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Second Austrian GP ‘could run on Wednesday evening’

2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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A second Austrian Grand Prix could be held at mid-week, according to Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko.

Formula 1 is seeking ways to begin its season as soon as possible and maximise the number of races it holds.

Marko told ORF radio that Red Bull, promoters of the Austrian Grand Prix, are looking into the possibility of holding two races behind closed doors, one of which could be held on a Wednesday evening.

“The current situation is that we have naturally approached the government in order to establish a work list of requirements to stage a grand prix, a ghost race obviously run without public [access],” he said. “These requirements will need to be met fully, there will be no exceptions.”

“A study is being undertaken as to how to restrict the numbers to ensure that the entire circus is not needed,” he explained. “For example, charter flights from England could land at the adjacent airport. Personnel would need to prove a negative [Covid-19] test not older than four days, or [they go] into quarantine.

“It would be, I believe the first major international event, which would result in enormous interest, which is important not only for F1, but equally for Spielberg and Austria as it would create enormous goodwill and prove how efficiently and quickly our government was able to introduce the necessary measures early.”

A second race is under discussion in addition to the round originally scheduled for July 5th, said Marko.

“Most likely the first event [will be] on July 5th as a normal event, then a two-day event with the race held late Wednesday afternoon. It would take the form of a sort of night race in our late daylight, which would be an attractive time in many other countries.” Sunset falls around 9pm in the region in July.

It remains unclear what arrangements would be made for the media to cover the races, beyond the necessary staff to film and broadcast them.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 25 comments on “Second Austrian GP ‘could run on Wednesday evening’”

    1. A race on a Wednesday might be slightly out of F1’s classic DNA, but as long as we can get an almost full calendar in 2020, I guess everything is an option right now.

    2. When the UK cannot even reach testing requirements for NHS, carers and essential workers, all who are on the lower income bracket, the elite of F1 suggest that all participants are tested and transported en mass to Austria to put on a show
      to boost their egos and coffers. SHAME. I have been a F1 follower since 1959 but I do have a sense of priorities.
      NHS workers and carers are dying through lack of PPE and testing and people are worried when a F1 race can take place.
      It is a sad world.

      1. @feral
        “When the UK cannot even reach testing requirements for NHS, carers and essential workers, all who are on the lower income bracket”.
        Blame the incompetent British ruling class, led by a bunch of clueless hacks, instead of an organization desperately trying to protect the people they are responsible for; or are you saying that we shouldn’t care about the thousands of people whose livelihood depends on F1?

        1. All I am saying is that the thousands of people who are trying to save lives are more important.

        2. No, I blame the managers of the NHS who got handed a budget of £140 billion (19% of the UK’s total budget) and can’t spend the funds properly. Procurement of PPE is an NHS responsibility, if they can’t do it right it’s not the government’s fault.

          1. @geemac the NHS does not have an annual budget of £140 billion – the Department of Health and Social Care is given a budget of £140 billion.

            That, however, covers a range of activities which are outside of the remit of the NHS – as one example, the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which regulates the sale of medical products in the UK, is part of that department, but is not part of the NHS.

            You are also wrong to state that “Procurement of PPE is an NHS responsibility”: statutory legislation states it is the legal responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care, and ultimately that of Matt Hancock, who is the Secretary of State for that government department, to procure PPE on behalf of the NHS, not the individual NHS trusts themselves. Guidance on the usage of that PPE is also issued by the government, via the government run body Public Health England, to the NHS.

            Under that statutory legislation, therefore, responsibility for the provision of PPE for the NHS lies with the government and not with the NHS.

          2. kevin citron
            22nd April 2020, 4:09

            and it’s certainly not F1’s fault.

    3. Just call one the Austrian GP and the next the AUS GP ;)

    4. This is the same stuff reported in one of the linked articles from yesterday’s round-up: https://www.racefans.net/2020/04/20/racefans-round-up-20-04-3/
      It’s the German-article there.

    5. José Lopes da Silva
      21st April 2020, 14:29

      There have been two questions here. The feasibility of racing amid a pandemic and the feasibility of doing a Championship with a massive change in the usual format.

      I’m not sure if it is feasible to race amid a pandemic. But that should be left for experts. I’m like the Liverpool manager, I won’t comment about that. Although I think the pandemic is starting to have serious psychological consequences for millions of people. I can see Mr George’s feelings and emotions, in the above comment, in many Portuguese people about matters not related with sport whatsoever. It will be hard to avoid that negativity, as much as we want it.

      It’s pointless telling people feeling like Mr. George that all the thousands of jobs and families who directly and indirectly depend on F1 are not “their egos and coffers”. Their emotions don’t care about it. And emotional decisions are powerful, as the UK has shown recently.

      If there is a chance of racing safely, yes, we should do it, even with a massive change in the usual format.

      1. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
        21st April 2020, 15:10

        No we shouldn’t. F1 does not operate in a vacuum. First of all, all high risk sports should be avoided. There are people who need medical care for corona and now slowly the regular medical treatment can start up again that has been postponed. It’s very selfish and irresponsible to potentially put more pressure on them after the weeks they have had.

        Secondly why would F1 be allowed not all other sports? There are many small events that are safer. How do you as a governement explain to those other people who’s job depend on it that F1 is less save, but more important.

        And finally, the governament focuses on local business and companies now, slowly seeing where things can return to normal. An group of international crews form countries at various stages of corona infection is the last thing a country needs right now.

        1. the governament focuses on local business and companies now, slowly seeing where things can return to normal.

          Exactly, now. July 5th is still 2,5 months away. Noboby said “let’s stage the race this weekend”. Things will soon start to get back to “normal” in Europe. Sure not the normal we were used to, but a more cautious approach until a vaccine is discovered. Some public events like sports will resume but without fans.
          And that’s is not something i’m hoping for, this is something that’s being discussed lately among each country by their goverments. Here in Greece, it’s almost certain that by July we’ll be expecting the summer tourists to come. I don’t know what provisions they’ll take to ensure that there is not a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases and how they’ll police it, but businesses will resume because if otherwise, as cynical as it is the economy will collapse.

          Many football leagues in Europe are expected to do the same, stage all the matches in one city in one stadium behind closed doors were the situation of who enters-leaves can be somehow monitored better. F1 if all goes well will try to do something similar, races behind closed doors in racetracks and use constant multiple testing to ensure that none of the staff (team members, marshalls, hotel personel, others) are sick.

          And trust me, if the only ones wanting to resume, desipte the health issues, were Liberty Media just so that they don’t lose more money in the stock exchange, i would totaly agree with you. But if F1 doesn’t resume, teams would collapse, jobs will be lost and people are going to be unemployeed looking for job in the worst crash in the western economy since 1929.

          1. José Lopes da Silva
            21st April 2020, 19:35

            @black the next step is that people won’t be allowed to travel because health workers and carers are dying through lack of PPE and testing.

            1. The overwhelming majority of working age people survive this, even those exposed to high viral loads in hospitals and retirement houses. No working sector is going to see a negative impact even close to 1% in its demographics from this. This isn’t Ebola.

        2. José Lopes da Silva
          21st April 2020, 19:32

          @passingisoverrated Thank you for confirming my statement.

    6. I’m not really fond of the idea of padding the season by running multiple races on the same circuit. I mean if they can run multiple layouts it’s at least adding a bit of variety but 2 races on an identical layout would likely be rather dull, Not simply in terms of the racing but also simply watching another race from the same track.

      And yes they could test different formats or throw gimmicks at the second race to mix things up but I think if you do that the gimmicked race shouldn’t count towards the championship as I just don’t like the idea of something like a random reverse grid race been the deciding factor in a close title fight. I just feel that a championship season should see all races run to the same regulations & format & that experiments with alternative regs/formats should be done in non championship races.

      1. @stefmeister I too would rather see 15 races at 15 tracks rather than 15 races at 8 tracks, but can the teams afford the loss in TV revenue from an 8-round championship? With the 15-race minimum for full payment of TV contracts, and that likely to be the predominate source of income this year, I’m not sure F1 has the luxury of not padding the schedule.

    7. Those clever Austrians, while F1 dithers they are going to steal the season from Britain, you can just imagine the situation once all the teams are in Austria. Will they be allowed to return home without being subject to 14 days quarantine ? Would it not just make more sense to keep the cars and half the team in Austria for a few more races? Red Bull redux.

      1. Going by the 2019 Austrian GP results, I can imagine Red Bull would love your scenario.

      2. @hohum Yes, but Silverstone would be a better alternative for that purpose than Red Bull Ring.

        1. @jerejj, The best track for the purpose is the one where all the cars are, whichever one that might be, but it would be even better if most of the team headquarters were close by.

          1. @hohum Yes, and Silverstone is the closest one to most teams’ HQs.

            1. @jerejj, That’s right, as I pointed out on 14/3 and many times since.

      3. Just as it wasn’t stated so well in the article, the airport that is talked about is a military airport right next to the race track (that has been used for F1 before), located a bit over 5 mins away by car from the race track

    8. Jose Lopes da Silva
      22nd April 2020, 17:37

      Call them Austrian and Styrian GPs.

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