Same circuit, same result?

Will the Styrian Grand Prix scenario repeat itself as the teams meet at the Red Bull Ring just a few days apart? Not so sure. 

Published on 01/07/2021 à 11:56


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Same circuit, same result?

Can the Red Bull team achieve a second success in a row on home soil? / © DPPI

Will the mountains of Styria (Austria) give birth to the same race two weeks in a row? This scenario in the form of copy and paste, some ardently desire it, others fear it and hope to have the means to avoid a stuttering of the story. 

At first glance, it is difficult to see how Red Bull et Max Verstappen, who dominated the first of the two rounds of the Austrian doubles head and shoulders last week, could be worried on the same field this weekend.

Several factors could, however, change the appearance of the 2nd Styrian meeting. 

  • Tires and weather spoiling the party?

First of all, the tire allocation selected by Pirelli differs from that proposed last week. The compounds made available to the stables will be a step softer than those provided 7 days earlier (C3-C5 versus C2-C4). This prospect is likely to tempt the Red Bull clan, if we are to believe the words of Dr Helmut Marko after Max Verstappen's victory last Sunday. 

« The tires are softer, but if we look at the degradation data we should be even more competitive because both Mercedes were in difficulty in this area “, the Red Bull special advisor told us in the Spielberg paddock. 

Therefore, should we expect even more dazzling success from the current leader of the world championship? The main interested party prefers to be cautious. 

« We can't expect the same result so easily this weekend, tempers Verstappen. Everyone will have learned the necessary lessons and learned from their possible mistakes. Softer compounds can also reshuffle the cards. 

I think the competition will have gotten closer, that's generally what happens when you have races that follow from one week to the next on the same track. ». 

Another element to take into account: the weather. While we were expecting rain last week, the showers took great pleasure in showering the Red Bull Ring before or after the different sessions F1. What will happen this weekend? 

Far be it from us to want to play expert frogs as the climate is capricious and volatile at altitude. But we will remember that last year the qualifications for the Styrian GP, ​​which then came after the Austrian GP, ​​took place in heavy rain, with a few surprises on the grid.  

Recent history also teaches us that it is rare to witness a similar scenario when F1 occurs twice in the same place in a very short period. Just look at the example of last year where the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone circuits (United Kingdom) offered different storylines during the two races they each hosted. 

To victory full of mastery signed Valtteri Bottas at the opening of the season, Hamilton responded with convincing success the following week, with the same tire allocation. In England, the future seven-time world champion won on 3 wheels at the British GP before undergoing Verstappen's law 7 days later, with softer compounds, for the 70th Anniversary GP. 

  • Man and machine

It goes without saying but it's better to say it, mechanical unforeseen events are part of the game in Formula 1. Ask Daniel Ricciardo, who lost 4 positions in the space of half a lap while his Mercedes propeller coughed in the back of his McLaren. If modern single-seaters have reached an exemplary level of reliability, technical glitches will never disappear from the equation. 

Finally, there remains one factor that we sometimes tend to brush aside to focus on the level of performance of the machines: the human element. Will Lewis Hamilton take more risks given the growing gap between him and Verstappen in the championship? Will the latter negotiate the start in such an impeccable manner if he finds himself on pole again? 

It is also hard to imagine Red Bull missing a pit stop, as it did during Sergio Pérez's first pit-stop last Sunday, which certainly deprived the Mexican of a podium. And behind the Red Bull-Mercedes quartet, Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) can he shake off the disappointment of last Sunday, where his good qualification ended with a cruel puncture and synonymous with retirement in the first round. 

Despite all the reasons listed above, nothing says we won't see a copy-paste of the Styrian Grand Prix this Sunday at the Red Bull Ring. But it is precisely this uncertainty, rightly described as glorious, which makes sport so special. 


AUTOhebdo deputy editor-in-chief. The feather dipped in gall.

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