Red Bull could revive old Spielberg layout (Update)


Original circuit shown in green
Original circuit vs. new

(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has played down rumors next year's Austrian grand prix could be held on a new layout at the Red Bull Ring.

Heading into last weekend's race at the picturesque Spielberg venue, reports emerged that team owner Dietrich Mateschitz was looking into reviving the old and audacious 'Westschleife' section.

But some reports suggested the renovations could be ready for the 2017 race, prompting world champion Lewis Hamilton to enthuse: "I think that's the best news I've heard in formula one for a long time."

However, Marko – Mateschitz's right-hand man on F1 matters – slammed on the brakes.

"No, certainly not," he told Laola1 when asked if the Westschleife can be ready for 2017. "In the time that would be simply impossible.

"I don't know where all that came from. Even the planning hasn't been completed," Marko insisted.

Marko also admitted that track owner and promoter Red Bull was not happy with the low attendance at last weekend's Austrian grand prix.

"But that was due to the fact that in the last two years, only negative things have been said about formula one. That is now reversing and the races are much better," he said.


John Watson's Penske at the old Osterreichring
John Watson's Penske at the old Osterreichring

(GMM) Red Bull is looking into expanding the current layout of the Austrian grand prix venue in Spielberg.

The energy drink brand took the former A1-Ring and Osterreichring back to the F1 calendar in 2014.

But according to Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper, owner Dietrich Mateschitz is now considering reviving an iconic old section of the track called the Westschleife (west loop).

"From a driver's perspective, the old track would be interesting," said F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

"It would separate the men from the boys a lot more than it does nowadays, anyway," he added.

Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko insisted that the expansion is only "in the planning stage" at present.

But he added: "The merging of these two tracks would create one of the most attractive and fastest race tracks in the world."

Whether it happens or not, Ecclestone said he is happy F1 is back in Austria.

"Red Bull always does a great job. We love coming back there," he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper, ahead of this weekend's Austrian grand prix.

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