Austrian GP has long term future says Ecclestone

Red Bull Ring has a picturesque setting in the Styrian mountians

Red Bull Ring has a picturesque setting in the Styrian mountians

The Austrian Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar is secure, Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed.

After the A1-Ring last held a grand prix in 2003, Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz bought the Spielberg venue and spent  millions refurbishing it.

As the ‘Red Bull Ring’, the race has returned in 2014. Some traffic chaos aside, Austria’s return to the schedule has been warmly welcomed.

“People seem to like it here, which is very nice to see,” said the ultra low-profile Mateschitz, who is making a rare paddock appearance this weekend.

Even Niki Lauda, of Red Bull’s arch rivals Mercedes, admitted on Saturday he is happy to see Formula 1 back in his native country.

“Didi [Mateschitz] has done a great job here,” said the triple world champion.

So good that even Formula 1’s Chief Executive is impressed, It was important to have this race back,” Bernie Ecclestone is quoted by the German daily Bild. “It’s good for the region and for Formula 1.”

The newspaper said the Red Bull Ring has a new contract with Formula 1 that runs until 2020 – precisely the same length of Mateschitz’s commitment to the sport with the reigning world champion team Red Bull Racing.

Ecclestone said: “As long as Dietrich and I want it, the race will be here.

“We plan our calendar for the long term,” the Briton is quoted by APA news agency.

“We need stability with regards to venues and dates,” Ecclestone explained. “In the next five years, the calendar will be relatively stable.”

It is not known what annual fee Mateschitz is paying to Ecclestone, but the 83-year-old admitted it is less than some of the newer venues on the calendar like Abu Dhabi or Sochi.

“There is a difference [between them] and the traditional races,” he said.

Ecclestone said that he is happy with the rejuvenation work at the Red Bull Ring. “The old track was not nearly as good as it is now,” he said.

“It’s amazing what Dietrich has done here.”

Ecclestone also said that Austria is an important gateway for Formula 1 to nearby “Slovenia and Croatia”. (GMM)