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Five Things to Watch at the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix

Alas, Canada didn’t provide F1 fans with the most exhilarating Grand Prix in recent memory, but nevertheless it did provide some great battles and further talking points for the upcoming races. One can only hope that the Austrian edition will be better this weekend. With Canada’s talking points still firmly in mind, here are five things to watch at the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix.

1. McLaren’s troubles in Canada were to be expected with their lack of power coming from the Honda power unit. They are still running roughly 70-100 horsepower shy of the Mercedes units and to go with it have a thirsty internal combustion engine. Austria will do them no favours due to it being a similar circuit to Montreal in that it requires power. Reliability is another thing which Honda need to work on, but they are bringing updates to the Austria. Whether or not these updates equal improvements will be a matter worth looking out for.

2. The midfield battle is still too close to call. It appears that who is fastest on the day depends on two things. Firstly, the track — different teams and drivers perform well in different conditions. Secondly, who has the fastest development rate. Since Austria is a power circuit, Lotus and Force India could maintain their edge over the midfield pack with their Mercedes power unit in the back of their cars. One would expect them to do well, but the way the midfield has performed this year, anything is possible.

3. Red Bull’s trip home to Austria. Unfortunately, it is not likely that Red Bull’s return home will be a happy one. Last year, Daniel Ricciardo only managed eighth and Sebastian Vettel retired. This year, their fortunes favour them even less. Expect an underpowered Renault power unit, coupled with unreliability and possible engine penalties to hamper their attempts to make progress this weekend.

4. The driver market could step up a gear here in Austria the halfway mark of the season approaches. Ferrari are leaving their options open regarding Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull have a lot of drivers all looking to make a Formula One debut and there are doubts over Jenson Button’s future at McLaren despite the fact he is already under contract for 2016. However, one driver will have a lot more focus on him than many: Nico Hulkenberg, Le Mans winner. With Ferrari passing up Hulkenberg for Raikkonen in 2014, could Ferrari perhaps do a U-turn now and consider taking him? Many top teams will now finally consider him and so they should — he is a remarkable talent.

5. The Mercedes battle continues to rage on. Lewis looks to have come back from what could have been one of the lowest points of his career. Despite not being happy with the set-up of his W06 he held off any attack Nico could throw at him in Canada. Lewis has a 17-point lead, but this championship fight is by no means over. Rosberg won in Austria last year after holding back Lewis all race long, but now this year there are no mind games going on and it’s being settled on-track (just how we like it).

Formula One has a huge following in Austria and huge crowds always pack the stands. As it stands, we’re set up for a great show at the Red Bull Ring.


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