Ross Brawn, the head of the Formula One World Championship, declared that the remote location of the Austrian circuit makes it the ideal place to start the season with two consecutive closed-door races. “One of the logistical challenges is getting everyone tested and cleared to enter the race space,” Brawn said at the F1 Nation podcast.
“Once that’s done, it’s very attractive to keep everyone in that environment, within that biosphere that we want to create, for another race,” he defended the two-race format. The organisers intend to start the championship, which was suspended in March, with two consecutive races at the Spielberg Red Bull Ring on 5 and 12 July.
“It’s quite difficult to find the right kind of race where, from the beginning, we can control the environment well enough to ensure everyone’s safety,” explained the Formula One managing director.
“Austria fits in very well with that. It has an airport right next to the circuit, which people can get to. It’s not too close to a city either,” he said.
Austria has become the likely start to the season after the cancellation of the French Grand Prix, scheduled for June 28th, the tenth race of the season to stop racing as scheduled. However, the race in Austria will only be approved by the authorities on condition that it is held behind closed doors, as demanded by the Austrian Health Ministry this week.
Brawn explained that while they want to start the season to offer motoring enthusiasts some excitement in this tough time of the pandemic, any competition can only be held with the maximum guarantees of safety.
“Running a Formula One race under these circumstances is something new for all of us and we are working on all the requirements to make sure we work in a safe environment for the drivers, the engineers, the technicians, for everyone involved in the race, and thus provide the right spectacle,” he summed up.
And although he regretted that he could not attend in public, at least the fans will be able to follow the competition on television. “We have a very exciting season ahead of us, it’s also a livelihood for thousands of people, and that’s another reason to try and start the season,” concluded the World Championship leader.