Austria hasn't hosted a Formula One grand prix since the 2003 race at the old A1 Ring. Since then Red Bull bought the track, renovated it and returned it to the calendar this year as the Red Bull Ring for a race on June 22. We could look at this as a quaint story of a historic F1 track finally returning to the series after a long delay. However, there is a very angry Austrian who is not happy about how things are going – namely, three-time F1 World Driver's Champion Niki Lauda.

According to Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung, as part of its renovation of the track, Red Bull sold off the naming rights of the corners to sponsors. The former Niki Lauda Kurve is now the Pirelli Kurve. Fellow Austrian F1 driver Gerhard Berger also lost his turn, and it's now the Würth Kurve. Only famous racer Jochen Rindt has retained his name on the track.

Lauda was furious when he found out about the change and demanded to know who made the decision. He told the paper that he suspects that the renaming has to do with his current position at the Mercedes-Benz F1 team, which is beating the Red Bull squad soundly this year. Lauda already has plans to get back for the perceived slight. He said that Mercedes would be celebrating a 1-2 victory for this year's return of the grand prix to Austria. Given Lauda's past and his team's season, that might not be too big of a boast.


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  • 15 Comments
      icerabbit
      • 9 Months Ago
      Renaming a dedicated space in honor of a person while he is still alive and well, and has done nothing to deserve seeing said honor stripped away. Like there wasn't another way to get a few more sponsors on the list. Not too much longer and they'll be washing the road and feeding the grass with brawn do, the thirst mutilator. (see idiocracy) Joking aside, I hope this corporate naming thing implodes. It is just getting ridiculous. You're literally going from a stadium/circuit/park/etc. named after a town / state / country or historic figure which you knew where it was for a lifetime; to places that change names at the drop of hat for the highest bidder of the year and have absolutely no meaning. Next week we're going to the former town, former historic figure, former cellphone provider, former big box store, former shampoo brand and now known as the anti-erectile disfunction pill stadium. So you're going to town/state x? No, that was way back when. Xyz corp bought that one and it changed from the anti-ED stadium to the feminine hygiene one. The anti-ED stadium is now where superior dog treats was. ...
      JW
      • 9 Months Ago
      Says the man who sells sponsorship across his forehead.
        Rich M.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @JW
        has nothing to do with sponsorship, and i'm sure he would be the first to tell you how important sponsorship is to racing. for racers to have a corner or track named after you is a huge honor.
      Nathan
      • 9 Months Ago
      lol geez Lauda's really been acting like a petulant child recently. The way he talks you'd think he singlehandedly designed, built, and raced the MP4-29.
      Vassilis Alex
      • 9 Months Ago
      Yeah not nice of Red Bull.
      Trent
      • 9 Months Ago
      Stop your yelling Lauda.
      wafflesnfalafel
      • 9 Months Ago
      Love it - he knows exactly what it going on, and that's why he is pushing the issue. Tear em' up Mr. Lauda.
      Ed Rocco
      • 9 Months Ago
      ill never buy red bull again
      CBR1000 Racer
      • 9 Months Ago
      Money talks! and Lauda should know better than anyone ... just saying ...
        fabulous71
        • 9 Months Ago
        @CBR1000 Racer
        That may be the case, but Red Bull is hardly hurting for money and could have preserved the history of the track. Its a sad, stupid move by them.
      Peter Middleton
      • 9 Months Ago
      Its not all about you Lauda!.. But that is rude. F'n sponsors.
      btulliani
      • 9 Months Ago
      Extremely disrespectful and no sense of honour on the part of Redbull.
      RGT881
      • 9 Months Ago
      Don't care much for Lauda and I noticed his true colors when he attempted to run Jaguar and how he treated Eddie Irvine. However, in this case I agree with him. Red Bull can't just take a piece of history and sell it to the highest bidder. Ok, yes, they needed funds, but why couldn't it have been, "Niki Lauda corner together with Pirelli", something akin.
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