Ferrari: Austria, into the Bullring

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Along with Jenson Button and Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen make up the quartet of current drivers who have raced here before in Formula 1.

Maranello – Sunday sees the 27th running of the Austrian Grand Prix. The race was first held on an “L” shaped track at the Zeltweg Airfield. Italy’s Lorenzo Bandini won at the wheel of a Ferrari 156 F1-63. However, the location was abandoned as the track was made of concrete and not asphalt and was not up to the task. The race returned to the calendar in 1970 at the new Osterreichring circuit, almost 6 kilometres in length, winding its way through the climbs and drops that linked the villages of Zeltweg and Spielberg.

Formula 1 last raced on that layout in 1987 before returning a decade later with a new shorter 4.3 kilometre track, renamed the A1 Ring. The last race held in Spielberg was in 2003. Now it returns to the same track layout with a renovated and modernised infrastructure, the work being undertaken by Red Bull. Ferrari has won five times in Austria, which is a hit rate of 19%, the first of these, as mentioned already, courtesy of Bandini. The Scuderia won again when the Osterreichring opened its doors, thanks to Belgium’s Jacky Ickx, who headed home a one-two with Switzerland’s Clay Regazzoni, the two cars crossing the line just 61 hundredths of a second apart.

Almost 30 years later in 1999, Eddie Irvine won for Ferrari in the F399, making the most of an internecine conflict at McLaren, which saw championship leader Mika Hakkinen retire. The other two wins came courtesy of Michael Schumacher in 2002 and 2003, the latter coming after a bit of a scare. When team-mate Rubens Barrichello pitted, his refueling equipment did not work and so his F2003-GA had to be fueled from Schumacher’s rig.

When the German came in shortly afterwards, there was still some fuel left in the nozzle from Barrichello’s stop and it caught fire with flames shooting from the car. Schumacher didn’t flinch and stayed in the cockpit, keeping an eye on the Ferrari mechanics, who very calmly extinguished the fire, sending Schumacher on his way with the loss of just a few seconds. Michael rejoined third and went on to win the race.

Along with Jenson Button and Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen make up the quartet of current drivers who have raced here before in Formula 1.

Scuderia Ferrari

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Series F1
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Tags austrian gp, f1, fernando alonso, ferrari, kimi raikkonen

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