Austrian GP preview: Racing Point wary of challenging 'Ring

<i> Image: Supplied </i>
<i> Image: Supplied </i>

SportPesa's Racing Point Formula 1 team heads to the challenging Red Bull ring for the Austrian grand prix. 

The team had a difficult outing at the Paul Ricard circuit at the French grand prix, Sergio Perez finished in P12 after he was penalised for gaining an advantage when reentering the track, while Lance Stroll managed P13. 

Looking toward the race in Austria, both drivers said the track is familiar yet challenging. This is what Stroll and Perez had to say...

'All of the corners are a challenge'

Lance: "Racing in Austria is good fun. The lap is fast and compact, and it’s very enjoyable to drive. It’s a track where I raced a lot during the junior categories and it’s always feels very familiar to me when we go back there."

"When you look at a circuit map, it appears to be a short and simple lap, but the reality is quite different. All of the corners are a challenge and there are some big stops where you have to be really precise and confident on the brakes. If you go in a bit deep and miss the apex, it will really hurt your lap time. So the biggest challenge is getting together the perfect lap, even though there are only ten corners."

"As a venue it’s got to be one of the most beautiful places we visit. It’s really in the middle of the countryside and quite isolated. The track follows the flow of the hills and there’s some nice elevation changes – such as the approaches to turns one and two."

Sergio: "Going to Austria feels like racing in nature. You’re driving an F1 car through the hills and it’s such a beautiful place. I enjoy the Austrian food as well: it’s some of the best of the year. 

"It’s a fun little track because it’s quite short with only a few corners and the grid is always really tight. Every tenth really does make a big difference to your qualifying position. 

"I’ve had some good results in Austria over the years, but my favourite memory is the 2014 race where I did a very long first stint and lead the race for quite a few laps. That was the first year we returned to Austria and it was a really busy weekend with so many fans. 

"Even though it’s a short lap, there are some interesting corners. The best section for me is turns nine and ten – the last part of the lap – because they are really quick and you have to be committed. The track drops away too so it’s easy to run wide. When you hit the apex just right, it feels very satisfying."

Otmar Szafnauer, team principal, says: "Austria is one of those tracks where you have to trade off top speed with downforce. The are some big straights, especially the stretch from turn one towards two, but most of the corners have a long duration which pushes us more towards favouring a higher downforce set-up." 

"Other things to look out for in Austria include the big demands on the brakes and we’ve often seen cars running out of brakes in the closing laps of the race. It’s also a track where mistakes are punished with some big kerbs that can do quite a bit of damage. In that sense it’s quite a challenging lap for the drivers despite there only being ten corners."

"It’s a home event for BWT – Europe’s leading water technology company – and fittingly we celebrate our 50th race together in Austria."

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