Skip to content

Williams prepares to relearn in Austria this weekend

Jun 17, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

Felipe Massa AP

Although he wasn’t part of the last Austrian Grand Prix in 2003, Felipe Massa does still have one prior start at the circuit – as a then 20-year-old rookie in the 2002 race, driving for Sauber.

As he and the rest of the Williams-Mercedes team head back this weekend, Massa expects a completely different challenge than what he faced as a first-year driver.

“There are very few guys who have driven the circuit which is a little advantage but the track and limit may have changed and the cars have changed so it won’t be the same as 11 years ago,” he said in the team’s advance release.

Still, he admits that the Red Bull Ring should be a fairly simple track to learn, with its point-and-shoot nature of mostly straights and right-hand corners.

“It’s not a difficult track to learn,” he said, plainly.

Teammate Valtteri Bottas doesn’t appear fazed by the prospect of racing at a new circuit.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator to prepare of Austria as I haven’t driven the circuit before,” he said. “I have also spoken with Felipe as he is one of the four drivers who have raced this track in Formula One. Learning a new track has never been a problem for me and I have the practice sessions to get to grips with things. I have heard only good things about the track and the fans, so I am really looking forward to getting there.”

Track temperature and high-brake wear pose the biggest setup challenge this week, according to Williams’ Rob Smedley.

“The layout of the track can pose issues on the tyres, especially as the temperatures can vary to quite hot or very cold, this can also change quickly,” he said. “A hot track would affect the rear tires as there is a large traction requirement, however in the colder conditions we may suffer with front right graining at Turns Five and Six.

“There may also be brake overheating problems as it is a high duty track, which is something we will need to look out for. The track is short and there are 71 laps which will affect the race strategy so we will have to be more dynamic in this area.”

Williams won the first Austrian Grand Prix at the former A1 Ring in 1997 with Jacques Villeneuve driving, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished third that year. The team added another podium with Juan Pablo Montoya finishing third in 2002, albeit heavily overlooked given that year’s Ferrari team orders controversy where Rubens Barrichello pulled aside for Michael Schumacher on the last lap.

Williams also won in Austria in 1979 (Alan Jones) and 1987 (Nigel Mansell) at the A1 Ring’s predecessor, the Osterreichring.

Latest Posts
  1. Will Kahne be able once again at Pocono? (VIDEO)

    Aug 1, 2014, 6:12 PM EDT

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    One year ago, Kahne effectively put himself into the Chase with a win at Pocono. Another win on Sunday at the Tricky Triangle could do it again.

  2. Kyle Larson bags first career Sprint Cup pole at Pocono

    Aug 1, 2014, 5:12 PM EDT

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Is his first career Sprint Cup win not too far off? Larson’s lap of 183.438 mph is enough to earn pole position for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400.

  3. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET

    Aug 1, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Coming up today: Kasey Kahne on his hunt for a Chase-clinching win; expectations for Denny Hamlin’s interim crew chief; Dale Jr. and IndyCar’s Graham Rahal visit National Guard soldiers; the many nuances of Pocono Raceway; Ty Dillon looks back on an extraordinary weekend at Indy.

  4. NASCAR: Kyle Larson, Timothy Peters tops in Pocono Truck practice

    Aug 1, 2014, 3:43 PM EDT

    Kyle Larson AP

    Larson and Peters go 1-2 in the first Truck practice, then flip-flop in the second practice at Pocono.

  5. NASCAR AMERICA Minute: What makes Pocono unique? (VIDEO)

    Aug 1, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Pocono 400 Getty Images

    Former Pocono winner Kyle Petty explains the aspects that set Pocono apart from the rest of NASCAR’s tracks.

  6. Bourdais on top in second IndyCar practice

    Aug 1, 2014, 3:10 PM EDT

    Sebastien Bourdais AP

    Toronto winner leads second practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series on Friday.

  7. Kenseth: Not having crew chief at track is like “missing your head coach”

    Aug 1, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Kenseth’s teammate, Denny Hamlin, does not have regular crew chief Darian Grubb behind him this weekend, as Grubb has begun serving his six-race suspension.

  8. F1 2014 mid-season report: The story so far and the story to come

    Aug 1, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Austria F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    In the final part of our 2014 mid-season review, we look at the storylines that have defined the season so far and take a look at what we may be talking about come the end of the year.

  9. Dale Jr., Johnson looking forward to working with Greg Ives in 2015

    Aug 1, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    GregIvesCrop Getty Images

    Ives has won multiple Sprint Cup titles as an engineer for Jimmie Johnson, but will be making his Cup debut as a crew chief when he joins forces with Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season.

  10. Study: NASCAR drivers, CEOs share similar talents

    Aug 1, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    nascarlogo

    NASCAR drivers are known for trading paint, spinning out rivals and are seemingly always ready for a fight. And those are just some of the same elements that NASCAR drivers share with CEO’s of some of the best middle-market companies, according to a new story.

  11. NASCAR: Kurt Busch tops Friday Cup practice at Pocono

    Aug 1, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Busch posts a lap of 180.353 mph around the 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle.

  12. JTG Daugherty creates new ‘rewards program’ for fans

    Aug 1, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    jtg daugherty logo

    Much like a frequent flier or frequent hotel guest program, JTG Daugherty has created the first ‘rewards program’ for fans to earn awards and prizes using engagement with the team and its sponsors through social media.

  13. F1 2014 mid-season report: Grading the drivers so far

    Aug 1, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    In part two of our mid-season report, we look at the drivers: who has excelled and who has floundered in 2014?

  14. Chip Ganassi to be honored for achievements in his racing career

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:34 AM EDT

    ToyotaCare 250 Getty Images

    Multi-motorsports team owner Chip Ganassi will be honored August 7 in Corning, N.Y., for more than a quarter-century of contributions to the auto racing world.

  15. Austin Dillon goes from hot asphalt to cold steel on ice

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Austin Dillon isn’t skating through his rookie season in Sprint Cup. Everything he achieves, he earns. But Dillon did try skating of a different kind and took to it like a natural.

  16. Hunter-Reay fastest in first IndyCar practice at Mid-Ohio

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT

    Iowa Corn Indy 300 - Day 1 Getty Images

    The American goes P1 with a lap of 1 minute, 6.5316 seconds in the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda.

  17. F1 2014 mid-season report: Grading the teams so far

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Monaco Getty Images

    We grade the eleven teams for their seasons so far as F1 embarks on its summer break.

  18. Poll: Would you like to see timed races in NASCAR?

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:10 AM EDT

    Would you like to see the Daytona 500 become the 3.5 Hours of Daytona? Take our poll below on whether NASCAR should consider switching to timed races. Would you like to see the Daytona 500 become the 3.5 Hours of Daytona? Take our poll below on whether NASCAR should consider switching to timed races.

    Should NASCAR consider shifting to a format that features timed races instead of hundreds of miles or laps? Let’s get your take in our poll.

  19. Massa expecting strong second half of 2014 for Williams

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Felipe Massa AP

    Brazilian driver confident that tracks such as Spa, Monza and the Circuit of the Americas will suit the FW36 car.

  20. IMSA: DeltaWing revitalizes, improves its Braselton race shop

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

    Photo: DeltaWing Racing Cars Photo: DeltaWing Racing Cars

    The DeltaWing team makes new shop upgrades as it plans for the future.