Austrian GP Preview 2024
Published:
June 27, 2024

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The Formula One season is sprinting towards its halfway point at next week's Silverstone race, so it's apt that the second round of the European tripleheader sees Sprint's return. The Austrian GP has hosted the short-form racing format in the previous two seasons with high-speed action. The altered 2024 Sprint schedule will again see two races around the scenic Spielberg circuit as F1 continues its busy summer.

After a tightly-fought contest in Spain on Sunday, it's all to play for in Austria for the four top teams who all could challenge for a win. Max Verstappen bested Lando Norris off the start line in Barcelona and hasn't taken pole position for three consecutive races. Yes, he's the man with one hand on the championship trophy, but it's becoming increasingly challenging for the Dutch driver to seal his victories. Might someone else ruin Red Bull's homecoming?

What to Watch Out for in the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix

Sprint is still a contentious subject for F1 purists. However, with Austria hosting the final Sprint weekend until the United States GP in October, this additional 100km of racing around the ten-turn track is the last for a while. The grid is so tightly packed that there's every chance of an overtaking bonanza in both the Grand Prix and Sprint over the weekend.

Spielberg is an undulating rollercoaster around its 4.318 km length that sees wheel-to-wheel battling into the uphill braking zone at Turn 3, then again on the downhill run to Turn 4. With lap times clocking in at a little over a minute, there's never too long to wait for a fight to continue. We've recently seen Verstappen, Norris, and the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers fight at the front. It's a perfect setting for more of the same.

Rain has often played its part on an Austrian GP weekend thanks to the nearby mountains pushing up the clouds. Changes in the weather can happen fast, and with just one Free Practice session, even a brief shower has a high chance of affecting one of the four competitive sessions. The forecast looks its worst on Sunday, too, making each team's strategists nervous about how best to handle any wet weather running.

Austrian GP Preview 2024

2024 Austrian Grand Prix Pirelli Tyre Choices

Pirelli has the fastest three tyre options for the teams and drivers in Austria. That means the C3, C4, and C5 tyres are available, and those with cars that are kinder on their tyres will be at an advantage, despite Spielberg being relatively low in tyre wear. Anyone able to take their Pirellis further into the race should open more strategic options.

Two-stop strategies played out in Spain, and that's likely to be the same in Austria. Expect to see the drivers equip yellow and white-walled Medium and Hard compounds throughout the races, with the C5 Soft tyre reserved for Qualifying and Sprint Qualifying. Of course, should the rain clouds appear, a switch to the intermediate or full wet tyre will come.

Who Could Win the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix?

If you haven't watched Formula One recently and keep seeing news of Verstappen's victories, don't assume he has the same dominance levels he enjoyed in 2022 and 2023. That couldn't be further from the truth; the three-time champion needs to drive perfect races to cross the line first as 2024 has progressed and the grid has tightened.

An ill-timed Safety Car effectively handed Verstappen the win in Canada, and Norris' poor start and his team's equally poor strategy lost the McLaren driver the win in Spain. In short, you could consider Verstappen fortunate to have prevailed in June's other two races. Red Bull does not have the fastest car anymore, as evidenced by his teammate Sergio Perez languishing in no man's land, well adrift of his rivals.

With Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz also winning races in 2024 and Mercedes finally catching up to their peers, Austria could go in any direction. Verstappen has the most wins at the circuit, with four top-step finishes, but he's been beaten here before. Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, and Carlos Sainz might all feel confident ahead of Sunday.

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Austrian GP Preview 2024

2024 Austrian Grand Prix U.K. Start Time

It's a Sprint weekend, so remember that there is Sprint Qualifying on Friday at 3:30 PM, plus an extra race to watch on Saturday. Regular Qualifying is again at 3 PM that day, too, with the race at 2 PM on Sunday.

2024 F1 Austrian Grand Prix Sky Sports Live Coverage

Sprint - On air: 10 AM, Session start: 11 AM Saturday 29th June

Qualifying – On air: 2:15 PM, Session start: 3 PM Saturday 29th June

Race – On air: 12:30 PM, Session start: 2 PM 30th June

2024 F1 Austrian Grand Prix Channel 4 Coverage

Sprint & Qualifying – Highlights: 6:30 PM Saturday 29th June

Race – Highlights: 6:30 PM Sunday 30th June

2024 F1 Austrian Grand Prix Weather Forecast

Qualifying/Race – Long-term weather forecasts in Austria's mountainous regions are as useful as planning a British BBQ, so expect the unexpected. Nonetheless, the predictions suggest low chances of rain on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday rising to 50%, all with glorious highs of 27-29°C.

Austrian GP Preview 2024
Austrian GP Preview 2024