Austrian Grand Prix: Load up the caravan & get ready for a big party

Red Bull statue in Spielberg

"This is old school. I like it."

Former world champion Jenson Button could have been talking about more than just the race track when asked about the Austrian Grand Prix.

Surrounded by the lush, green Styrian mountains and a two-hour drive away from the capital Vienna, this is a weekend to put the stress of modern life behind you and enjoy the great outdoors.

Or, more specifically, load up the caravan, pitch your tent with thousands of other fans and have the Formula 1 equivalent of a Glastonbury festival-style experience.

Instead of champagne filled super-yachts or Instagram-filtered VIP lounges, Spielberg offers fans a chance to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Quite literally. The old Osterreichring, used in the 1970s and late 1980s, is open to walk around with a beer in one hand and a bosna - bratwurst sausage, onions and a blend of mustard or tomato ketchup with curry powder - in the other.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz of Benetton in a field of sheep during the Austrian GP in 1999
As Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz will tell you, Benetton's Austrian GP promotion in 1999 was... interesting

But what would you talk about?

Reminisce over the elation of a home win for Niki Lauda in 1984. With his gearbox slowly failing, the Austrian nursed his McLaren across the line and on the way to a third world championship.

Lauda is still the only countryman to win in Spielberg. And for now, it's a stat that won't be threatened anytime soon.

Stroll across to the spot where Nigel Mansell executed a sublime pass on Williams team-mate Nelson Piquet to take victory in 1987.

Then chuckle to yourself as you remember Murray Walker's firm examination of Mansell's bump on the head, after the Brit had smacked it on a steel girder while celebrating on the way to the podium.

Max Verstappen fans at the Austrian Grand Prix in 2017
The Austrian version of Where's Wally?

If you can do all that whilst wearing a bright orange Max Verstappen T-shirt, plus a helmet adorned with giant bull horns or antlers, then you will have earned your red and white Austrian stripes.

The festival headliner

Every festival needs a headliner and what better draw then the birthday of the happiest man on the grid: Daniel Ricciardo.

Race day at the Red Bull Ring sees Ricciardo turn 29. The last year of your twenties can often feel like a time for reflection and change.

Could an announcement about the Australian's future be on the cards after talks with McLaren and Renault were held?

Probably not... but a party for the honey badger in a field full of raucous fans sounds like a race weekend to remember.

Daniel Ricciardo in Austria
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag (Happy Birthday in German), Daniel

Flashback quiz

Multiple winners is the focus of our quiz this week.

Only six drivers have won the Austrian Grand Prix more than once since 1970, three being the highest number of victories.

To give you a helping hand: five are world champions; one is a championship runner-up.

The clock is set to four minutes for you to name as many as you can. Go!

Can you name all six drivers?

Score: 0 / 6
You scored 0/6

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Previously in F1... round eight... France

Charles Leclerc
Oooh Leclerc: The front of the grid may have been business as usual - Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel - but it was rookie Charles Leclerc who made the headlines. Sauber's Monegasque driver made the top 10 shootout to further stake his claim for a possible seat at Ferrari next season
Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen on the podium for the French Grand Prix
Triple Hammertime: The King Kong trophy is up for debate but Lewis Hamilton won't mind. The Mercedes man took his third win of the season with a dominate display at Paul Ricard. Title rival Sebastian Vettel caused a first-lap tangle with Valtteri Bottas to dent his hopes of taking charge of the championship race

The track

Red Bull Ring in Austria

Back pocket facts

  • Austrian composer Franz Schubert was nicknamed Schwammerl (Little Mushroom) by his friends because he was just five feet tall
  • Hollywood's most prestigious night is catered for by an Austrian. Master chef Wolfgang Puck has fed A-list winners for 24 consecutive Oscar ceremonies and this year used 30lbs of gold dust on the food.
  • In 1552, a Habsburg prince brought the first elephant to Austria from Spain to be a part of the king's menagerie. Unfortunately, Suleiman the elephant only survived a year in the cold climate of Vienna.
  • The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world. It dates from 1191, when Duke Leopold V fought in the Battle of Acre during the Third Crusade.

Drivers' social

Charles Leclerc Twitter
Stoffel Vandoorne Twitter
Carlos Sainz Twitter


Austrian Grand Prix coverage details
DateSessionTimeRadio coverageOnline text commentary
Friday, 29 JuneFirst practice09:55-11:35BBC Radio 5 live sports extraFrom 09:30
Second practice13:55-15:05BBC Radio 5 live sports extraFrom 13:30
Race preview & podcast21:00-21:30BBC Radio 5 live
Saturday 30, JuneThird practice10:55-12:05BBC Sport onlineFrom 10:30
Qualifying13:55-15:05BBC Sport online
Post-qualifying podcast5 live website
Sunday, 1 JulyRace14:00-16:30BBC Radio 5 live sports extraFrom 12:30
Monday 2, JulyRace review & podcast04:30BBC Radio 5 live

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