Austria’s short lap layout provides challenges – Lowe

Mercedes’ technical director Paddy Lowe is confident of the German team’s performance in Austria next weekend, but emphasizes a few aspects of the venue which could always throw a wrench into the works.

Mercedes enjoyed a one-two finish at the Red Bull Ring in 2015, with current championship leader Nico Rosberg defeating team mate Lewis Hamilton by a 15-second margin at the end of the 71-lap race.

“Spielberg is a very different type of track to the last three, which have all been street or semi-street circuits with mostly slow corners,” explained Paddy Lowe.

“It’s a permanent facility with plenty of elevation change and a short lap, featuring just nine corners with a range of speeds.

“The short lap makes for a challenging weekend on the pit wall – particularly during qualifying. With lap times of just over a minute, the circuit can become extremely congested and decisions have to be made very quickly.

Lowe also insists that tyres may play into the mix on Sunday, with drivers receiving from Pirelli their chosen allocation of Soft, SuperSoft and Ultrasoft compounds.

“The track has been completely re-surfaced for this year, which we understand to have made it extremely smooth and therefore likely to work the tyres quite differently.

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“Combined with the softest allocation of compounds available, this means we could well see a pole time in the region of the circuit lap record.

“As a team we’ve been very strong at this circuit since it returned to the calendar in 2014, so our target is to continue that run.

“Having said that, we’ve seen significant variations in performance between the teams at different types of track so far this season. It’s been quite unpredictable, so we must ensure we are well prepared. “

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