RegistrationOriginally built in 1969 to replace the bland and bumpy Zeltweg Airfield circuit located just across the street, the Österreichring track was situated in the Styrian mountains and it was a spectacular, scenic and unique circuit. The track was very fast, every corner was a fast sweeper and was taken in no lower than 3rd gear in a 5-speed gearbox and 4th in a 6-speed gearbox. It had noticeable changes in elevation during the course of a lap, 65 metres from lowest to highest point. Like most fast circuits it was a hard circuit on engines but more difficult on tires, because of the speeds being so consistently high. Many considered the Österreichring to be dangerous, especially the Bosch Kurve, a 180-degree downhill right-hand corner with almost no run-off area which, by 1986 when turbos pushed Formula One engine power to upwards of 1,400 bhp (1,044 kW; 1,419 PS) in qualifying, saw Derek Warwick speed trapped at 344 km/h (214 mph) in his BMW powered Brabham BT55 on the run to the Bosch Kurve. There were other testing corners such as Voest-Hugel, which was a flat-out 180 mph right hander that eventually led to the 150 mph Sebring-Auspuff Kurve (this corner had many names over the years, Dr. Tiroch and Glatz Kurve were others) which was an essential corner to get right because of the long straight afterwards that led to the Bosch Kurve. Some of the track was just road with little to no protection at all, even up to the final Austrian Grand Prix there in 1987, a race that had to be restarted twice because of 2 progressively more serious accidents both caused by the narrow pit straight in a similar manner to the 1985 race when the race was stopped after one lap following a start line shunt that had taken out three cars including championship leader Michele Alboreto's Ferrari and local driver Gerhard Berger's Arrows-BMW. In practice for the 1987 race McLaren's Stefan Johansson narrowly avoided serious injury or worse when at over 150 mph he collided with a deer that had made its way onto the track while Johansson was cresting a blind brow before the Jochen Rindt Kurve behind the pits. Increasing speeds were also a concern at the Österreichring; during the final Grand Prix there in 1987 pole-sitter Nelson Piquet's time for the 5.942 km (3.692 mi) of 1:23.357 set an average speed record for the circuit of 159.457 mph (255.756 km/h). At the time it was second only in F1 average speed to Keke Rosberg's 160.9 mph (258.9 km/h) pole lap of the Silverstone Circuit set during the 1985 British Grand Prix. Both times were set using a turbocharged Williams-Honda. American driver Mark Donohue died after crashing at the Vost-Hugel Kurve in 1975. In 1976, the Vost-Hugel Kurve was tightened and made into one right hander rather than 2 right-handers with a small section between, and in 1977 it was slowed down and became the Hella-Licht chicane, going from the fastest to the slowest corner on the track. It is also known that four-times World Champion Alain Prost often said that all tracks can be changed but that the Österreichring should remain unchanged, just adding run-off areas would be fine, which eventually did happen up until the original track's final year in 1995. The track was known for having many crashes at the start of races (especially 6-foot-wide [1.8 m] Formula One cars at the Austrian Grand Prix) because the start–finish straight was very narrow (about 30 feet wide [9.1 m], while most start–finish straights on other tracks were 60 to 80 feet wide [18 to 24 m]) and it did not provide enough space for cars attempting to pass others, especially cars that stalled or broke at the start. Motorcycle rider Hans-Peter Klampfer died after a collision with another rider at the Bosch Kurve (where most fatalities happened) and 29-year-old Hannes Wustinger was also killed after a crash at the Tiroch Kurve (the part that was left out of the present circuit) at a race for the Austrian Touring car championship and this sealed the decision to build a new circuit. Triple World Champion and long time hero of the home crowd Niki Lauda is the only Austrian driver to win his home Grand Prix. He won the 1984 Austrian Grand Prix at the Österreichring driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche. Lauda went on to win his third and final championship in 1984, beating his teammate Alain Prost by the smallest margin in F1 history, only half a point. He announced his permanent retirement from driving at the circuit before the 1985 race. Support Your Racing Community Your donation helps SRO pay for the operating costs of this website, race servers and other related costs. Your support is important in sustaining our racing community and to provide you with an ad free website. Donate and become an SRO Team Member.