Home to champions like Niki Lauda and Jochen Rindt, as well as the dominant team in recent seasons -- Red Bull -- Austria will once again welcome the cream of F1 drivers at Spielberg on Sunday, on a circuit steeped in history but unfamiliar to many. (Agencies)
The last time the small alpine country hosted a Grand Prix was in 2003, when Ferrari's Michael Schumacher grabbed his second consecutive win there, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Rubens Barrichello.
Raikkonen will be one of just four drivers with race day experience on this track Sunday -- alongside Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button, who finished fourth in 2003.
For all others, the 4.3-kilometre (2.7-mile) Red Bull Ring circuit, nestled among green hills in southern Austria, will be a test.
"Although I've driven the circuit before, that was more than 10 years ago in F3... so it's basically like starting from scratch for everyone on the grid," current leader Nico Rosberg of Mercedes said last week.
"Personally, I love that kind of challenge," he said.
Teammate Lewis Hamilton, who has been preparing in the simulator, was similarly eager to try a new track: "It's always exciting to go to a new venue, so it should be an interesting weekend."
Spielberg hosted its first Grand Prix in 1964 on a bumpy course, but it would be years before the event returned in 1970, this time on a purpose-built track – the Oesterreichring (Austria Ring).
1984 saw the venue's sole home win so far, when Austrian Niki Lauda finished first, despite gearbox problems, on his way to nabbing his third and last championship title.
Dropped from the F1 circuit in 1987, Spielberg made yet another comeback in 1997 for seven editions.
These included the infamous 2002 Grand Prix, when Ferrari ordered leader Barrichello to let his teammate Schumacher take the victory, helping him to the season title.
Home to champions like Niki Lauda and Jochen Rindt, as well as the dominant team in recent seasons -- Red Bull -- Austria will once again welcome the cream of F1 drivers at Spielberg on Sunday, on a circuit steeped in history but unfamiliar to many.