Fernando Alonso has only cautiously welcomed news that Austria will be on the 2014 calendar, after it was announced this week that Red Bull Ring owner Dietrich Mateschitz has agreed a deal with Bernie Ecclestone for the Austrian Grand Prix to return in 2014.
“If you look at the calendar,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, “it is extremely important that we’re still [racing] in Europe.”
Also speaking to Austria’s Laola1, Mark Webber agreed: “It’s a great traditional track, and we’ve lost quite a lot of those.”
The deal, however, is conditional on certain local permissions, including noise and environmental plans, and a raising of the Red Bull Ring’s allowed spectator limit from 40 000.
So it is apparently for that reason, rather than the fact Red Bull is Ferrari driver Alonso’s arch rival, that the Spaniard welcomed the news only cautiously.
“The people of Austria have a lot of support for Formula 1,” said Alonso, “but at the moment there is only the hope – only the rumour.”
Told, however, that even a date for the former A1-Ring’s return in 2014 has been set, Alonso insisted: “We shouldn’t forget that the federation hasn’t ruled on this yet.”
The Ferrari driver even had little to say about the actual circuit layout, which despite being rebuilt by Red Bull is still essentially the same as always.
“I don’t know much about the track, so I don’t have a strong opinion about it,” said Alonso. “We’ve been there, but that was some time ago.”
Then driving for Renault in 2003, Alonso retired from the last Austrian Grand Prix with engine failure. (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.