Red Bull Ring
Red Bull Ring's Race Calendar
Tickets were surprisingly cheap compared to the other races in the calendar. For such an amazing circuit it unsurprisingly sold out fast. I was able to catch a pair when they came back up for sale after a few cancellations, so made it my 2014 grand prix and took my Dad.
Tickets are available via BookF1.
100,000 F1 fans descended onto the circuit for the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix but despite large crowd the roads and infrastructure never seemed strained. We flew to the capital city of Vienna and travelled down to the circuit on the Friday by car (2 hour drive), poor signage on the location of the campsite was the only criticism in an otherwise flawless journey. It depends when you’re travelling but having seen the cars streaming into the circuit on the Sunday morning, looking out towards the carparks an hour before the race start it was clear that all the cars had made it in.
During the Day
Being a central European track there was a full compliment of support races on the schedule. Whilst the track was being prepared for the final F1 race the entertainment took to the sky with airshows and flybys.
The lower crowd levels on the Friday allows a great chance to walk around the entire circuit gaining a good vantage point from every corner.
On a general admission ticket you can get a great view of the action from the hill overlooking the heavy breaking zone – and main overtaking zone – of turn 2. Also the hills surrounding turn 3 give a similar view.
If you’re going grandstand then the main granstand on the straight between turns 1 and 2 gives an unprecedented view across the entire circuit with a view of all but one of the corners on the track – we were in the upper section of the Red Bull stand (K). I was able to talk through the race, strategy and key points of the race to my Dad (who’d not previously watched a full race) as we could follow the cars on track.
An alternative grandstand suggestion would be the ‘East’ or ‘Red Bull Mobile’ section which gives a great view of the final corner where the majority of the action took place. Downside is that it’s only a small section of the track which is visible but did have a good ‘big screen’ clearly visible.
It’s worth noting the lack of security around the circuit after the ontrack action stops. Head over to the main grandstand and watch the teams work into the night in the pits gaining an often unseen view of the mechanics working hard after each session.
Without the longstanding history of circuits like Spa-Francorchamps the nightlife seemed to be a little confused and generally spreads across the campsites and in the main carpark area where a concert venue was setup. Generally the best way to find a party was to keep walking and dive in to one of many popup pubs or bars – We found numerous popup places to drop in for a pint, sometimes a campervan hastily converted to a bar or others farmers were out in the barn with a full pub setup.
Crowd and Atmosphere
A strong mix of German and Austrian fans ensured a disjointed favouritism towards Red Bull and Mercedes with a surprisingly small amount fans from elsewhere in Europe despite the central European location.
The atmosphere in 2014 was quite reserved, with no clear home favourite and a race that simmered but never boiled the crowd never quite reached the hype I’ve seen with Silverstone or Monza.
Where to Stay
There is only a small availability of exclusive hotels at the circuit, the best bet would be the nearest town of Graz. Camping surrounds the circuit on three sides ensuring an early wakeup from the sound of the track. Cheap and affordable the camping is a good bet but with the campsites run by local farmers they’re hit or miss as to whether they have a complete service – We stayed at the ‘Campsite Pink’, toilets were few and there only seemed to be one unisex shower room (a little Spartan).
Tickets are available via BookF1.
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