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Austria to stage Formula 1 season opener in July

The race will take place without spectators.

A general view of the 2019 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix race.
A general view of the 2019 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix race.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

FORMULA ONE’S TRUNCATED coronavirus-hit season will finally get underway with the Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July, the Austrian government announced on Saturday.

The Spielberg circuit has also been given the green light to stage a second race the following weekend.

“The two Formula One races on 5 and 12 July 5 at Spielberg will be staged without spectators,” said Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober.

He added that the two races had been approved after F1 organisers “had presented a complete and professional plan” to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The F1 season was thrown into chaos with the cancellation of the traditional curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in March only hours before practice was due to begin.

It was one of 10 races either cancelled or postponed, yet F1 boss Chase Carey has insisted that a 15-18 race season is still possible.

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But Silverstone’s hopes of also staging back-to-back races after Austria are in the balance after the British government insisted that all arrivals in the country undergo a two-week quarantine period.

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