Austria forced to scrap reverse layout race plans

Date published: June 6 2021

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Austrian Grand Prix

Executives at the Red Bull Ring have been forced to shelve plans to run on a reverse layout for the Austrian Grand Prix at the beginning of July.

A double-header of a Styrian Grand Prix and Austrian Grand Prix will take place in Spielberg as it did in 2020, with situations surrounding Covid-19 varying country to country – which could still affect the calendar.

Races in Turkey and Singapore were recently cancelled, and the FIA have been looking at double-headers as they aim to fill a full calendar for the season ahead.

With two races at the Red Bull Ring to come, organisers had hoped to run the second race by reversing the layout to provide variety for the event, rather than hosting two of the same event.

Red Bull own the circuit and Helmut Marko admitted that the logistics of making such a layout change would not be feasible at this time.

A significant estimated cost of €5-8million along with a short four-day turnaround between races would prove to be too much of a barrier to making the adjustments necessary for a reverse-layout race.

Red Bull Ring Austria

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“Together with the FIA, we drew up a plan to drive against the direction of the race,” Marko said, via Auto Motor und Sport.

“There were two tricky spots. In Turn 3 you brake over a crest into nothing. And in the start corner, a car could have flown into the spectators without special protection. The cars would have been there going downhill at high speed towards the corner.”

Another idea to vary the second weekend was to host sprint qualifying in Austria, but Silverstone and the British Grand Prix have already paid a significant fee to host the first iteration of a sprint race trial in Formula 1.

What will be done, however, is Pirelli will be bringing two separate tyre allocations to Austria to try and mix up strategies between races. For the Styrian Grand Prix first up, the C2, C3 and C4 tyres will be brought to Spielberg.

For the Austrian Grand Prix a week later, though, the three tyre compounds will be Pirelli’s softest – the C3, C4 and C5.

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