Vienna: Formula One was on Saturday given the green light to start the 2020 season with a delay of almost four months with a July 5 and 12 double-header in Austria, said a dpa report.
Austria’s Health Ministry said it had approved the sport’s safety and hygiene concept for the races behind closed doors without violating ongoing restrictions in the country owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Organizers have presented a comprehensive, professional security concept to prevent infections and spreads” and “the teams can enter the premises to practice their profession,” the ministry said in a statement.
Under the F1 concept all drivers and staff from the 10 teams would be tested for the Sars-CoV-2 virus before departure, all teams will stay in different hotels, and no more than 2,000 people will be at the track from all stakeholders.
Health Minister Rudolf Anschober spoke of “a very specific regulation with a high level of protection” similar to that in football for domestic matches which restarted Friday.
“The concept fulfils the requirements for preventing the spread of the coronavirus after a detailed review by its experts – the crucial factor is the close coordination between the organizer and regional and local health authorities,” Anschober said.
The season was originally to begin in mid-March in Australia but the pandemic forced the postponement or outright cancellation of the first 10 races
Starting with the races at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, F1 organizers hope to have 15-18 races from an originally planned 22 until December to salvage the season.
F1 reportedly has a revised calendar which is yet to be published, with the Hungarian GP in Budapest to follow the week after the second Spielberg race on July 19.
The action is then to move to Silverstone for a British double-header August 2 and 9; the postponed Spanish GP in Barcelona to be contested on August 16; the Belgian race in Spa Franchorchamps and Italian GP in Monza as planned on August 30 and September 6; before the series is to head overseas.
Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko welcomed the news, telling the Austrian Press Agency (APA) that “it is very important for Formula One that things are starting.
“Project Spielberg as organizers are very well prepared. They have worked in advance therefore there is enough time,” he said.
Marko ruled out that a possible further easing of government restrictions in the country would allow fans in after all because “the concept was presented without fans.”
He added that the decision to have two races on successive weekends on the same course could add some spice to the racing.
“That could lead to the odd surprise, such as finding a great set-up from one weekend to the other. That is new from a technical point of view and can always lead to surprises,” Marko said.
Source: Bahrain News Agency