After the Österreichring was completed, it immediately became notorious due to a Formula 1 race that didn’t count for the world championship. Jo Siffert and Kurt Ahrens both won for Porsche in 1969. The race was a success and in 1970 it immediately got a place on the official Formula 1 calendar.
In 1970 Jacky Ickx became the first winner of the Austrian Grand Prix for Ferrari. In 1971 the circuits had its darkest chapter when Mark Donohue died during a free practice session. Donohue lost control of his March and in his crash, a marshal was also killed instantly. At first sight, Donohue seemed to be okay, but he died at the hospital from internal bleeding.
Alain Prost is the man in Spielberg
Despite the tragic death, the Grand Prix of that year continued and the Österreichring remained on the calendar until 1987. In the meantime, the Swiss driver Jo Siffert managed to win the official version, but there are also bigger names on the podium in Spielberg. Emerson Fittipaldi won in 1972, Carlos Reutemann in 1974 and Alan Jones twice in 1977 and 1979.
However, the record holder on the circuit in Spielberg is still Alain Prost. The Frenchman won in his McLaren three times the race between 1983 and 1986, in which he was only beaten once by home hero Niki Lauda. This makes Lauda the only Austrian to this day who managed to win his home race in an official Formula 1 championship.
The new A1 Ring
After the victory of Nigel Mansell in 1987, the Grand Prix of Austria disappeared from the F1 calendar. The circuit was too long for the modern era and so some adjustments were made. The Österreichring was renamed the A1-Ring and the track got redesigned by Hermann Tilke. In 1997 the circuit returns to the calendar, to give Jacques Villeneuve the sixth victory of his championship year.
The circuit remained on the calendar until 2003 and was dominated by Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher who each win twice on the A1-Ring. However, Formula 1 outgrew the circuit and facilities and so Bernie Ecclestone decided that the A1-Ring had no place on the F1 calendar from 2004 onwards.
The Red Bull project
The Red Bull organisation had been investing heavily in the Spielberg circuit from 2008 onwards. The A1 Ring was transformed into the Red Bull Ring and it is said that some 70 million euros have been spent on the project in order to modernise the circuit.
In 2009 the circuit was reopened and since 2011 it officially returned as a race track, while the Red Bull Ring also got a place on the DTM calendar of that year. In the same year, Formula 2 passed by.
Max Verstappen is now the most successful driver on the circuit with four wins to his name. Lewis Hamilton has two, whilst Charles Leclerc got his first win in 2022.