Held just two weeks apart, the Austrian and British Grands Prix have so many similarities, yet so many fundamental differences. Both events were staged on classic circuits, albeit 'upgraded' and remodelled to bring them up to 21st-century standards.
Both are privately funded - in the former's case by drinks billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, who bought the A1-Ring (formerly the Osterreichring) in the late noughties before naming it (what else?) the Red Bull Ring - while Silverstone is promoted by a commercial offshoot of the British Racing Drivers' Club, which owns the facility.
Both are situated in rural areas, well over an hour's drive from their respective country's capital cities. Local accommodation is therefore at a premium, forcing fans to pitch tents in the surrounding fields. Thus after-dark partying to boom-boom music is the nocturnal norm for most.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken