This weekend's Austrian Grand Prix returns the Formula One circus to the site of one of the fastest, and most challenging, grand prix circuits ever constructed.

Sadly, after three start-line pile-ups, the old Osterreichring facility was closed down and rebuilt, rising from the rubble as the slightly sterilised A1-Ring. Despite the emasculation of the old flat-out sweeps, however, the drivers are still captivated by the Styrian scenery and the occasional overtaking opportunity presented by the new layout.

Alex Wurz describes his lap of the A1-Ring:

''A lap of the A1-Ring starts with the uphill section leading into Castrol Kurve. Although quite a long straight, the hill serves to limit the speed to just over 300kph, before braking for the first corner, which is taken in second gear at around 115kph.

Traction out of this corner is important, as it leads onto the long straight down to the tight Remus Kurve. At the end of the straight I will be doing about 310kph, before braking very hard down to first gear. You have to use the kerbs to get around this corner well, but still maintain stability onto the short straight that follows.

Although the straight is quite short, it is slightly downhill, and so I'll reach about 305kph before braking for turn three. This turn is taken in second gear, at around 90kph, and is quite a long corner.

A short, fifth gear, straight, where I reach about 270kph, leads into the two very fast and very challenging left-hand corners, both of which are taken in fourth gear - the first, the Niki Lauda Kurve, at about 145kph and the second, the Power Horse Kurve, at about 170kph.

A right-hand kink leads up the hill again, and the cars will reach just under 300kph before entering the penultimate corner, the Jochen Rindt Kurve, which is taken at around 190kph in fourth gear.

The final corner, the A1 Kurve, is a third gear corner, taken at 145kph.''


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