Report: Austria set to host first two races of 2020 season

After weeks of speculation, it is believed an announcement is imminent that the Austrian Grand Prix will be officially confirmed as the venue for the first two races of the 2020 Formula 1 season.

Per a report from Austrian public radio broadcaster Ö3 on Friday, officials are confident that the GP can go ahead amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on July 5 and 12.

A country that has been largely successful in curbing the spread of the coronavirus, Ö3 said that “only a second wave of infection can prevent Formula 1 in Styria”, with the necessary precautions in place.

As part of those precautions, the approximately 400 track, security and hospitality personnel associated with the event have already been tested and cleared of the disease.

Additionally, all F1 personnel — of which the number will be limited to less than 2000 with the removal of spectators and independent media — will be required to supply a “negative SARS-CoV-2 certificate” in order to ensure they don’t bring the virus with them.

At the same time, it remains uncertain how F1 will proceed after these opening two rounds. Previous reports have indicated that Silverstone could follow in Austria’s footsteps with multiple rounds, but the UK has been significantly harder-hit by COVID-19, while races in other countries seem unlikely amidst continued extensive restrictions.