F1 Grand Prix Preview: Austria
FORMULA 1 GROSSER PREIS VON ÖSTERREICH 2015
Date: 21st June 2015
Circuit Name: Red Bull Ring
First Grand Prix: 1970
Type: Permanent, purpose built race track. Undulating and scenic.
Circuit Length: 4. 326 km
Lap Record: 1:08.337, Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F2003 (2003)
Tyre Allocation: Soft (Yellow) and Super Soft (Red)
DRS Zones: Two (Pit straight and the back straight of sector two)
Formula 1 is indeed entertainment. It comes with a balanced romance of thrills and speed, danger and talent. However there can be an entirely separate appreciation for the noise alone that a Formula 1 engine expels.
It is easy to be thankful of lateral and vertical G-forces, cornering speeds and breaking distances, but nothing can measure against the 147db of a Formula 1 car’s drive by. Any louder and the vibrations become nearly impossible for a person to close his/her throat. Over the years, we have seen regulations change, and with that there have been deviations in the pitch and loudness of engines – each with its very own unique traits. In the 50’s drivers, engineers and fans alike were treated to the rugged, coarse sounds of a v16 BRM. Its noise was so imperfect and unrefined it was simply beautiful. One can only imagine how it could have shattered the delicate silence of British countryside all those years ago. Then came more developments in regulations which brought the shrieking sound of the v12 Ligier Matra to Formula 1’s ears during the 70’s and was a difficult benchmark tone for any engine maker to equal. Not many have been lucky enough to be graced with the prompt blare of a Ligier Matra in the flesh. Hearing driver vs. machine shifting through gears and away into the distant regions of a track is a pleasure that only a lucky handful have had the privilege to listen to. Then, during the 1980’s, we witnessed Formula 1’s first era of turbo charged cars, and with it, came its own distinctively terrifying racket. Cars reached roughly 1400 bhp during qualifying days. Twin turbo engines would have a deafening roar with flames spitting and licking the air around the rear exhausts. It was so frightening it looked almost sinister. Come 1989, the world of F1 was set to return to the pleasures and sounds of naturally aspirated engines. Fans were treated to the high pitched revving screams of the cars that would make the 90’s and the first decade of the 2000’s an infamous chapter of Formula 1.
Formula One is an international sport that has touched the tarmac on every populated continent on Earth. The smell of burnt rubber and spilled fuel that once intoxicated the minds of fans in Europe, Scandinavia and Africa has been disappearing for some time now, and is feared to be lost for good unless a certain somebody (Bernie Ecclestone) does something about it.
What has happened to Formula One? Once a sport that took teams, drivers and spectators to the most exclusive F1 venues in the world, it now has a flip side. Where hosts such as France, Holland, Sweden and South Africa once held some of the most classic races on the most classic tracks that vibrated with buzzing atmospheres. Tracks were adored by spectators and respected by drivers. With long straights, fast bends and swaying chambers, the Formula 1 of yesteryear gives the sport the fantastic and heroic history it deserves. The modern era has sadly seen somewhat of a downturn. Yes, Formula 1 should spread to the far corners of the world, but do races need to be staged there? Possibly not.