F1 targets Austrian Grand Prix in July for season start

Formula 1 is aiming to begin the 2020 season at the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, according to the series’ CEO Chase Carey.

On Monday morning it was announced that the French Grand Prix had been cancelled, meaning the first 10 races of the 2020 season have been postponed or cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

But with lockdowns easing in may European countries, Carey is hopeful that the season will be able to get underway on July 5 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Carey has also confirmed that races will initially be held behind closed doors, without fans, but he is hopeful that fans will be able to attend races in the latter part of the year.

Speaking about Formula 1’s current plans, Carey said: “Although this morning it was announced that the French Grand Prix, due to take place in late June, will not be going ahead, we are now increasingly confident with the progress of our plans to begin our season this summer.

“We’re targeting a start to racing in Europe through July, August and beginning of September, with the first race taking place in Austria on 3-5 July weekend. September, October and November, would see us race in Eurasia, Asia and the Americas, finishing the season in the Gulf in December with Bahrain before the traditional finale in Abu Dhabi, having completed between 15-18 races.

“We will publish our finalised calendar as soon as we possibly can.

“We expect the early races to be without fans but hope fans will be part of our events as we move further into the schedule. We still have to work out many issues like the procedures for the teams and our other partners to enter and operate in each country.

“The health and safety of all involved will continue to be priority one and we will only go forward if we are confident we have reliable procedures to address both risks and possible issues.”

It was also confirmed that teams have been working hard with the FIA in the background to strengthen the long term future of Formula 1, with discussions taking place surrounding new technical, sporting and financial regulations, and that while the current plans are subject to change, they want to return to action as quick as possible in “the right and safest way”.