F1 gets the go-ahead to start the season with a double header from the Austrian GP

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The race on the Red Bull Ring at the Spielberg circuit will be the first of a double F1 header, with the second staged the following weekend.

Both races will be held behind closed doors without spectators, it was confirmed in a statement released to CNN.

Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anshober said the two races were approved after Formula 1 organizers “presented a comprehensive professional safety plan” to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.

“In addition to strict hygiene measures, the plan also includes regular tests and health checks for teams and all other employees,” he added.

The relatively remote location of the Red Bull Ring and a nearby local airport made it the ideal location for F1 in current circumstances, while infection rates and a death toll of less than 700 in Austria were relatively smaller than other European countries. .

Chaotic start

The go-ahead for the start of the action will be a relief to the organizers and F1 teams after the start of the 2020 season was thrown into chaos with the last minute cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix in March, only a few hours before the start of the tests.

Melbourne was the first of 10 races canceled or postponed, but F1 boss Chase Carey said he believes a 15-18 race season can still be completed.

When he starts, Lewis Hamilton will bid on a record-breaking seventh F1 world record title, but his hopes of racing in front of his home crowd in a double header at the British Grand Prix. at Silverstone after the Austrian races continue to hold the balance.

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In hope, the British government gave the go-ahead on Saturday to resume competitive sport no earlier than Monday.

“It is up to each sport to decide exactly when to resume the competition. They know their sports better. But football, tennis, horse racing, Formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are ready to return to our (TV) soon”, said Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for digital, culture, media and sports.

But an insistence by the British government that all arrivals to the country undergo a two-week quarantine period could have an impact on plans for the British Grand Prix, unless an exemption is made.

While F1 action was limited to virtual racing, there was a dramatic upheaval behind the scenes with Carlos Sainz replacing Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari for 2021 and Daniel Ricciardo who left Renault for McLaren.

Smaller teams also suffered significant financial pressure, with Williams announcing earlier this week that it was on sale after recording a loss of £ 13 million ($ 15.7 million) last year.

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