A final decision on whether the Austrian Grand Prix will become Formula 1’s 2020 season-opener will be made by the end of this month, as reported by GPFans earlier today. The event’s organisers have informed the Austrian government they need an answer within that timeframe as to whether the July 5 event is given the green light in order to finalise detailed preparations and get everything ready in time for the race to be able to take place.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner confirmed a few weeks ago that the Red Bull Ring was “all set up and ready to go. It is just a case of flicking a switch”, while advisor Helmut Marko said three weeks was required for the circuit to be race-ready.
However, GPFans reports that such comments are not the case given the extensive details required to plan for 1,500 people on-site, and in far more unusual circumstances due to the ongoing coronavirus situation. Formula 1 is attempting to organise what managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn has described as a “biosphere” environment and locking down the paddock, which would include regular checks via a PCR or temperature test.
One additional complication that has apparently recently come to light is that F1 and the FIA are now evaluating whether media should be allowed to attend, which would naturally alter the entire infrastructure of the event. Previously, the media were to be banned.
Although the organisers are in deep consultations with Formula 1 regarding all possibilities, and the lockdown restrictions in place in Austria are beginning to ease, the final decision will ultimately come from the government.
It is understood public pressure is growing, though, for the race to go ahead, and for the event to become a double-header, with a second grand prix to be staged the following weekend on July 12.
At present, the government is appraising the situation and calculating the risks involved. The belief is providing the safety concepts to be put in place are sufficiently robust, then the race/s will go ahead.