6 Sergio Perez Racing Point 0.929s
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.984s
8 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.032s
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1.090s
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.300s
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:04.206
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:04.305
13 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 1:04.431
14 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:04.643
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:04.691
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:05.164
17 George Russell Williams 1:05.167
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1:05.175
19 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1:05.224
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:05.757
What are the odds for the Austrian Grand Prix?
With two straight wins to his name, Verstappen is the joint-favourite with Lewis Hamilton to win the race. After narrowly losing out on victory last time, Leclerc is 5/1 to banish his demons.
6/5 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
6/4 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
4/1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
50/1 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
66/1 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
(Prices correct at 1600 BST on Saturday July 4)
Tyre compounds for the Austrian Grand Prix
Previously, teams would choose how many of each allocated tyre they would take to a race, but that is no longer the case. Each driver will get two sets of hard, three of mediums, and eight softs at every race weekend.
For the season opener, the compounds provided by Pirelli will be the C2, C3 and C4.
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) June 11, 2020
What is F1’s rule on bonus points?
F1 made the decision to award a bonus point in every race of the 2019 season if certain criteria are met.
The bonus point will be awarded to the driver who completes the fastest lap in the race, as long as that driver also finishes in the top 10. The driver’s team will also score a bonus point in the constructors’ standings in that case.
This means there are up to 21 extra points available for the 2019 championship.