Things to know ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix

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After the frenetic French Grand Prix last Sunday, teams and drivers find themselves at the middle station of the first triple-header of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship with the Styrian Grand Prix playing host to Round 8 of the season. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó brings the fast facts ahead of another highly anticipated race.

After the nail-biting French Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen have their championship leads enhanced. The Dutchman leads the Drivers’ Championship on 131 points with his main rival Lewis Hamilton sitting 12 points behind. Red Bull has extended its championship lead over Mercedes to 37 points with the points tallies being 215-178.

Long history – Today’s race will the 2nd Styrian Grand Prix following the 2020 debut race. The Red Bull Ring played host to two races last year and the location is set to stage two races this year again following the cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix. In total, this will be the 35th FIA Formula One race held in Austria.

The first race in Austria was held in 1964 on a circuit at the Zeltweg Air Base. Due to its nature with trees close to the track, the Zeltweg track quickly disappeared from the F1 calendar. Constructed close by, the Österreichring made its calendar debut 50 years ago in 1970 and hosted the race until 1987. A shortened version of the circuit, named the A1-Ring, was used between 1997 and 2003, and now called the Red Bull Ring, the track has hosted the race since 2014.

The most successful - Alain Prost is the most successful driver at the Austrian Grand Prix with victories for Renault in 1983 and then McLaren in 1985 and 1986. After winning in 2018 and 2019, Max Verstappen could match Prost’s record if he wins today’s Austrian Grand Prix. McLaren are the most successful constructor at the Austrian Grand Prix with six wins.

Short lap – The current iteration of the Red Bull Ring belongs to the shorter F1 circuit with its length of 4.318km. Drivers will need to circle 71 times around the track to cover the total race distance of 306.452km.

A tiny difference - The start and finish lines are not identical at the Red Bull Ring with a difference of 126m between the two lines.

The Spaniard– The fastest ever race lap belongs to Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard clocked a lap of 1m05.619s with his McLaren in 2020 which could be beaten at this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix or at next weekend's Austrian Grand prix.

The third highest – The Red Bull Ring is located at 660m above sea level which is the third-highest during the year after the Hermanos Rodriguez track in Mexico and the Carlos Pace circuit in Brazil. The high altitude puts power units under more stress than at many venues and effective cooling of engines is often a headache for teams at this circuit.

Plenty of opportunities – FIA has defined three different DRS zones at the Red Bull Ring in order to provide drivers with plenty of opportunities to execute an overtaking manoeuvre in the 71-lap race. The first has a detection point 160m before Turn 1 with an activation point 102m after Turn 1. The second zone has a detection point 40m before Turn 3 and an activation point 100m after Turn 3. The detection point of the final zone is 120m before Turn 10, while its activation point is 106m after Turn 10.

The middle of Pirelli's range - For the first race at the Red Bull Ring, known as the Steiermark Grand Prix, C2 will be the P Zero White hard, C3 will be the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 will be the P Zero Red soft. In the past, this has been a one-stop race on paper – apart from the occasions when a safety car has prompted drivers to take a ‘free’ pit stop. This is set to be the case again at today's Steiermark Grand Prix.

Fast circuit – The Red Bull Ring, made up of just 10 turns and a sequence of straights, is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. Drivers spend more than 70 per cent of the lap at full throttle. When it comes to the longevity of the DRS activation, it is also a record-breaker circuit as the three DRS zones cover more than a third of the circuit.

Changes - There have been some modifications to the circuit recently. The grass verge of the right-hand side between Turn 2 and Turn 3 has been reduced and replaced with gravel. The barrier on the right at Turn 3 has been extended towards the apex. The second element of the double kerb at the exit of Turn 6 has been removed and the gravel brought closer to the track edge.