Austrian GP: Preview

Published on 30 June 2023 at 15:00

Nathan Hartley


Formula 1 heads to round nine of the 2023 World Championship at Spielberg, Austria. The hills of Styria will kick off a busy fixture of European races.


2022 Austrian Grand Prix (Image Credit: Guenther Iby/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)


Sprint weekend


The Austrian Grand Prix will host the second sprint race of the season - the first one taking place in Baku back in April. Therefore, there will be only one practice session before qualifying on Friday instead of Saturday.


Qualifying will determine the grid for Sunday's race. On Saturday, there will be a sprint shootout, determining the grid for the following sprint race on the same day. The sprint race is a shorter distance, rewarding points for the top eight drivers.


Sunday will be the main race, where the most points are up for grabs. In 2022, the sprint races would determine Sunday's grid for the main race. However, after some backlash, Formula 1 made the sprint series its own thing - not affecting the main race on Sunday.


The weather could be a key factor in this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix. It is forecasted that rain will be present throughout the entire weekend. Could we see a mixed condition race on Sunday?


Trio trying to close in on Red Bull


Red Bull has been dominant throughout the entirety of the first third of the 2023 Formula 1 season. The Austrian team has won every race so far this season, looking to keep that record going with a win at their home track.


The trio of Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari will be looking to close the gap to the Bulls at the top and ruin their home celebrations. In Montreal, Aston Martin seemed the closest challenger to Max Verstappen at the top as Fernando Alonso finished second.


Mercedes will be looking to continue their momentum after a double podium finish in Barcelona and a Hamilton podium in Montreal. The Silver Arrow's upgrades has helped the team find more performance.


Ferrari has not had a great season so far. However, at Montreal, Ferrari had great race pace, which has been a big issue for the Scuderia this season. Could we see any of these teams finally challenge Red Bull for a race win?


Red Bull will be desperate to win their home race this year in honour of Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who unfortunately passed away last October at the age of 78.


Mateschitz played a huge role in developing his home track to allow the pinnacle of motorsport to race on it. The Austrian Grand Prix returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2014 thanks to Mateschitz's hard work. He has also had a huge impact on developing young drivers in Formula 1.


What about the rest?


McLaren has brought updates to Lando Norris' MCL60 car for this weekend. The upgrade package was due for Silverstone. However, the Woking team managed to produce enough parts for Norris' car, leaving Piastri without the updates for this weekend.


It is a risk as there is only one practice session. However, the Woking team managed to prove that they can do it during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, bringing upgrades during a sprint weekend.


Williams will be hoping for another great weekend. Alex Albon managed to finish in an impressive seventh, rewarding the Grove team's efforts to rush the upgrades to Montreal for Albon's car. The parts on Albon's car will be applied to Logan Sargeant's car this weekend.


Who do you think will be on the podium at this year's Austrian Grand Prix?

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