In Words: Awesome Austria Ahead
Checo and Lance give their take on an F1 favourite
Right, let's try that again. The 2020 Formula 1 season is set to get underway, and it's back with a full-throttle Austrian Grand Prix double-header for the team.
It's all change from when F1 pitched up in Melbourne in March intending to start the 2020 campaign, as the next fortnight promises an intense challenge for the team, drivers, and staff at the Red Bull Ring.
Attention to detail is everything in F1, and that only increases in the unprecedented Austrian back-to-back races, with any setbacks potentially impacting two grands prix. Global travel restrictions, and the recent F1-wide factory shutdown, means it's up to the teams to hit the ground running.
And what a place to start. The Red Bull Ring is small but mighty, with a lap completed in just over a minute as three straights and two uphill right-handers precede a downhill swing through quickfire corners around the Styrian mountains.
“It’s short and technical which makes it feel really tight – but it’s got a really nice flow to it too," says Lance. "It’s only just over a minute for a Quali lap, so every corner has to be spot on. It’s almost like a kart track in that sense.
"Every detail of the lap and every hundredth of a second matters. Those sorts of fractions can be the difference between two or three positions on the grid – and that makes it really exciting.”
Checo adds that not only does the unique Red Bull Ring flow, but the circuit's nature highlights the need for precision in each corner to maximise a lap.
“It’s quite a challenging track, actually," says Checo. "It’s a really short lap and every corner is tricky, so you’ve got to be very precise and make sure that every single one is perfect.
"It’s quite different to most tracks in that sense, because there’s more pressure than normal on a single lap. Turn 3 is one of the best challenges. It can be hard to spot your apex point – especially in traffic – but it’s a cool corner and one that I enjoy.”
The Austrian races are of extra significance for the team, as it is the home race of our Title Sponsor BWT. Europe's leading water technology company is based in Mondsee, just over 200km from Spielberg.
“I first raced there [in Austria] in 2014, so only a few years ago," says Checo. "I haven’t spent as much time as I’d like in Austria away from the track – but it’s a place that I really enjoy visiting. It’s a really unique venue with beautiful scenery – you really feel like you’re surrounded by nature.
"It’s also the home race for BWT, who have been really supportive of us over the years, so it’s important for us to put on a great race for them.”
And while Austria is important for the team and BWT, it's also a touch of familiarity for Lance!
“Austria is awesome! It feels like home out there," says the Canadian. "You’re up in the mountains and I’m definitely a mountain guy. I’m big into my skiing and I love the outdoors. You can really soak up the fresh air and all that spectacular scenery in Austria. I really love going there.”