F1 Business: Austria to Open Formula One season in July

Formula One is finally to go ahead with Austria to host the first two races of the season on July 5 and 12 after receiving government approval on Saturday. 

The races – which will be held without spectators – will take place in the village of Spielberg, which is just 124 miles away from the country’s capital Vienna. 

Formula One organisers previously announced their plans to re-launch its delayed season in Austria, with races in Abu Dhabi in December concluding the campaign. 

Each Formula One team will be permitted a maximum of 80 people at each race, the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) confirmed on Thursday.

“The concept calls for strict hygienic measures as well as regular tests and health checks for the teams and their employees,” Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said.

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.

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

Anschober added a caveat to Saturday’s statement, insisting the season’s belated restart would only go ahead if all the health assurances made by F1 were fulfilled.

“In addition to strict hygiene measures the plan also involves regular testing and health check-ups for teams and all the other employees,” he said.

“The crucial element will be the close coordination between the organisers and the regional and local health authorities”,” he added.