Max Verstappen of the Red Bull Racing competes in the qualifying session of the F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, November 30, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
The 2020 Formula One season can restart in Austria as the country's health ministry has given the world's top motor racing championship the green light to organize a double-header behind closed doors on July 5 and 12.
This season was supposed to start in March in Australia but the global spread of the coronavirus forced the authorities to either cancel or postpone a string of races, including the blockbuster in Monaco.
Instead of the original 22-race schedule, the F1 is looking forward to hold 15 to 18 races and ending the season in Abu Dhabi in December after visiting Asia and the Americas.
Racers compete in the F1 Grand Prix at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, June 30, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
If the 2020 season resumes in July, each of the 10 teams will be bringing no more than 80 people to the race, as requested by International Automobile Federation last week. Regular health checks will be conducted on everyone involved.
According to The New Paper, the two races in Austria will be followed by one in Hungary and two at Silverstone in Britain. If Britain cannot host them out of public health concerns, Hockenheim in Germany will be an alternative, followed by more competitions in Spain, Belgium and Italy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already cost F1 financially, not just in race revenues, but also in team budgets. Originally, the teams agreed to set the budget cap at 175 million U.S. dollars in 2019. However, last week, they agreed to bring it down gradually to 135 million in the coming three years.