Arz / Wikimedia Commons
The current circuit is black, the old one grey.
The Red Bull Ring, formerly known as the A1-Ring, was the first full circuit designed by Hermann Tilke. It features the fewest corners of any circuit on the current calendar and one of the shortest laps.
Only Monaco and Interlagos are shorter.
It was built on the site of—and based on the layout of—the old Osterreichring. If you look at satellite images of the circuit, most of the old track is still visible (Red Bull Ring on Bing Maps).
It's not a perfect venue for F1. The new circuit lacks the brutal character of the old one, with the quick sweeps replaced by tight, slow turns, while the straights may not be long enough for "modern" overtaking. The old name was nicer, too.
But as Tilke tracks go, this is still one of the best.
A lap begins, as laps always do, on the pit straight. The track rises on the run up to Turn 1, a tight right-hander with an uphill braking zone. This means the drivers can brake a little later than they would if the approach was flat.
We may well see some contact here on the opening lap because there's only really room for one car—the two- or even three-abreast racing we see at some tracks won't work here. Crashes were quite common when F1 visited the venue in the past.
This is one of the three best overtaking spots on the circuit, and with some DRS assistance, we might even see some late-braking lunges.
It leads out on to the Red Bull Ring's longest straight.
The straight goes first downhill then uphill through a series of tiny curves as it heads towards Turn 2, an even tighter right-hander. As straights go, it's a beauty.
The braking zone is again uphill, meaning the drivers can brake a little bit later.
This was always the premium overtaking location in the past, but with DRS now a factor elsewhere it may no longer be the preferred spot.
It leads out onto another, shorter straight.
This straight isn't really straight either. It undulates up, down, up and down again, ending with the downhill braking zone for Turn 3.
Again it's a slow right, the circuit continuing to drop downhill through the corner. There's a DRS zone leading into here, so again overtaking might be possible.
Turns 4, 5, 6 and 7
After three corners in isolation, they start to come thick and fast. Turn 3 exits into a long, gentle right-hander which is Turn 4.
It leads into Turn 5, a medium-speed downhill left. After a short straight comes Turn 6, another left, and again it's medium-speed.
Turn 7 is a flat-out right-hand kink immediately after the exit of Turn 6, and it leads out on to a short straight.
Turns 8 and 9
Coming towards the end of the lap, the drivers head downhill through the medium-speed right of Turn 8.
Still going downhill, they brake for the final corner, Turn 9. This one is a slow-medium right-hander. A good exit is crucial, but it can be tricky to get it right—expect to see a few cars run wide on the outside here, especially during practice.
We're now on to the pit straight, and it's a clear run to the start-finish line.
The pit lane entry is on the inside immediately after Turn 8, and the exit is just after Turn 1.