The stars of the future competing in Formula 2 and Formula 3 head straight from Paul Ricard in France to the Red Bull Ring in Austria for two more races in each championship.
• The Red Bull Ring consists mostly of short straights and relatively slow corners, so the braking and traction demands are more prominent than the lateral forces.
• The biggest lateral demands come from two consecutive corners in the middle sector, which are also the only two left-hand turns on the entire circuit.
• It is the shortest circuit in terms of lap-time during the year, with F2 pole position achieved last year with a time of 1m13.541s. The short lap means that traffic can be an issue in qualifying.
• With the circuit located in the Styrian mountains, the weather can be variable. Rain can be a common feature, but it can also be very warm, as was the case last year.
The tyres and strategy
• The P Zero Red soft and P Zero Purple supersoft tyres have been nominated for F2: the two softest tyres in the range. The same combination was used in Austria in 2018 and has already been seen earlier this year in Monaco.
• In F2, each driver has five sets of slick tyres to use over the weekend: three soft and two supersoft. They also have three sets of wet-weather tyres. During race one, where there is a mandatory pit stop, both compounds have to be used unless it is declared a wet race. Pit stops are optional in race two.
• Just one tyre is nominated for each F3 round: in Austria it’s the soft. This is the softest of the three tyres in the F3 range and comes after the hard was used in round one in Barcelona and the medium in round two in France. Drivers get three new sets of dry tyres plus one carry-over set of mediums from Paul Ricard, which must be returned after free practice. There are two sets of wet-weather tyres as well.
What happened last year?
George Russell won the F2 feature race, which he started on the supersoft tyre before pitting for the soft tyre under a safety car. Artem Markelov deployed the alternative strategy and was the last driver to pit, using his fresh supersoft tyres to claim eighth place on the final lap. That gave him pole position for the sprint race, which he converted into victory, with all drivers on the soft tyre. In GP3, where the soft tyre was nominated, Callum Ilott and Jake Hughes took the wins.
Mario Isola, Pirelli head of F1 and car racing: “Austria presents a marked contrast to the last round at Paul Ricard a few days ago, but we can expect similarly warm, or perhaps even hotter conditions. This means that F2 drivers will have to pay particular attention to thermal degradation on the supersoft in particular, while carefully managing the soft as well. In F3, we’re using our third type of tyre in three races, so there will be plenty for the drivers to get used to at this spectacular venue.”