Wolff: I’m optimistic we can start in Austria

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has expressed his optimism Formula 1 can start the 2020 season at the Austrian Grand Prix, as he believes his home country has been one of the “best” at handling the coronavirus pandemic.

With the first ten races on the 2020 Formula 1 calendar cancelled or postponed, the Red Bull Ring is now set to kick-off the season with back-to-back races on July 5 and 12.

And while less than 50 days out there are certainly no guarantees, Wolff is confident the races will happen.

“I’m pretty optimistic that we can start in Austria because Austria has been one of the best countries in keeping the virus numbers low,” he said in a video on Mercedes’ YouTube channel. “And I think they will come up with a plan of how we can race.

“I know the circuit extremely well, because I did a thousand laps there as a racing driver and as an instructor. I lived in Spielberg, whilst being a junior driver. It feels a little bit like a second home. I love Styria, and [have] many fond memories from the place.

“Starting the season there makes me very proud, that Austria will be the season opener, and doing it on two consecutive weekends so that finally we get two races done. I’m very much looking forward to it.”

That said, F1 factories remain shutdown for the time being, with Wolff explaining how his staff have used the time-off to re-think their working environment.

“We have a great task force in MGP who is structuring the life after corona, with the social distancing, moving desks and work places around. So it will be very different.

“I think what we have learnt is that we can do a lot from home. Zoom conferences or Skype or Webex are very efficient, so I think that’s going to change in our work environment.

“And then of course we are planning the next races and hopefully getting the season started soon.”