Following a long-anticipated wait, F1 confirmed today that the 2020 season will get underway with back-to-back races at Red Bull's home circuit on 5 and 12 July.
The coronavirus pandemic has put the season on hold for almost four months, and whilst responsibility during this crisis remains the absolute priority, it is hoped that the return of major sporting events and F1 racing can bring some relief and entertainment to fans.
The season will start with three historic firsts - Red Bull Ring will host the opening race of a Formula One season for the first time, two races will be held at the same circuit on consecutive weekends and to ensure the safety of all involved, the event will be closed to spectators.
The "Formula 1 Rolex Grosser Preis von Osterreich" is to open the season on 5 July, while the "Formula 1 Pirelli Grosser Preis der Steiermark" is to follow on 12 July.
The Red Bull Ring has implemented a number of strict measures to meet the requirements of the authorities and to ensure we resume racing in the safest possible way. Those measures include closing the circuit to spectators, regular testing, comprehensive hygiene measures and a size reduction in F1 teams and organisational staff.
"We take on this challenge unique in the history of F1," said Dietrich Mateschitz, "and we are looking forward to both weekends. Spielberg will see exciting races - and therefore send a strong sign of feasibility to the whole world."
"Red Bull have pulled out all the stops to get the Austrian Grand Prix up and running, in order to support a safe start to the Formula One season," added Christian Horner. "It’s a fantastic venue and we are pleased to be starting our championship campaign at our home circuit.
"It has been a huge effort by all involved and the two events at the Red Bull Ring will be a blueprint for all other races to follow. There was obviously a huge amount of discussion behind the scenes with Liberty, the FIA and the local authorities to ensure that returning to racing is done responsibly and we all have our part to play in order to enforce the measures in place.
"With the first eight races of the calendar now confirmed we have some positive momentum. As a race team and racers, we are excited to get going again and put on a show for our fans."
"It’s fantastic to go racing again, as it will be the first race for our new Scuderia AlphaTauri colours," said Franz Tost. "We all are more than excited that it takes place at the Red Bull Ring in this wonderful part of Austria.
"A big Thank You to Dietrich Mateschitz and Red Bull for hosting Formula 1 in Spielberg, to enable Formula 1 to start the season, and to get back to work. It took a lot of time and effort to receive the approval from the Government. This is also the result of the negotiations Dr Marko started with the authorities’ several weeks ago.
"Of course the atmosphere will be strange and it is a shame that no spectators can attend, but this is an important first step on getting Formula 1 back to normal as soon as possible.
"The standards imposed are very rigorous and we have already employed them ourselves in our facilities in Faenza and Bicester, which led to essential staff being able to return to work on 1st June to prepare for the season. It is vital from a business point of view and also as a sign that life is getting back to normal."