Report: Austrian F1 races granted government approval

The 2019 Austrian Grand Prix

Formula 1’s plan to start its 2020 season with two races at the Red Bull Ring in July has reportedly been approved by the Austrian government.

F1 had been hoping to hold a race at the Spielberg circuit on the Austrian Grand Prix’s original weekend of Sunday, July 5, and another a week later.

Not only will those events proceed on those dates, up to 500 spectators will be allowed into the circuit, claims Austrian outlet Die Motorprofis.

Other elements of the report broadly align with comments by F1’s Managing Director of Motorsport, Ross Brawn, at the start of May regarding the creation of ‘biosphere’ conditions at the Red Bull Ring.

Brawn explained that personnel would have to be tested for COVID-19 prior to entering Austria, and would fly into the airport which is just kilometres from the circuit.

Consecutive races were considered an “appealing” proposition given organisers could “basically contain everyone within that environment”.

FIA Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi had stated on Friday that the Austrian Grand Prix was close to being locked in, thanks to the efforts of Red Bull Ring staff.

“They have had a desire from day one to make this happen,” Masi told Sky Sports F1.

“They have always had a can-do attitude at the best of times. They have been brilliant. Everything we’ve need and required, and working with the Austrian government to make this happen.

“The target of Austria on July 5 is becoming more and more reality by the hour.”

The Austrian Grand Prix was to have been Round 11 of the season before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation or postponement of all of the preceding events.

The most recent confirmed calendar change is the loss of the Dutch Grand Prix, announced earlier this week.

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