The sixth round of the 2001 Formula One World Championship will take place on Sunday May 13th in Austria at the A1 Ring circuit. Located on the foothills of the Styrian Alps, this undulating track is made of only nine corners, linked by long...
The sixth round of the 2001 Formula One World Championship will take place on Sunday May 13th in Austria at the A1 Ring circuit. Located on the foothills of the Styrian Alps, this undulating track is made of only nine corners, linked by long curves and straights, with no chicane. Although not the most impressive Grand Prix from a technical point of view, the start is always very spectacular with all the cars converging into the first corner, a right angle going uphill.
As Formula One teams never come to this track apart from the Grand Prix week-end, the circuit is always very slippery and dirty during the Friday free practices. The changing grip puts engineers' and drivers' skills at test. The cars' setup must allow both a good speed in the fast straights and a good balance on the braking in slow corners.
This year the Austrian Grand Prix takes place two month earlier than last year and unpredictable weather might be a disruptive element as conditions in this area at this period are usually cold and wet. On this low grip circuit, tyre choice will be more than ever a decisive element.
In preparation for the Austrian race, the Prost Acer team ran a four-day test session in Valencia, Spain, with its two official drivers :
John Walton - Sporting Director :
"Despite changing weather conditions during the whole session, both Jean (Alesi) and Luciano (Burti) did a very productive and complementary job, sharing duties on the intensive technical programme we had planned. We continued the development and optimisation of the new electronic software, and conducted some important tests with Michelin, especially on wet tyres, mainly in view of the Austrian Grand Prix. The team also successfully tested some development parts which will be introduced very soon."
Luciano Burti :
"Last week's test has been very useful for the team and personally very productive as I'm getting more familiar with the team. I have worked a lot on my car's set up. The Austrian Grand Prix will be for sure always special to me, since it's where last year I ran my first Formula One Grand Prix (in replacement of Eddie Irvine). It is still a good memory although my debut was somehow hasty. It was so unexpected that my helmet was not even ready ! The A1 Ring is a fast, low grip track, where it is difficult to find the limit, especially on qualifying. Even though racing there once was not enough for me to learn the circuit, I enjoyed it, and after testing with the team in Valencia, I feel ready and confident "