Formula 1

2024 Austrian Grand Prix: What the Teams Have Been Saying Ahead of the Weekend

10 Mins read
Photo: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Formula 1 heads into the second round of a European triple header this weekend for Round 11 of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship in Austria. 

Max Verstappen will be looking for his third consecutive win after taking the chequered flag at the last two tightly-contested races, while Lando Norris will be hoping to right the wrongs of last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, where he admitted he should’ve taken victory.

Scuderia Ferrari will also be hoping to be back in the mix this weekend, after two difficult races for Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc, where their best finish was fifth. Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team will be hoping for a third consecutive top three finish, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton standing on the podium in Canada and Spain respectively. 

Visa Cash App RB will be hoping to bounce back after a poor weekend in Spain, which saw the debut of their new upgrade package disappoint. Daniel Ricciardo needs another good weekend, with comments from Dr. Helmut Marko suggesting his time at RB is under threat. The Australian has been in decent form of late though, beating his teammate in the last two rounds.

Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team were pointless in Spain, while BWT Alpine F1 Team will be hoping for a double points finish for the third time in a row. Pierre Gasly has scored points at the last three rounds, and has just signed a new long term extension with the team. 

Read below to find out what the teams have been saying ahead of the race weekend, with quotes from the Oracle Red Bull Racing, McLaren F1 Team, RB, Alpine, MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, Williams Racing and Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber drivers, as well the Ferrari and Mercedes team principals.

Max Verstappen — Oracle Red Bull Racing

“We always feel really welcome and enjoy coming back to Austria, being a home race for Red Bull. The scenery and mountains around here are great and it is always good to see the Orange Army fans here and really feel that support from the grandstand. 

“It is another Sprint race this weekend, which always ends up being a hectic and busy weekend for us. It is really important to nail the set up of the car straight away and analyse how best we build and improve on our previous races, especially as qualifying is always close here. 

“The track lends itself to a lot of overtaking so I’m sure it will be an exciting race. The Team performed well here last year so hopefully we can do the fans proud this weekend and bring it home with another win.”

Sergio Perez — Oracle Red Bull Racing

“I had a difficult weekend in Spain but it’s one we have learnt from. I struggled with the balance of the car all weekend. We couldn’t get the set-up consistent and in a window for qualifying or to race the race we wanted, the grid place penalty also harmed us. 

“This weekend in Austria we have everything in place to have a cleaner weekend, the Team and I know where we must improve and make changes and we will implement them. It’s then my job to get the most out of the car, we’ll have limited running due to the Sprint weekend, so I need to make the most of first practice and attack qualifying and the Sprint from the start. 

“We want and need a complete weekend. Austria is always a great race, it’s Red Bull’s home and that makes for a brilliant atmosphere, I’m looking forward to it.

Fred Vasseur — Scuderia Ferrari

“The upgrades introduced in Spain worked as expected, but clearly our competitors have not been twiddling their thumbs, and at the moment there are four teams all within less than three tenths of one another. 

“Now we have Austria, a track that takes just a little over a minute to lap, so that those aforementioned gaps could become even smaller. 

“We will be focusing completely on ourselves, because in Spielberg each tiny detail can make a difference. This weekend also sees the return of the Sprint format, so the work carried out back in Maranello becomes even more significant, as there is only one hour of free practice prior to qualifying. 

“Everyone in the team, including the drivers, must be on top of their game to ensure we don’t miss any opportunities that come our way. That applies to qualifying, especially when up against such strong opponents and also in terms of how we execute the race. I want to see us step up a gear in Austria.” 

Lando Norris — McLaren F1 Team

“I’m excited for the Austrian Grand Prix. It’s a really fun track to drive, and I have some great memories from over the years, so I am looking forward to getting out there. The fans are always enthusiastic and create a great atmosphere.   

“The car is in a great spot, we’ll take what we learned from Spain and use it to keep pushing. We’re not focused on setting specific targets, our aim is to keep improving what we do each weekend and we let the results speak for themselves. Let’s see what we can do.” 

Oscar Piastri — McLaren F1 Team

“I can’t wait to get to Austria and hit the ground running. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car on Friday and working hard with the engineers to start the weekend on the front foot.    

“I was aiming for far more in Barcelona but coming away with points from a frustrating one keeps things ticking over. Credit to the team for the job they are consistently doing and hopefully we can all keep the momentum going.”

Toto Wolff — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

“We knew Barcelona would be a good measure of our recent progress. The team has worked hard to improve the W15 at circuits with a wide corner speed range, like Barcelona. Those incremental gains helped us build on the momentum from Montreal. 

“Although we didn’t have the ultimate pace to compete for the win, it was encouraging to be in the mix. Lewis scored a well-deserved podium and George managed his final stint well to take P4. We came away from the weekend with solid points but we know there is more work to do to be in with a realistic chance of fighting for victories. That work is ongoing, and we are on a positive trajectory.    

“We head to Austria looking to continue that positive progress. It is a very different circuit to last weekend. There is plenty of low to mid-speed content, punctuated by some longer straights. That will provide another challenge and reference point for our car. 

“The group at the front of the field is tightly packed and we will have to be at our best to challenge for the podium once again.”

Daniel Ricciardo — Visa Cash App RB 

“I’ve got many reasons to be excited about Austria: it’s my 250th F1 Grand Prix, which is pretty wild. I’m going to run a special helmet design for this weekend, which should be fun and it’s a home race for Red Bull, at the Red Bull Ring, so there’s always a lot of support there. 

“It’s good for the team, for the brand, it’s a special one. We’ll be looking to try and turn things around after Barcelona. We don’t have much time as it’s a Sprint weekend with only one practice, so we really must hit the ground running. We’re ready for it!”

Yuki Tsunoda — Visa Cash App RB 

“I like the Red Bull Ring and I enjoy the place itself and the surrounding countryside as I love nature. I also like the food, especially the Schnitzel! It’s a home track for the Red Bull family, so I hope we can perform well. 

“It’s another Sprint weekend so we only get the one hour of Free Practice, after which every session counts for something. I know everyone has been working very hard back in the factory to understand why we had such a difficult time in Spain and hopefully, we can make up for it this weekend.” 

Yuki Tsunoda (left) and Daniel Ricciardo (right) on media day ahead of the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix — Photo: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Pierre Gasly — BWT Alpine F1 Team

“I flew back from Barcelona feeling really pleased as we have now made it three points-scoring finishes in a row. Although it’s only small points, it’s been three good performances where we’ve managed to improve the overall package even without adding any updates to the car. 

“We must keep pushing on and target a continuation of this form as every point will count by the end of the year in a tight Championship fight. Of course, there was a little bit of disappointment not to be eighth place on Sunday but to be fighting a Red Bull on merit right up until the final lap shows our level improvement and that is satisfying. 

“Triple headers are always challenging. After Barcelona we’re straight into Austria and for a busy Sprint weekend. Spielberg is a short lap, the shortest for lap times during the year, with only nine corners. It’s a challenging one with kerbs, hard braking zones and a lot of high-speed corners. 

“It’s always a very good event in Austria, a great atmosphere and a place I have enjoyed racing. We must take our learnings from Barcelona – especially high speed performance and balance – and apply them here this weekend. 

“As it’s a Sprint we have to be on the pace straight away and put ourselves in a position to compete in both races.”

Esteban Ocon — BWT Alpine F1 Team

“It was encouraging for us to have a good performance throughout the whole weekend in Barcelona where we again finished in tenth place and added important points to the Constructors’ Championship. 

“The car was relatively competitive right from the start of the weekend and we managed to deliver throughout Qualifying and be in Q3. The race, on my side, was slightly more challenging. 

“There was a lot of sliding and the car balance was tricky but, even so, we finished comfortably inside the points and that’s positive. We just need to assess these details to improve for next time. 

“I have always liked racing in Austria. I have some fond memories here. Back in 2020, after a year out from racing, racing in Spielberg was the first one of the season. I remember the very wet Qualifying that year when we managed to qualify in fifth. 

“In 2022, we had a good weekend here, taking ten points in fifth place. The track itself is short so usually the field is close and every hundredth and thousandth of a second counts. We have to get our high speed balance right and the aim for us is keep the positive trend going, which means an eye on Q3 again and, of course, valuable points.”

Nico Hülkenberg— Haas F1 Team

“It’s a short track that packs in a lot of fun. The length of the circuit means it bunches us all up over qualifying, which is a challenge, but we have two opportunities as it’s a Sprint. 

“Last year I scored points around the Red Bull Ring, so I know it can be done, and we want to be back scoring points, so that’s the mission this weekend.”

Kevin Magnussen — Haas F1 Team

“It’s a fun track; I’ve got some good memories from the Red Bull Ring, that’s where we’ve had our best team result so I’m looking forward to going there again. We have quite an efficient car so hopefully with our good straight-line speed we can be good there. 

“There’s still a fair number of high-speed corners, which is perhaps not our strength, but we seem to be pretty consistently good at most tracks. I’m just looking forward to a fun Sprint weekend.”

Alex Albon — Williams Racing

“As we leave Barcelona and head to Austria for the second round of the triple header, we are hoping to bounce back after a tough weekend. 

“With Austria being a Sprint weekend, as well as the fact that the weather might be a factor, there will be an opportunity to achieve a good result. On paper, this track suits our car more than Barcelona so let’s see what the weekend brings.”

Alex Albon arrives at the circuit ahead of race weekend – Photo: Williams F1

Logan Sargeant — Williams Racing

“I’m looking forward to heading back to Austria for the second race of the triple header. It should be a better track for us than Spain, and it’s always an exciting track to drive with plenty of quick corners and long straights. 

“The Sprint Race will open up some extra opportunities, and it looks like some rain could affect the race on Sunday, so it’s all to play for.”

Valtteri Bottas — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“I have enjoyed racing in Austria since it was reintroduced on the calendar, and I am looking forward to being back; the track is an exciting one, with its quick corners and gradient changes, and together with the stunning views and the fans, it’s an overall pleasant experience. 

“Races here can have a lot of action and there are a lot of overtaking spots, so it can be fun: I have had a series of good results here, too, including two wins and a few podiums, as well as my first ever one back in 2014 – I can’t believe it’s been a decade since! 

“Looking back at Barcelona, we were in a better place than previous events, but there is still some work to be done to be regularly back in the top ten. With this being a Sprint event, it’s important to get the feeling right from the start of the weekend and build our performance on it.”

Zhou Guanyu — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“It’s good to be back in Spielberg: I have enjoyed racing here over the past few years and I expect another entertaining weekend. The track layout is rather unique – short, with a few corners and big braking zones – and this allows for some thrilling on-track action: the low number of corners also means each one is even more crucial when setting a lap in qualifying. 

“As we head into the race weekend, I am motivated and eager to get back on track: our performance in Barcelona was definitely encouraging, closer to where we were at the beginning of the season, and all of us, both trackside and back home in Hinwil, are working hard to close the gap. 

“We all know how just a tenth could make a great difference in qualifying, and how that is even more decisive during a Sprint event. We must keep focused and remain at the top of our game all weekend long, giving our maximum on and off the track.”

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