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Österreichring
Österreichring-A1Ring.svg
Location Spielberg, Styria, Austria
Time zone GMT +1
Major events DTM, F1
A1-Ring (1997-2003)
Length 4.326 km (2.688 mi)
Turns 10
Lap record 1:08.337, 227.894 km/h (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2003)
Österrichring (with Hella Licht chicane) (1977-1995)
Length 5.941 km (3.692 mi)
Turns 18
Lap record 1:23.357 (Nelson Piquet, Williams, 1987)
Österrichring (original circuit) (1969-1976)
Length 5.911 km (3.673 mi)
Turns 16
Lap record 1:34.850 (Niki Lauda, Ferrari, 1975)

The Österreichring is a disused Austrian race circuit which hosted the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix for 18 consecutive years, from 1970 to 1987.

After being shortened, rebuilt and renamed the A1-Ring, it hosted the Austrian Grand Prix again from 1997 to 2003.

The track is located in Spielberg, Styria. The old Österreichring was more often referred to as being located at Zeltweg, which is bigger and better known. However, the circuit was never relocated, only modified.

In addition, the one-off 1964 Austrian Grand Prix was held at Zeltweg Airfield, so this name was already known.

Contents

The Österreichring

Österreichring track layout from 1977 to 1995, with Hella-Licht chicane

The track was known for having many fast corners, as well as noticeable changes in elevation during the course of a lap. Many considered the Österreichring to be dangerous, especially the "Boschkurve", a 180-degree right-hand corner with almost no run-off area. Tragically, American driver Mark Donohue died after crashing at the "Hella-Licht" corner in 1975. It is also known that four-times World Champion Alain Prost often said that all tracks can be changed but that the Österreichring should remain unchanged, just adding run-off areas would be fine.

The A1-Ring

The redesigned track layout, as used from 1997 onwards

The Österreichring's safety concerns reached a head in 1987 when that year's race needed two restarts following crashes on the starting grid. As a result, the track was abandoned by Formula One for nearly a decade. In 1995 and 1996, it was totally rebuilt, at the same site, by Hermann Tilke. Its length was shortened from 5.942 km (3.692 mi) to 4.326 km (2.688 mi), and the fast sweeping corners were replaced by three tight right-handers, in order to create overtaking opportunities. Its three long straights, as well as a twisty infield section, asked for a setup compromise.

As much of the construction work was paid for by the cellphone provider A1, the track was renamed the A1-Ring.[1] It proceeded to host seven Formula One Austrian Grands Prix between 1997 and 2003, as well as several DTM touring car races.

Recent news

The grandstands and pit buildings were demolished in 2004, rendering the track unusable for any motorsport category. In late 2004 and early 2005, there were intense discussions whether the owner, Red Bull, would find another use for the site or actually bring back motor sports to it. However, as of January 2005, this seems more unlikely than ever, as Dietrich Mateschitz publicly announced that he had no intention to waste money on a deficitary circuit. This failure of the project, which was of considerable importance for the surrounding municipalities, may even have serious political repercussions, as Styrian governor Waltraud Klasnic had strongly supported the project.

In 2006, Austrian racing driver Alexander Wurz claimed he would buy the circuit and have it renovated, but little has come about this.

During the whole of 2005 there were speculations of Red Bull Racing renovating the track and using it as a personal testing track in Formula One. It remains to be seen if Mateschitz and his Red Bull Racing will do something about the abandoned track.

In 2007, talks involving Red Bull, KTM, VW and Magna International for a neuer Österreichring have failed after VW pulled out.[2]

In April 2008 the current owners of the track, Red Bull, were to restore the track as a racing venue and DTM chiefs were considering to return there for a race in 2009.[3][4] But in July 2008, the DTM organizers have decided not to include Österreichring into the 2009 program, although plans for the revival of the track are still under discussion.[5]

In October 2008, the track owner Dietrich Mateschitz has ruled out any chance for the track to host a MotoGP or a Formula One Grand Prix in the future, and it will only be used for DTM races. The rebuilt track will be finished by the end of 2010.[6]

References

External links

Coordinates: 47°13′11″N 14°45′53″E / 47.21972°N 14.76472°E / 47.21972; 14.76472

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