Styrian GP Preview – Toto Wolff: “We’ll give it maximum attack!”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes released the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix preview featuring comments from team boss Toto Wolff. You can read the full preview below!

“From the fans, to the drivers and the team members, this season is keeping all of us on the edge of our seats,” said Wolff.

“We had an exciting race in France with another intense battle between the top four cars, and that challenge is something everyone in the team is relishing.

“After the disappointment of missing the win had faded, there were plenty of positives to take from France. We scored a good haul of points with P2 and P4 and the pace of the car was an encouraging step forward compared to Monaco and Baku, thanks to the hard work of our team members at the factories and at the track.

“But while we know there is still a long way to go and plenty more opportunities to come, in a season like this, every single point will matter and make the difference. And we’ve left points on the table at the last few races.

“We’ve debriefed France and understand the areas where we have the opportunity to improve. So, now it’s all about focusing on bringing those improvements to the next two rounds in Austria, where hopefully we can swing the positive momentum back in our favour. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait long for our next chance to try and do that and I can see the determination in every member of the team.

“Austria has been a tricky circuit for us in past seasons, but we went well there last year. We know the situation is very different this season, though. It’s a very quick lap and a short circuit, with fewer opportunities to gain time.

“The margins are going to be tight, so we’ll give it maximum attack!”

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Fact File: Styrian Grand Prix

  • In terms of lap time, Spielberg currently features the shortest lap in the regular F1 calendar. Valtteri’s pole time of 1m02.939s from last year’s Austrian Grand Prix is the current lap record.
  • However, while the Red Bull Ring has the quickest lap time, the track length of 4.318km is only fifth shortest, behind Brazil, Mexico, the Netherlands and Monaco.
  • Because of the quick lap times and short track length, it’s one of the tightest Qualifying sessions of the season, with fewer opportunities to find time.
  • It also means drivers can fit in more Qualifying runs during the sessions, if they have the available tyre sets, and teams can complete more laps in the one-hour practice sessions.
  • The track is one of the most aggressive when it comes to the shape, depth and spacing of the kerbs, which was evident during the two races in Austria in 2020. The high sausage kerbs on the corner exits are also aggressive, so therefore it’s one of the harshest on the car’s suspension.
  • Because of the aggressive nature of the kerbs at the Red Bull Ring, the risk of bodywork damage is high, and we often see drivers picking up damage in practice as they push the limits of the track.
  • Spielberg has the fewest corners of any track on the regular F1 schedule, with just 10 – one fewer than the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
  • From these 10 corners, only seven are classified as grip-limited where the driver has to reduce throttle input. Turn 2, 5 and 8 are all taken at full throttle and therefore aren’t classed as corners in the strict sense of the word.
  • The track has a high amount of track warp, where the banking of the track changes from one side to the other, with Turn 3 being one example. Here, the track drops towards the apex, with the car passing over the crest of the hill, whilst picking up power on exit. This causes the car to lift a wheel, which can lead to struggles with braking, stability and traction.
  • Austria has three big braking zones, two of which we class as “heavy” – registering more than 4g, for over 0.4s. This leads to high brake wear. Turns 1, 3 and 4 come in close succession, too, so that can lead to very hot brakes.
  • Austria has the joint-second highest percentage of lap time spent at full throttle, with 73%. Only Italy has more time spent at full throttle with 78%.
  • The temperatures in Austria can be very variable, making the weekend far from straightforward. Over the last five years, the race day temperatures have fluctuated from between 16°C to 32°C.
  • Spielberg’s high altitude and lower ambient air pressure impact the cooling of the engine and the brakes, as the mass flow through the radiators and brake ducts is lower.
  • The 69-metre elevation change from the lowest to highest point at the Red Bull Ring is one of the highest of the season, which is unsurprising considering the track’s position in the Austrian Alps. The lowest point is on the start/finish straight and the track reaches a peak at the top of Turn 3.
  • The drivers experience 5.1g through the fast Turn 9, the penultimate corner on the track. This is the third-highest g-force registered all season.
  • We’ll be racing at the Red Bull Ring for two consecutive weekends, once again. This brings the advantage of accumulating a lot of data from the first event, so you know how the tyre and car reacts for the second event, but this is also a disadvantage as that knowledge can lead to more limited strategic options.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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