- Austrian Grand Prix
Austria set for Formula One return in 2014
Something's got to give
- Red Bull's announcement that Austria will be back in Formula One next year is good news for fans in sport's European heartland but throws up big questions over the 2014 calendar. As things stand, two races have to give to get down to Formula One's unofficial cap of 20 races next year. The Korean Grand Prix has been in doubt for some time and looks most at threat from the new additions of New Jersey, Russia and Austria, although it still has a contract until 2016. But if it did go that would still leave 21, and although scare stories emerge every year over certain races such as Spa and Melbourne, there are no obvious signs that those grands prix will drop off the calendar next year. Whether New Jersey will be ready in time, however, is still far from certain. Construction on the pit and paddock continues, but the bigger concern is getting the track up to FIA standards by widening, levelling and resurfacing the roads of Weehawken and West New York. Fitting Austria and New Jersey into F1's busy summer is looking difficult, which could indicate the race in the USA is set for yet another delay.
Formula One is set to return to Austria next year after Red Bull announced it had struck a deal to bring a grand prix back to its circuit in Spielberg.
In a short statement, Red Bull told Austrian media that the race will take place at the Red Bull Ring on July 6 after co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz agreed a deal with Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone. F1 last raced on the circuit in 2003, when it was called the A1 Ring, but has a long history at the venue which used to be home to the daunting Osterreichring. Since 2003 Red Bull has redeveloped the track and it currently hosts a number of racing series, including DTM.
There was talk that the Red Bull Ring could become a replacement for the postponed New Jersey Grand Prix this year, but after a stand-in race could not be agreed on the FIA signed off a 19-race calendar instead. An Austrian Grand Prix in 2014 would have to receive the approval of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council to be granted a place on the calendar and, alongside the proposed races in New Jersey and Russia, could bring the total number of grands prix to 22 next year, although question marks remain over Korea's future.
Formula One teams have made clear they do not want have more than 20 races per year, and with four two-day in-season tests planned after select European rounds in 2014, it is not clear where the new races will fit in. Austria's date of July 6 is the same as the one that currently appears on Silverstone's ticket sales website for the 2014 British Grand Prix and is the same weekend that the German Grand Prix took place on this year.
The FIA has yet to make a draft calendar for next year public.