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F1’s Austrian return falls 50 years after first World Championship Austrian GP

Jun 16, 2014, 8:00 PM EST

Circuit_Zeltweg

Here’s one for the anoraks ahead of F1’s return to Austria this weekend – the 2014 running of the Austrian Grand Prix marks 50 years since the first time F1 ran a round of the World Championship in the country.

Most remember the Austrian Grand Prix for the old Österreichring, which hosted the race from 1970 through 1987 with one circuit revision, the addition of a chicane ahead of the 1977 Grand Prix.

But the Austrian Grand Prix actually kicked off with two runnings on the Zeltwig Air Base, which provided a point-and-shoot 1.98-mile course with four corners (the track was shaped like a pistol, with open right-handed Turns 1 and 2, a 90-degree left-handed Turn 3, and a Turn 4 hairpin at the end of a long straight).

A non-championship race was held in 1963, won by the late Sir Jack Brabham.

But the first World Championship Austrian Grand Prix came a year later, on August 23, 1964. The late Lorenzo Bandini won for Ferrari, in what was the Italian driver’s only Grand Prix victory. American Richie Ginther was second driving for BMW, with Englishman Bob Anderson in third in a Brabham-Climax, for his first and only career podium.

Meanwhile a then unheralded Austrian, the late Jochen Rindt, made his debut driving a Brabham-BMW.

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