Austrian Grand Prix: Close encounters of the F1 kind at Spielberg
A great race track once stood on the site that now hosts the Austrian Grand Prix. But the remodelled Red Bull Ring is not it, despite the similarity of their profiles.
The old Osterreichring was a place to send shivers down the spine, a daunting, high-speed swoop and dive through the foothills of the Styrian mountains that rivalled any track in the world.
It held its last grand prix in 1987, consigned to history because it was too extreme a challenge, just too risky. Even for 30 years ago.
The Austrian Grand Prix was revived 10 years later, in the same place, just outside the village of Spielberg, but the track was a shadow of its former self.
The new circuit - then called the A1-Ring, since bought by Red Bull and re-named - followed a familiar route and turned in similar places. But the famous old corners - the Bosch Kurve, the Rindt Kurve and so on - were all gone.
Still, what remains is a nice enough place in the modern way of things. Long straights and slow corners make for a decent track to race on, and the entries into some of the bends pose their own challenge - particularly downhill into the penultimate corner, the trickiest on the track.
And some things remain unchanged.
It's a long way from anywhere - a two-hour-plus drive from Vienna, even an hour or so from Graz.
But when you arrive, the scenery is glorious, the track clinging to a sloping meadow, pine forest and mountain peaks beyond.
And the fans still flock there, camping out, rock music blaring day and night, turning the weekend into one long beer-drenched party.
After a venture into new territory in Azerbaijan, it will feel very much like returning to F1's heartland.
Andrew Benson, chief F1 writer