Formula 1 finally has a return date, as the Red Bull Ring will host the Formula 1 Rolex Großer Preis von Österreich to open the season on 5 July, and the Formula 1 Pirelli Großer Preis der Steiermark is set to follow on 12 July.
These races will mark a few historic milestones, as it will be the first season where the Red Bull Ring will host the opening round of the world championship, the first time there will be races held at the same circuit on consecutive weekends, and the first time a race will be closed off to spectators.
The COVID-19 outbreak has cancelled a good portion of the races this year, but the team at the Speilberg circuit have taken all the precautions necessary to return to racing in the safest way possible.
That includes the track being closed off to spectators, regular testing for the virus, extensive hygiene measures, and a reduction to the number of staff for the teams as well as the organizational staff.
“We take on this challenge unique in the history of F1, and we are looking forward to both weekends. Spielberg will see exciting races – and therefore send a strong sign of feasibility to the whole world,” said Red Bull Ring owner Dietrich Mateschitz in a press release.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner also expressed his excitement for the sport to finally resume racing at his team’s home track.
“Red Bull have pulled out all the stops to get the Austrian Grand Prix up and running, in order to support a safe start to the Formula One season,” Horner said in a press release.
“It’s a fantastic venue and we are pleased to be starting our championship campaign at our home circuit. It has been a huge effort by all involved and the two events at the Red Bull Ring will be a blueprint for all other races to follow.”
“There was obviously a huge amount of discussion behind the scenes with Liberty, the FIA and the local authorities to ensure that returning to racing is done responsibly and we all have our part to play in order to enforce the measures in place.”
“With the first eight races of the calendar now confirmed we have some positive momentum. As a race team and racers, we are excited to get going again and put on a show for our fans.”