Compromise the keyword for Red Bull as they head home to Austria

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It's all about finding the right "compromise" for both Red Bull drivers as they look ahead to the company's home race, the Austrian Grand Prix.

The energy drinks giant hasn't had the greatest success since Formula 1 returned to the historic Red Bull Ring in 2014, with Max Verstappen's second place last year the only podium they have achieved in Spielberg.

This year they head home after claiming an unexpected victory on the streets of Baku via Daniel Ricciardo, adding to the optimism this year's race could be their most competitive yet.

The problem, as has been the case every year, is the modern day nine-corner layout of the original Osterriechring doesn't particularly suit Red Bull with a strong engine needed down the three long straights, particularly on the uphill drag to Turn 2.

“At any kind of power circuit like Austria you want to be smooth and get good exits in order to give yourself the best chance on the long straights,” Ricciardo, who turned 28 on Saturday, commented.

“The compromise is always the aero package. In the middle to the end of the lap, you want more downforce because the corners are quite fast but more downforce means you are slower on the straights, so the key is to find a good balance throughout the lap.

“I really enjoy the track and the only downside is that I wish it was a bit longer. I wish it had a few more corners, but the corners that do exist are great fun.”

As for Verstappen, he also hopes the Red Bull Ring can end a current miserable spell of results having retired from four of the last six races, including the last two when running in or competing for the podium places.

Speaking about the race 12 months ago, which saw him inherit second after the two Mercedes collided on the last lap, he revealed: “Before the race, it was a bit unknown how the tyres would play out so I just tried to feel my way in and keep life in them.

“This allowed me to complete a one-stop strategy, which was always going to be a gamble, but in the end worked out really well.

“This year we have to make sure the car is working well in the corners in order to be up with the front-runners and then just try and be as competitive as possible on the straights, it’s always a bit of a compromise."

Along with the Belgian Grand Prix, last year also saw Austria become something of a home race for the 19-year-old and he expects plenty of support again in 2017.

“The fans at the Red Bull Ring are always extremely passionate and of course there was a big Dutch turn out last year which is always special for me to see, plenty of caravans and orange around the area."

 

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