Austria GP plan chances ’very high’ - Marko

"We are open to looking into anything and everything"

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By GMM

20 April 2020 - 11:48
Austria GP plan chances ’very high’ (...)

Austria and Silverstone appear to be headlining F1’s return to racing action.

It is believed a new race calendar will be published as soon as May, with the first two or three races to be held at the Red Bull Ring, followed by Silverstone.

"We have been asked if we could hold a race or two and could they be behind closed doors," Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle told the Guardian.

"The answer is absolutely, we are open to looking into anything and everything."

The 2020 season would reportedly begin in Austria on 5 July, followed by another at the same Red Bull-owned circuit the next weekend.

A mid-week race in Austria is also possible, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko told ORF.

Then the sport would move on to Silverstone.

"It looks very good now that we can host both races," Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko told f1-insider.com.

"We are ready. Liberty is insisting that the number of people be kept as low as possible, which means there will only be television, no media representatives."

Measures will also be in place to safeguard against a coronavirus outbreak, including mandatory testing and perhaps pre-race quarantines.

"There will be strict requirements like the minimum distance, and the wearing of masks will be mandatory," said Marko.

"But at least there are finally good reasons to be optimistic."

Austria’s plan has the backing of the authorities, with Styrian governor Hermann Schutzenhofer telling APA news agency: "Of course I would like it to be held at the Red Bull Ring.

"Even in the current times we must not lose confidence. We are infinitely grateful to Dietrich Mateschitz for his huge commitment to his home in Styria, and it would be nice if we could at least have an exciting grand prix and send beautiful pictures of the Mur valley to the world via TV," he added.

Marko said Red Bull is working closely with the Austrian authorities to ensure the race can be held.

"Preparations are currently underway," he said.

"That means we will receive a catalogue of measures from the vice chancellor so that Formula 1 people can enter Austria.

"At the same time, there are also a catalogue of measures on how to reduce the size of the teams so that as few people as possible come to Austria. And so far, provided that the coronavirus situation does not worsen again, that seems possible.

"It would be the first major global event to be broadcast on TV, which is an invaluable advertisement for Austria and would show how efficiently we handled the whole coronavirus process.

"We are all hoping for it, but the signs indicate that the chances are very high," Marko added.

Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost said he also hopes the Austria plan works out, telling Salzburger Nachrichten that there is "still a little hope" that Paul Ricard may also be able to go ahead.

Haas boss Gunther Steiner told Ekstra Bladet: "I pay the most attention to what the vice chancellor of Austria and Red Bull are saying - that there is a high probability that we will start racing again in July.

"I think they are ready to open the country again, so as an industry we have to prove to them that we can control the situation and have good guidelines in place.

"We have to show them that we are worthy of the trust - that we are doing the right things so that we can get back to racing," Steiner added.

"It will never be 100 percent, but right now there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.

"Everyone has been at home for a long time and have seen every Netflix series," Steiner smiled. "Now they need something to look forward to.

"If we can do it safely, then as a racer I can’t wait to get started."

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