The Austrian National Anthem was finally played at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix as a Red Bull driver won what is the home race for the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team. Therefore, congratulations are in order to our former driver Max Verstappen, who starting from fourth on the grid, took his fourth F1 win.
Of the top three teams, only three drivers saw the chequered flag, which meant it was a day for seizing opportunities for the midfield runners, but unfortunately, Scuderia Toro Rosso came away from the Red Bull Ring with nothing to show for its efforts. At one point it looked as though both Pierre and Brendon might have made it to the top ten, but it was not to be, as the New Zealander had to park the car at the side of the track with a problem and in the closing stages, Pierre could not fend off the three cars on his tail and he dropped from eighth to eleventh. Our Frenchman had been involved in a first lap melee that left him with a damaged car that was hard to drive and hard on his tyres.
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As for the weather, apart from a bit of rain on Friday, it was a glorious weekend in the mountains and here, in what we could call “Red Bull Land”, there was massive support from the fans. It kept Brendon and Pierre very busy what with autograph signing and selfie posing. This season has seen a new initiative at many F1 races, where F1 drivers past and present get to drive some lucky members of the public around the race track in a variety of supercars and “specials.” In Austria, this event went by the misleading name of “Taxi Rides” as no taxis have ever been driven quite like this with tyres squealing and sliding. Pierre and Max (Verstappen) were on the list of special “chauffeurs” and they had a great time showing off their skill at the wheel: the faces of their passengers at the end of the laps told the whole story – a mixture of amazement, excitement and just a little bit of pure terror!
In Spielberg, it seemed that even our hospitality had gone “local”, as the regular Energy Station went directly to Silverstone from Ricard. In its place, last weekend we lived in a beautiful structure that was mainly wood inside, so that it looked for all the world like a giant Austrian mountain chalet. The effect was completed by a band playing Austrian folk music to entertain the guests. As every year in Austria, on Sunday the drivers and Franz Tost, our Austrian team principal, wore lederhosen complete with knee-length green socks.
By the time you read this, our trucks with their precious cargo of race cars and equipment will be in Silverstone for Round 10 of the World Championship, having driven directly to the UK from Austria, with two drivers per truck to be able to press on through the night. We are all set for the final part of the sport’s first ever triple-header, hoping that we can realise our potential and fight for points in the tight mid-field. How many “home races” can one team have? There will be Monza later this year of course, we’ve just had Austria which is home to parent company Red Bull and now Silverstone, just a short drive from Bicester, which is home to our Wind Tunnel and aero facility.