The Red Bull Ring has announced that Formula One and MotoGP are set to use two different layouts as of 2022 as the circuit intends to improve the safety for two-wheel racing series.
The A1-Ring, formerly Österreichring was purchased by Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz in 2008 after that the energy drink company started to heavily invest into the circuit. The Austrian company rebuilt the entire circuit, installing new grandstands and designing an ultra-modern pit building and a futuristic-looking housing for media activities.
The track was reopened on 15 May 2011 and subsequently hosted a round of the 2011 DTM season and a round of the 2011 F2 Championship. Formula One returned to the circuit in the 2014 season, while the track continued to host MotoGP races again in 2016. Despite some thrilling races thanks to its unique layout and high safety standards, several sections of the Spielberg-based circuit has proved to be dangerous for motorcycle racing.
Safety concerns were raised especially after the 2020 MotoGP race when Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales were both extraordinarily lucky to avoid injury after almost being collected by the catapulting Ducati and Yamaha machines of Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli, who had collided further back and crossed into the path of T3.
Ex MotoGP-rider, now MotoGP safety consultant Loris Capirossi requested small changes on the inside of Turn 3 for this year’s two MotoGP races at the Red Bull Ring to make it safer, albeit it was only an interim solution. The track has now announced that it will install a new chicane between Turns 1 and 3, which should help make the layout safer for motorcycle racing by reducing the speed when riders approach the crest at the third corner.
“The Red Bull Ring has hosted Formula 1 since 2014 and the Motorcycle World Championship since 2016,” read an official statement from the venue.
“Since then, hundreds of thousands of fans have experienced numerous great race weekends at Spielberg. In order to further improve the attractiveness and safety of the Austrian Grand Prix circuit, a chicane will be built in the area of the second turn in coordination with the FIA and the Formula One Group as well as the FIM, Dorna and AMF."
Formula One will be unaffected by the modifications as car races are set to stick to the original grand prix layout.