The Spielberg track, set amongst the Styrian mountains, can be broken down into two halves; the first half, Gates 1-4 (and 7-10 on the second lap), can be seen as a technical, slower part and then there's the fast sprint down to gate 7 and the Finish Gate.
The Red Bull Air Race Track Analyst has researched the track and taken the data from yesterday's flights to explain how the rest of the weekend will unfold. "After the high G turn at Gate 4, there will be a quite straight sprint down to Gate 7," he explained. "There is 61m drop in elevation, so I expect the pilots to gain speed, this could cause the pilots to over G as they turn around for the second lap" he added.
After looking at the raceplane data from the training sessions yesterday, our track analyst has highlighted two situations that could be the difference between winning and losing.
"This is a track where winglets could really make a difference," he said. "When we look at Paul Bonhomme's and Hannes Arch's race lines at the same time, we can see that between the start and Gate 4, Arch pulls ahead of Bonhomme. This is probably due to his new winglets, but after the high G turn we will see Bonhomme claw back that time due to having a more aerodynamic raceplane," he explained.
The other issue is the entry speed. The pilots will need to get this right. "Once through the Start Gate the pilots are climbing up 61m as well as flying through the technical part of the track so they will scrub off speed," he said. "If we look at Nicolas Ivanoff from training he went through the start gate at 190kts, 10kts slower than the allowed speed, and by the time he was at Gate 4 for the high G turn, he was already 0.5s behind Paul Bonhomme's time," he added.
When pushed on the subject of who will perform well this weekend out analyst said, that the usual suspects will do well but, "Watch out for Dolderer, he was posting some quick times, he just needs to not be so eager to turn before he's through the gates. If he stays penalty free, he'll be very fast," he concluded.