The Austrian GP returned to the Formula One calendar in 2014, after the previous race took place back in 2003. The Grand Prix has been held at two different locations in the Zeltweg area situated in Spielberg in southeastern Austria. It was first held at an airfield there for two years, then a permanent race track called the Österreichring was built in 1969 and Formula One first raced there in 1970 and each subsequent race has been held there in three distinct periods.
In 1995 and 1996, the Österreichring was refurbished and brought up to date, which allowed the race to run again in 1997. Since the larger portion of the modernised track, which was renamed A1-Ring after a sponsor, is located on the municipal territory of Spielberg, Spielberg was now given as the site of the Grand Prix. In July 2013, it was reported that the circuit’s new owners Red Bull had reached an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone to revive the Austrian GP after a ten-year absence from the calendar.
Mercedes has won all three races which have been held in Austria since the race returned to the Formula 1 calendar (Nico Rosberg in 2014 and 2015, followed by Lewis Hamilton last season). McLaren is currently the most successful team, with six wins at the Austrian GP, but Scuderia Ferrari has the opportunity to match this performance, as the Maranello team scored five victories up to date.
Lorenzo Bandini won the first Formula One race which took place in Austria, back in 1964. The Ferrari driver started from seventh position but managed to win the 105-lap race, which was Lorenzo Bandini’s first and only World Championship race victory. The second Austrian Grand Prix was also won by Ferrari, six year later, when Belgian driver started from third position but finsihed the race ahead of his teammate Clay Regazzoni, completing a perfect weekend for the Italian team.
However, Scuderia Ferrari had to wait nearly three decades to score another win the Austrian GP: it was Eddie Irvine who in 1999 put an end to the negative results on the circuit located in the Styrian mountains. Without Michael Schumacher, who was substituted by Mika Salo, it looked like McLaren-Mercedes would have an easy weekend given the fact that Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard locked out the front row in qualifying. Yet the British racing driver managed to overtake both McLaren cars and won the close fight with David Coulthard for a well-earned victory.
Ferrari’s most recent two wins were brought by Michael Schumacher, in 2002 and 2003, which were also the last two races before the Austrian GP returned to Formula 1 three years ago, after an 11-year break.