A1-Ring Gustav Brunner, Toyota's chief designer "Coming from Graz, the Austrian Grand Prix is kind of a home race for me. I have lived in numerous countries over the years - UK, Italy and Germany - and I don't get the chance to go back to...
Gustav Brunner, Toyota's chief designer
"Coming from Graz, the Austrian Grand Prix is kind of a home race for me. I have lived in numerous countries over the years - UK, Italy and Germany - and I don't get the chance to go back to Austria so often, so I am looking forward to going to Spielberg this weekend."
"The A1-Ring is right in the heart of the Styrian Mountains, and is set in rather picturesque surroundings. It has hosted the Austrian GP since 1997, however in my personal opinion is nowhere near as exciting or thrilling as the ultra-fast Oesterreichring, which held the Austrian GP from 1970 to 1987 before the event took a ten-year break."
"Of the 16 races on the F1 calendar, the A1-Ring is not really the most technically challenging, but that does not mean that it is an easy weekend for drivers and engineers - there are plenty of things to take into account to obtain a competitive lap time."
"The circuit is a medium-maximum downforce track and is quite hard on the brakes because of the mix of long straights and slow corners. These features put an emphasis on the car's traction, which is very important to make sure the TF103s get a good exit from the slow corners on to these long straights."
"There is a good example of this after the first corner, from which the drivers need a good exit in order to get up to seventh gear for the haul down towards the second corner. It is heavy and very late on the brakes down to first-gear to take the slow Remus Kurve - a long hairpin from which the driver needs to be quick on the accelerator to get back up to top gear before another heavy braking corner - the Gosser Kurve. This type of stop-start manoevre characterises the A1-Ring."
"The track is quite smooth, although it is pretty slippery during the opening sessions. Although we have just one hour of free practice before first qualifying on Friday, there is the two-hour free testing session, which four teams participate in prior to our first runs on the track, so there should already be a significant amount of rubber on the track, which should help us."
"The TF103s will have to make good use of the kerbs on some corners around the 4.326-kilometre track, especially into the first corner - the Castrol Kurve. These kerbs tend to interrupt the overall rhythm of the lap, but the long top-speed straights should suit the TF103 with a focus on engine horsepower."
"The A1-Ring provides the quickest lap time of the year in under 1m09s, but because the GP has historically been a one-stop race, we could see some pretty high fuel loads in qualifying. Having said that, because the lap time is so short, it means the gap between the polesitter and 20th place is very tight, hence every tenth-of-a-second counts. A fraction of a second can make the difference between a top 8 and a top 15 qualifying result."
"We got our first three points of the season in Spain, so we'll be going full steam ahead in Austria to build on that success and add more points to the tally."