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Will Formula One's Mercedes team get back on track in Austria?

Open-Wheel RacingAustria
Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are eager to compete for a win at the Austrian Grand Prix
Mercedes hopes to not have any mechanical reliability issues at the Austrian Grand Prix

After winning the season's first six races, Formula One's Mercedes team came up short at the Canadian Grand Prix, where Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo took the checkered flag.

So as the series prepares for the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, the question naturally is whether Canada was a fluke for Mercedes and whether its two drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, will resume their winning ways.

Trouble is, the Austrian Grand Prix poses questions of its own.

The race marks Formula One's return to Austria after more than a decade. The grand prix will be held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, an updated version of the circuit formerly known as the A-1 Ring and, before that, the Osterreichring.

In other words, when the last Formula One race was held there in 2003, today's top drivers such as Rosberg, Hamilton and Ricciardo were all teenagers racing in lower-tier series in less sophisticated race cars.

"Although I've driven the circuit before, that was more than 10 years ago," Rosberg told Formula One's website. "Of course, it will be very different" in today's Formula One cars, "so it's basically like starting from scratch for everyone on the grid," he said.

Hamilton, the 2008 Formula One champion, told the website: "I've never driven the circuit but I've been working on it in the simulator and I'm sure I'll learn it pretty quickly when we get out on track."

Regardless of the drivers' experience at Red Bull Ring, or lack of it, the issue again could come down to the cars' reliability.

Red Bull's Ricciardo won in Canada after the Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg suffered mechanical woes.

But Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said after the race: "Let's not beat about the bush — Mercedes were the quickest car [in Canada], even though they ran into their issues. They were still very, very strong."

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