1971: First appearance for Niki Lauda
Niki Lauda made his first Formula 1 appearance at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix. Driving for March, Lauda qualified down in 21st and completed twenty laps in the race before retiring with handling issues. In this race, Jackie Stewart was crowned World Champion for a second time, even though his race was cut short with a violent crash. Lauda would go on to win three Drivers’ Championships and 25 Grands Prix. He’s also the only Austrian to have won his home Grand Prix, doing so in 1984.
2018: First home win for Red Bull
Max Verstappen recorded Red Bull’s first home victory at the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix. With both Mercedes drivers retiring with mechanical issues, Verstappen was unchallenged after assuming the lead of the race on Lap 27. The win was a special victory for Red Bull, with the Austrian team scoring their first home triumph at the track which they own. The brand’s co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz bought and rebuilt the former A1 Ring and re-opened the circuit in 2011. Verstappen has won both of the last two Austrian Grands Prix.
1982: Last cap throw for Colin Chapman
Elio de Angelis won the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix in one of the closest finishes in Formula 1 history. He finished just 0.05s ahead of Keke Rosberg, who had hunted the Lotus driver down in the closing stages. A staple of a Lotus win was owner Colin Chapman jubilantly throwing his cap in the air. Chapman did so for the last time at this race, as he died before the end of the year. Team Lotus would not win again until Ayrton Senna took his first victory with the team at the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix.
1975: Only win, podium and fastest lap for Vittorio Brambilla
Vittorio Brambilla was renowned for being a wet weather specialist, and he proved that by winning the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix. The conditions were so bad at the Österreichring that only 29 laps of the race were run, and Brambilla was awarded only half points for his efforts. Starting eighth, Brambilla made his way up to third in the opening stages, and took the lead on the nineteenth lap. In the midst of his celebrations, Brambilla lost control of his car and crashed into the barriers! Luckily for him, the race had been brought to a halt with the chequered flag instead of the red flag, so could not be restarted.
1976: Only win for an American constructor
John Watson claimed his first victory at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix. Driving for Penske, it remains the only win for an American constructor in Formula 1 history, excluding the Indianapolis 500 when it counted towards the Drivers’ Championship in the 1950s. Shadow, who won at the Austrian Grand Prix one year later were American-owned, but raced with a British license. Penske’s win was a particularly poignant one, coming a year after the death of their driver Mark Donohue at the same circuit. Roger Penske withdrew his team from the sport at the end of the season in order for them to concentrate on the IndyCar series. The team have since taken an incredible 212 IndyCar wins and eighteen Indianapolis 500 victories.
1976: Last race which Ferrari did not enter
The 1976 Austrian Grand Prix is also the most recent Formula 1 race which Ferrari did not enter. Ferrari missed the event due to two main factors. Firstly, star driver Niki Lauda had been near-fatally injured at the German Grand Prix just two weeks prior to this race. In addition, Ferrari were unimpressed by the reinstatement of James Hunt as the winner of the Spanish Grand Prix earlier in the season, from which he had previously been disqualified. The antagonism was heightened by Hunt being allowed to win at the British Grand Prix, despite him having started illegally. Enzo Ferrari had originally threatened for his team to miss the remainder of the season, but the reinstatement of Lauda as winner of the British race paired with Lauda’s improving health did enough to appease him.
In the build up to the race, there were rumours that these factors would lead to the event being cancelled. In the end, the race did take place, albeit with fewer spectators than had become the norm. Legions of Lauda’s Austrian fans were missing, the Italian Ferrari fans did not arrive and nor did Clay Regazzoni’s legion of supporters from neighbouring Switzerland.