Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Formula One: season-opening Austrian Grand Prix given green light by government

Truncated, coronavirus-hit campaign finally set to get underway on July 5 at the Spielberg circuit

Formula One's truncated, coronavirus-hit season will finally get underway after the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 was given the green light.

The Austrian government has also given permission for the Spielberg circuit to stage a second race the following weekend.

Following weeks of discussions between F1, Red Bull Ring chiefs and local authorities, a safety plan regarding precautions to be taken amid the coronavirus pandemic has been signed off.

"The two Formula One races on July 5 and 12 at Spielberg will be staged without spectators," said Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober.

He added that the two races had been approved after F1 organisers "had presented a complete and professional plan" to combat the spread of Covid-19.

F1 anaging director of motorsport Ross Brawn had already revealed plans for a ‘biosphere’ at races.

This includes that idea that everyone from F1 will land with charter flights directly next to the Red Bull Ring, at the military airfield near the circuit.

Anyone entering Austria for F1 must have themselves been tested for the coronavirus before entering the country and present a corresponding health certificate.

The F1 season was thrown into chaos with the cancellation of the traditional curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in March only hours before practice was due to begin.

It was one of 10 races either cancelled or postponed, yet F1 boss Chase Carey has insisted that a 15-18 race season is still possible.

If the two races in Spielberg go smoothly, the season could continue without a break on July 19 in Hungary.

But Silverstone's hopes of also staging back-to-back races are in the balance after the British government insisted that all arrivals in the country undergo a two-week quarantine period.

Updated: May 30, 2020 06:03 PM

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