Our Austrian F1 Grand Prix Preview is brought to you by F1 guest writer Justin Johns:
The hills are alive with the sound of… Formula One. The Bulls will be running at their home Grand Prix and it will be fantastic for the fans if they win this one. Red Bull has one of the best brands in the world in terms of marketing and you can expect some spectacular performances to compliment the action from the track.
The Red Bull Air Race Pilots should make an appearance alongside many other entertainment acts, which are owned by the energy drink giant. Their marketing is so layered; you will not be able to purchase any other variety of cola besides Red Bull Cola from the surrounding towns.
Short and quick
Red Bull pretty much owns Spielberg, and not just the Red Bull Ring circuit. The track is good, characterised by being short and fast with some cool elevation changes. We might come close to achieving 60 second lap times for the first time ever in qualifying.
This circuit may be suitable for all of the top three teams, and since it’s such a short track any power deficit won’t be a real problem (I’m hoping). As boring as some of the races may have been this year, we are still faced with the question of which of the top three teams will be quickest come race weekend.
That’s where the unpredictability is, and should not be underplayed when we sum up the season come year end. The championship is still open for Lewis and Seb but they are not necessarily the main protagonists. Bottas has been so unlucky with results and is on par with Lewis on pace.
Lewis and Sebastian are due some DNFs, I’m not wishing bad luck onto them, I’m just hoping for a better title fight. Vettel and Hamilton change positions in the championship frequently, but we haven’t yet seen them going head-to-head on track.
We are missing wheel-to-wheel racing and strategy battles between them. For that reason, fans feel as though we are watching a soulless championship. We are missing the passion which is F1. We had issues with overtaking in the past, but 2007/8/10 and 2012 were great championship battles. We need that fire again. The season is not over and we could be heading for a turning point soon.
Renault is scheduled to bring their new MGU-K this weekend, but Cyril Abiteboul has stated that one of the customer teams will not be using it as it will not feed into their power unit component usage schedule. We don’t know which one yet. I’m hoping it’s not Red Bull Racing as I am backing RBR to win their home race and bring the bulls closer in the constructor’s fight.
It will be interesting to see if Renault gets first place in the second tier fight this weekend, which starts from position seven, if the top six cars finish. The MGU-K has been touted to bring better performance with better packaging and reliability. A driver may only use two units for the entire season so I’m not sure if this will be the best race to deploy it to last the remaining races with no penalties.
On the ropes
Speaking of customer teams, McLaren is in trouble. If only the team did not go around last year claiming it had the best chassis in F1. Considering that Toro Rosso is competitive, it makes you wonder how McLaren influenced their previous three seasons’ poor performance instead of solely blaming Honda.
Eric Boullier was lambasted at the last Team Principal press conference and his inability to keep his cool is a tell-tale sign the journalists were right with their interpretation of what is happening at Woking. Rumours are forming around whether Fernando Alonso will see out the season, and quite frankly someone of his calibre is currently wasting his time making up the numbers.
Woe be Williams
The other backmarker team, Williams, is in the same boat. Who would have thought the word ‘backmarker’ will be used in the same sentence as Williams and McLaren. But unlike McLaren, that is making money from its road cars and has a great brand image in the US, Williams has no real major revenue stream to keep them afloat.
Will Williams make it to 2021? Maybe not with the Williams name on the cars. Paddy Lowe, what is going on? How can someone of his calibre let this happen? The FW41 is an engineering failure. Britain is not taking this too well as they are currently being annihilated in Formula 1 with both their teams.
Romain Grosjean has still not scored any points for this season and is crippling Haas’ position in the standings. I’m not sure how I feel about him anymore in terms of having a seat in F1. He is beaten weekly by team-mate K-Mag and his moaning on the radio about absolutely everything is shocking and insulting to the millions of us who would trade it all to be in F1.
If he doesn’t score a point in this race, he should be dropped with immediate effect and bring in someone who can help the team in the constructors. Haas has a good car; they need to capitalize on what they have this season.
Overall I think this race is open, my bias for Red Bull Racing at this race set aside, we are in for a race without any expectations. The circuit is gorgeous as it is surrounded by mountains and rolling hills and the atmosphere generated by the crowd is always cheerful and enthusiastic.
I want to see those 60 second lap times happen. Dietrich Mateschitz did a fantastic job with this place and his private airplane hangar display is surreal. Expect to see a lot of content generated around him this weekend.
Something a bit off topic, apparently, Lewis Hamilton is a rapper now. He debuted on a track with Christina Aguilera called Pipe, but the rapper in question is listed as XNDA. So, I gave it a listen, and… that is definitely Lewis’ voice. It will also explain why Christina was at the Canadian Grand Prix hanging with Lewis. Here’s the link and let me know if I’m wrong on this one: https://bit.ly/2N4tISc
Here’s to a great race.