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2020 Austrian Grand Prix Build-up Thread (finally!)


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#1 TomNokoe

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 00:06

F1 IS BACK!

After an aborted start in Melbourne, an extra formation lap of planning, logistics, and determination brings us to this point, where we can once again say - IT'S RACE WEEK!

Memories of winter testing have long faded away, like fingerprints on an abandoned handrail, replaced by foolish enthusiasm, and the anticipation of what might happen over the coming months.

In 7 short days, we will take the first steps into our new unknown, greeted by the low growl of 20 expectant pilots, dancing to the drum of five r e d lights. It's Grand Prix racing, but not as we know it.

Welcome to Round 1 of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship.


Austria-Start.jpg

The Circuit
 

Circuit.png
 

 

The familiar Red Bull Ring plays host to the first of a season-opening double header. A bumpy, challenging, sausage-kerb-ridden assault that will wipe away the cobwebs immediately. A short, sharp lap will punish mistakes and focus skill. Speedy straights, technical twists and final-sector sweepers, all played out at 700m above sea level, a welcome challenge for the teams and engineers.


What happened last year?




Did you forget? A sweltering, Spielberg-surprise, worthy of Hollywood. Verstappen overcame an awful start to steal victory from the young and innocent Leclerc - the first chapter in their bubbling rivalry.

 

Battle of future champions!

 

That was a phenomenal afternoon of racing.

 

YAAAASS MAX!! YAAAAS. Go Honda!

 

What will happen this year?  (a mini season/race preview)

 

Mercedes enter as favourites (or do they?) on the back of 6 drivers' and constructors' titles. A typically strong winter and the introduction of DAS proving they continue to leave no stone unturned. Yet more upgrades are on the horizon, even before a wheel is turned. The heat that befell them last year isn't forecast this, and with a vastly superior cooling package, carried over from the end of 2019, it's only fitting to describe them as they are: ominous. Mika Hakkinen has been singing Bottas' praises recently, no longer Bottas 2.0 or 2.1, but rather, MK Bottas! But who would look past Lewis? Renewed over the break, with a fresh sense of both sporting and personal purpose. The champion.

 

Red Bull begin as their closest challengers. An un-typically strong winter, buoyed by late-season momentum and a brilliant victory in Brazil. A blossoming relationship with Honda and upgrades of their own, there's no doubt they are going toe-to-toe with Mercedes. Could this be the year the sleeping Bull awakens? A happy hunting ground for Max, who will be searching for a famous three-peat, albeit behind closed doors. Albon will look to build on solid foundations.

Ferrari arrives under the shroud of mystery. Power unit settlements and driver departures paint a picture of turmoil, but the inadvertent break allowed for the calming of spring. No longer thrust into the limelight of a difficult Melbourne, but time to gather and refine. Rumours of a new gearbox and engine have been quashed, but there's every chance we'll see a different Scuderia than that of Barcelona. Leclerc will hope to avenge last year's defeat, whilst Vettel will need to start this year - his final year? - on the right foot. The gloves may already be off before we've even begun. Never a dull moment.

McLaren harbour hopes of progress, after finally steering their ship around. A quiet winter underlined by quiet confidence, despite the departure of their star driver. No great stories of optimism or upgrades. Under-promise, over-deliver? A reminder of Sainz's great drive from the pit-lane last year, and the continuing growth of the newly-confident Lando. Strong contenders in the upper midfield. How many smooooooth operations will we see this year?

 

Renault is searching for a big year. On one hand we hear they are re-using the same tub from 2019, on the other we hear of le triple upgrade. Do you really trust the everlasting promise of Cyril Abiteboul? But it was a winter testing that wasn't actually that bad, and a driver line-up that's even better. Ricciardo starved of success, Ocon starved of racing. This was Renault's worst race last year, can they start the season with a dramatic turnaround? Google > "famous french sayings" - Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.

 

Racing Point is aiming high. Coined by the many as the ultimate underdog, they start the season with a view to fulfilling that title. The cunning Andy Green unveiled a blushing Mercedes in Barcelona, with eyes on more than just solid points. It's time for the perennial shoe-stringers to pull up their bootstraps and fight with the big boys. With Perez they have as good a bet as any. And perhaps when push comes to shove, Stroll will find his feet in the deep end.

 

Alpha Tauri joined the fashionistas in winter. A new look, but the same faces for the Faenza squad. The first year in a while where they start the season with the same driver line-up as the last, albeit the maligned Gasly and Kvyat will be fighting the Red Bull programme as much as they are each other. If testing is anything to go by, the loss of James Key wasn't all that severe. A difficult task to match two rostrums from last year, but the plucky Honda juniors will be up for the fight.

 

Alfa Romeo has seemingly faded into anonymity. With Kimi drifting towards retirement, and Giovinazzi overlooked for the Ferrari seat, will it turn out as one of those years? A stuttering 2019 was met by a worrying winter, but it would be ludicrous to devote only two lines of thread to the passion and drive injected by Peter Sauber, now carried gainfully by Fred Vasseur. The same question marks that hover over Ferrari also linger here, but they are firm midfield challengers, and no doubt Kimi has a trick or two left to share.

 

Haas has gone from a usurping upstart to a Netflix no-hoper. The only thread of good news will be the continuation of Pirelli's 2019 rubber, and a chance to finally understand their machine. Worrying whispers of no upgrades have already arisen. But with the continuation of Grosjean and Magnussen, you can't fault their effort and aggression. For once, maybe playing the little guy will work to their advantage. Let's hope Gene Haas' pockets are as deep as his patience.

 

And finally, Williams is up for sale and has changed liveries, but this thread-writer senses better times ahead. A wholly remarkable winter turnaround, with genuine progress made. Taking a dive into subjectivity, my punt for a surprise result this weekend. A few aero tweaks have already been confirmed, and they race with the newly-crowned Virtual GP champion, fancy. If you can hope for any team this season, hope for Williams.

 

Miscellaneous
I have to go to work in 7 hours so let's wrap this up...

 

Tyres.jpg

 

Aust-Weatherv3.png

 

Every team is given the same allocation of tyres. The compounds this weekend (and next) are C2 - C3 - C4, exactly the same as last year.
 

They'll be no 35°C heat this year, so hopefully the cars will be able to follow closely without worrying about cooling.

If last year was a relatively easy one-stop, it's likely this year will be as well.

The schedule is no different than Liberty-normal. If you are time zone weary, please use the reliable F1.com converter.


The Keys to the Race, "etc."

Who will prevail from the top 3? Can Max take the fight to Lewis?
Are Ferrari doomed? Can Seb relight the fire one last time?
Someone make sense of the midfield?!

Can Williams discover respectability?
What if it actually rains?

Something something coronavirus

 

Background.jpg

A reminder, this thread is for build-up, practice, and qualifying.
 

Please post your predictions, hopes, fears, and dreams, "etc." below.

Pictures of shipping containers, paddock preparation, and mask-wearing personalities are definitely welcome.
__

 

A word for Buddy - we will all be thinking of you on Sunday. RIP. :( :up:


Edited by TomNokoe, 02 July 2020 - 09:00.


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#2 RacingGreen

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 00:32

Welcome back F1 and everyone out there. Great OP Tom.


Edited by RacingGreen, 29 June 2020 - 00:33.


#3 sportyskells

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 04:43

Looking forward to the race after a long wait for it plus I can use my do not disturb sign for the 1st time

Edited by sportyskells, 29 June 2020 - 04:44.


#4 WouterF1

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 07:03

No motorhomes in Austria.

 

https://www.instagra.../p/CB9-YWGImHe/



#5 Heyli

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 07:04

Looking forward to it!



#6 ANF

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 07:34

No motorhomes in Austria.
 
https://www.instagra.../p/CB9-YWGImHe/

The old normal. :up:

#7 noikeee

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 07:34

Expecting controversies on who developed their car the most the last few months somehow despite the lockdowns, in 3, 2, 1...

#8 BRK

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 07:50

Great post, so glad F1 is back. 

 

My hopes (in that order) - 

  • COVID slowly, but surely, recedes in the months to come with growing immunity and / or a vaccine
  • F1 crews have minimal COVID incidence
  • Seb is able to compete for the world title
  • We have a 15+ race calendar
  • All teams are able to stay afloat, financially
  • We have an unpredictable season with cars other than the Mercs winning
  • We go to Mugello, Portimao
  • We can have fans at the last few races

My fears - 

  • A suspended season due to multiple COVID cases and spread
  • A Mercedes walkover. Again.


#9 Marklar

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 07:51

I like how you can tell which F1 journos are supposed to be there by the amount of crying over how painful the Corona test is

#10 SilverArrow31

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 07:58

Boy is this a sight for sore eyes..... we're back everybody!  :clap:



#11 CrashPad

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 08:05

I was in Spielberg last year for the race weekend and can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, a brilliant experience!

Fantastic location and athmosphere, will be going back at some point. And what a race it was.

 

Bring on the weekend  :cool:



#12 statman

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 08:15

jdfpmnzt2t751.gif



#13 68targa

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 08:18

F3, F2, and a GP this weekend - thought it would never happen. Can it really be 7 months. Cancel the gardening :)



#14 Risil

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 08:40

Thank you Tom! This feels good.

#15 GoldenColt

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 08:42

Glad to see some racing again this weekend, hopefully it'll be a cracking GP despite the circumstances.



#16 Ivanhoe

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 08:43

:clap: Great OP Tom! :clap:



#17 Jellyfishcake

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 09:02

It's funny I hadn't been looking forward to this season, paid the least amount of attention to pre-season testing than I ever have.

 

But after 31 weeks since the end of the 2019 season (I think) I am now firmly in the camp of being excited for the season, and for it to be starting in Austria with Formula 2 and Formula 3 it feels like it should be a great sceptical.



#18 Beri

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 09:13

Great great great OP Tom! You just made my blood going again where it was stale since the Melbourne debacle. Excited for this weekend! Bring it on!

 

Note: Just a sprout from my mind: Perhaps moderators can change the Thread title from (Finally!) to (For Buddy). I think that would be suiting.



#19 Anja

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 09:16

Gosh, I'm so hyped up for this. And with F2, F3, and IndyCar also happening this weekend, it will be a truly #blessed one.



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#20 Stephane

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 09:16

It's funny I hadn't been looking forward to this season, paid the least amount of attention to pre-season testing than I ever have.

But after 31 weeks since the end of the 2019 season (I think) I am now firmly in the camp of being excited for the season, and for it to be starting in Austria with Formula 2 and Formula 3 it feels like it should be a great sceptical.


The opposite here, I was so eager to see it starts in Melbourne. Now I just realise I didn't miss it that much. Happy it's back, but not that excited

#21 TomNokoe

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 09:21

Thank you Tom! This feels good.

Yeah, doesn't it?

I speak only for myself but recent events close to both this forum and wider society have almost overwhelmed me, there's just so much going on. I probably need to stay off social media, to be honest.

But this place? In the words of Patrice Evra, I love this gameplace!



#22 GlenWatkins

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 09:35

Gosh, I'm so hyped up for this. And with F2, F3, and IndyCar also happening this weekend, it will be a truly #blessed one.

 

Right!  It's been a long slog these past 3 months, I cannot remember the last time I was so excited for a weekend of racing!   :clap:



#23 Marklar

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 09:45

I am expecting controversies with positive tests, so my excitement is still very limited  :lol:



#24 Spillage

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:03

I'm excited. Also any OP that quotes Bob Mortimer gets a like from me.

#25 SparkPlug86

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:19

Woooohoooo! Nice OP Tom :) Can't wait  :clap:



#26 jonpollak

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:25

This weekend is gonna be stonking!!!
Jp

#27 ConsiderAndGo

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:28

Looking forward to this. Not looking forward to the hammering Ferrari will get, mind!

#28 Boxerevo

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:28

giphy.gif



#29 Disgrace

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:46

I mean, if there's a single case in the paddock during the weekend, what then? I can't say I'm too excited just yet.



#30 BRG

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:14

Glad to see some racing again this weekend, hopefully it'll be a cracking GP despite the circumstances.

The only downside (apart from all the virus-related downsides) is that, being the Red Bull Ring, the F1 season will start with an almighty pile-up at the first corner.  It is always so in Austria and more so when it is the first ever corner of the year.   Expect a heap of broken Mercs, Ferraris and Red Bulls.  At least that might mean a new winner...



#31 Ali623

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:31

I mean, if there's a single case in the paddock during the weekend, what then? I can't say I'm too excited just yet.

 

Everyone is being tested multiple times before they go to Austria, so really anyone who has it should be picked up before the enter the F1 bubble. If anyone gets it between that time, it should be discovered pretty quickly due to constant testing and they'll have only interacted with people in their bubble so only those who interacted with them would have to be quarantined until given the all clear. 

 

Football seems to be managing fine and that involves a lot more people.



#32 TheFish

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:33

I can't wait.

 

Who looked good in pre season? Mercedes walkover expected?



#33 goldenboy

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:46

Yeah, doesn't it?

I speak only for myself but recent events close to both this forum and wider society have almost overwhelmed me, there's just so much going on. I probably need to stay off social media, to be honest.

But this place? In the words of Patrice Evra, I love this gameplace!

I deleted instagram and deactivated fb for the last 3 months. Best decision I've made in a long time. Give it a try, you will not regret it.

#34 f12018

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:47

so will merc use das and if they do will red bull protest it



#35 ARTGP

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:48

so will merc use das and if they do will red bull protest it

 

:lol: . oh ffs.  


Edited by ARTGP, 29 June 2020 - 11:48.


#36 ConsiderAndGo

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:52

so will merc use das and if they do will red bull protest it

I've missed this kinda thing  :clap:  :rotfl:



#37 Beri

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 12:00

We should have a bingo. Words that will be used in every broadcast in every language this weekend:

 

- Corona

- Face masks

- Quarantine

- Bubble

- DAS

- Protest

- Black Lives Matter

- Upgrades

- 4 months since Melbourne

..

 

Who has got some more?


Edited by Beri, 29 June 2020 - 12:01.


#38 noikeee

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 12:08

I can't wait.

 

Who looked good in pre season? Mercedes walkover expected?

 

Pretty much, yeah. Merc walkover expected, RB might be the only team that could challenge them, Ferrari looked in trouble or at least with a fairly average car, and Racing Point looked really good largely thanks to the car being a copy of last year's Mercedes.

 

The Red Bull Ring is a bit of a weird, unique circuit though, I'm not sure it will show a true pecking order for the season.



#39 MasterOfCoin

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 12:27

The Hype Band.....



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#40 Quickshifter

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 12:34

7 corners in reality as turn 2 is basically a easily flat kink in f1 cars. Getting in to Q3 will be a bloodbath. The top three teams won't have it easy especially in qualifying where the margins are going to be ultra slim. Drivers will make a difference. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two from top three teams fail to make the cut for Q3.

McLaren, Racing Point and Renault will ruffle some feathers on this track. This track is short and not too technical. On a qualifying lap with sticky tyres anything can happen. Renault and Honda are good at high altitude and this will play a role. Can't wait to hear the sound of engines revving at max pelt.

Edited by Quickshifter, 29 June 2020 - 12:36.


#41 Risil

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:00

The Red Bull Ring is a bit of a weird, unique circuit though, I'm not sure it will show a true pecking order for the season.

 

Which other more traditional season-opening Grand Prix does this remind me of!



#42 ANF

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:08

Gosh, I'm so hyped up for this. And with F2, F3, and IndyCar also happening this weekend, it will be a truly #blessed one.

And there's a 2h40m IMSA WeatherTech race at Daytona!

#43 Myrvold

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:09

7 corners in reality as turn 2 is basically a easily flat kink in f1 cars. Getting in to Q3 will be a bloodbath. The top three teams won't have it easy especially in qualifying where the margins are going to be ultra slim. Drivers will make a difference. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two from top three teams fail to make the cut for Q3.

 

When did this become a 10 corner track for F1?

 

I could've sworn that it always was 8 corners. What they now call T2 was no corner, and what's now T4 and 5 used to be T3.



#44 Myrvold

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:10

Gosh, I'm so hyped up for this. And with F2, F3, and IndyCar also happening this weekend, it will be a truly #blessed one.

 

I should in theory be hyped for F3, as we got a Norwegian Red Bull jr driver debuting in F3.

 

But, you know. IndyCar... :)



#45 jpm2019

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:12

FINALLY !!!!!!!

 

NEED MY FIX !!!!!! 

Can't wait. Will watch all the Free Practises for the first time ever. 



#46 Heyli

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:24

I think it#s a bit of a shame that the temperatures wont be that high though. I think that also helped with the past 2 ones to make things more interesting during the race. Would be cool if the weather is completely different in the Styrian GP then though ;). 



#47 Okyo

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:25

so will merc use das and if they do will red bull protest it

Aww yeah, that's the stuff right there. Need a few comments from Max, a calm interview from Toto and a slight jab back from Lewis on the podium and i got my fix   :smoking:


Edited by Okyo, 29 June 2020 - 13:31.


#48 balmybaldwin

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:30

We should have a bingo. Words that will be used in every broadcast in every language this weekend:

 

- Corona

- Face masks

- Quarantine

- Bubble

- DAS

- Protest

- Black Lives Matter

- Upgrades

- 4 months since Melbourne

..

 

Who has got some more?

I had completely forgoten about DAS... wonder who else has it now?



#49 Okyo

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:33

We should have a bingo. Words that will be used in every broadcast in every language this weekend:

 

- Corona

- Face masks

- Quarantine

- Bubble

- DAS

- Protest

- Black Lives Matter

- Upgrades

- 4 months since Melbourne

..

 

Who has got some more?

Settlement



#50 7MGTEsup

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 13:47

Do we think Racing Point are going to be in the mix or was pre season just a bust?