Red Bull Ring
The Red Bull Ring was built in 1969 and back then it was known as the Österreichring. After a rebrand as the A1 ring, the circuit in Spielberg was renamed the Red Bull Ring named after its new owner, which has been welcoming the Austrian Grand Prix since 2013.
After the Österreichring is 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 win 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 is the first winner of the Austrian Grand Prix for Ferrari. In 1971 the circuits has its black chapter when Mark Donohue dies during a free practice session. Donohue loses control over his March and in his crash a marshal is also killed instantly. At first sight Donohue seems to be okay, but he died at the hospital from an internal bleeding in his head.
Alain Prost is the man in Spielberg
Despite the tragic death, the Grand Prix of that year still continues and the Österreichring will remain on the calendar until 1987. In the meantime the Swiss driver Jo Siffert now manages to win the official variant, but there are also bigger names on the podium in Spielberg. Emerson Fittipaldi wins 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 disappears from the F1 calendar. The circuit is too long for the modern era and so some adjustments have to be made. The Österreichring is renamed the A1-Ring and the track got a redesign done by Hermann Tilke. However, in 1997 the circuit only returns to the calendar, to give Jacques Villeneuve his sixth victory of his championship year.
The circuit remains on the calendar until 2003 and is dominated by Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher who each win twice on the A1-Ring. However, Formula 1 has outgrown the circuit and facilities and so Bernie Ecclestone decides that the A1-Ring has no place on the F1 calendar from 2004 onwards.
The Red Bull project
After Dietrich Mateschitz announced in 2005 that Red Bull does not need an outdated circuit, the Austrian organisation has been investing heavily in the Spielberg circuit since 2008. The A1 Ring will be transformed into the Red Bull Ring and it is said that some 70 million euros has been spent on the project in order to modernize 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 will also pass by and fans will see historic cars from Formula 1 race by during the FIA event.
At the end of 2012 Red Bull is in talks with Bernie Ecclestone about a return to Formula 1 and when the street race in New York is cancelled, Austria will finally get another Formula 1 race in 2014. Red Bull Racing has just won four world titles with Sebastian Vettel, but scoring in front of its own audience was not going to work. Vettel ends up in the garage after an electronic problem and Daniel Ricciardo has to make do with eighth place.
Four years in a row Mercedes manages to dominate the GP of Austria, but Red Bull still gets value for money from 2018. As more and more Dutch people fill the stands, it's Max Verstappen who dominates the victory. The crowd is in ecstasy and will be surprised again a year later, when Verstappen wins again from a beaten position after a terrible start.