Formula One’s truncated coronavirus-hit season will finally get underway with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, the Austrian government announced on Saturday, 30 May.
“The two F1 races on July 5 and 12 at Spielberg will be staged without spectators,” announced Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober.
He said that the two races had been approved after F1 organizers “had presented a complete and professional plan” to combat the spread of COVID-19.
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 canceled or postponed, yet F1 boss Chase Carey believes a 15-18 race season is still possible.
But Silverstone’s hopes of also staging back-to-back races after Austria are in the balance after the British government insisted that all arrivals in the country undergo a two-week quarantine period.
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 organizers and the regional and local health authorities”,” he added.
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