Formula 1 has taken a significant stride forward to beginning their curtailed 2020 World Championship season as Austrian Health officials have passed legislation allowing for a doubleheader event to be staged at the Red Bull Ring in early July.
The opening races will be contested on July 5 and will be followed by a second race one week later on July 12.
Both Formula 2 and 3 seasons will also get underway at the same weekend, meaning kiwi duo Marcus Armstrong and Liam Lawson will finally be able to return to action for the first time since entering a three-month hiatus amid the pandemic.
On Friday Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober approved F1’s plans to race in the country in July, confirming the sport’s proposal “meets the concepts” laid out by the government.
“The organiser has presented a concept for implementation that is based on the special requirements of the Formula 1 GP and the necessary protective measures against the spread of the coronavirus,” said Anschober.
“In addition to strict hygiene measures, the concept also provides for regular tests and health checks for the teams and all other employees, as well as a specific medical concept.
“For the Ministry of Health, the concept fulfils the requirements for preventing the spread of the coronavirus after a detailed review by the company’s experts – the crucial factor is the close coordination between the organiser and regional and local health authorities.”
The F1 paddock will be contained within a local ‘biosphere’ to minimise the degree of contact permitted between approved personnel and the local Austrian community.
As expected, both races will be held behind closed doors as a TV-only affair.
Meanwhile, the British Grand Prix has also received a significant boost as the UK Government announced the resumption of sport – including the return to Formula 1.
Speaking in a public address, Culture secretary Oliver Dowden stated:
“Now for more than two months after sport stopped and after round-the-clock discussions with medical experts and professional sports bodies, I’m delighted to announce today that the government has published guidance which allows competitive sport to resume behind closed doors from Monday at the earliest and, crucially, only when it’s safe to do so.
“It’s up to each sport when to resume competition; they know their sports best.
“But football, tennis, horse racing, Formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are all set to return to our screens shortly.”
F1 is set to unveil a revised European calendar consisting of races between July and September that will make up the majority of the revised season.
The French, Monaco, Australian and Dutch GPs will not feature on a revised 2020 schedule.