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Eleven years later, F1 returns to Austria

Eleven years later, F1 returns to Austria

Formula One returns to Austria, eleven years after the last Austrian Grand Prix was held in 2003 at the Spielberg circuit, in which Mercedes will try to regain its hegemony after Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) prevailed in Canada.
F1A track, now owned by Red Bull and renamed the Red Bull Ring, that stands out for being very fast thanks to its four long straights and maintains practically the same characteristics as the A-1 Ring between 2000 and 2003.
With a circuit where straight power is essential, Mercedes cars should reign supreme, provided they overcome the reliability problems that doomed Briton Lewis Hamilton in Canada, who dropped out on lap 46 due to brake problems. and they also affected the leader of the World Cup, the German Nico Rosberg, second in Canada after Ricciardo due to power problems.
Waiting to know if Mercedes solves the problems it had in the last race, the Red Bull team, on its circuit and with the recent victory of Ricciardo, the first driver to challenge the dominance of silver cars this season, will aspire to fight for another victory, given his evolution in the last tests.
Those who will remain a mystery are the Ferrari cars, which despite waiting for a new evolution of the F14T for Canada, were again relegated to the bottom of the points zone, with the Spanish Fernando Alonso seventh after the checkered flag, and the Finn Raikkonen tenth.
One of the surprises of the last race in Montreal, the Mexican Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez (Force India), who suffered a spectacular accident when he was rammed from behind by the Brazilian Felipe Massa (Williams) on the last lap, will have to start with five penalty positions in this race, when considering the stewards who was at fault for the accident by changing his trajectory.
Precisely Massa, in addition to Alonso, Raikkonen and the British Jenson Button (McLaren) make up the quartet of active drivers who have raced on the Austrian track.
Of the four, none of them has achieved victory at Spielberg, although the closest was Raikkonen, with his second place in 2003 at the controls of a McLaren and behind Michael Schumacher, winner in the last two editions of the Gran Austrian Award, in 2002 and 2003.
‘Iceman’ Raikkonen was also close in 2001, when he was fourth in a Sauber, in a race in which Alonso was unable to finish in his Minardi due to a clutch problem. The Spaniard also failed to finish the race in 2003, already at Renault, due to engine problems.
Felipe Massa raced at this circuit in 2002 with Sauber (retired), while Jenson Button was fifth in 2000 (Williams), failed to finish in 2001 (Benetton Renault), seventh in 2002 (Renault) and fourth in 2003 (BAR Honda) .
The Austrian circuit, which debuted as part of the motorsports championship in 1970 – the previous Austrian Grand Prix, in 1964, was held at the Zeltweg airfield, close to the current track – has been part of the competition between 1970 and 1987 ; and between 1997 and 2003, when the last race was run in what was then called the A1-Ring.
In 2003 the race went to German Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) in his penultimate triumphant season as a driver for the Italian team. Finn Kimi Raikkonen was second (then at McLaren, today Ferrari) and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) third.
The previous year, in 2002, there was a strange situation, in which Barrichello, after leading the entire race, gave way to Schumacher in the last laps so that the German won the race and added the necessary points to stay in the first World Cup position. Both drivers lifted the trophy.
Precisely in the week in which we have known the awakening of the coma of the great German driver, admitted to the hospital in Grenoble (France) since December 29 after a serious ski accident, Formula One returns to one of those places that preserve the Schumacher’s record unbeaten: best fastest lap (with a time of 1: 08.337).

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