The Austrian Grand Prix will be returning to the Formula 1 schedule for the 2014 season according to a statement released by Red Bull, who owns the circuit that the event will be held at. The last time the Austrian GP appeared on the F1 schedule was in 2003 when Michael Schumacher won the race.
Red Bull told Austrian media that co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone had reached an agreement for the race to take place on July 6 2014 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. Just what Formula One needs…more Red Bull.
The race is a big plus for F1 since it adds another European event to the schedule which will cut down on travel costs and allow for the lower formulas to more easily travel to the track to compete. Costs are additionally cut by using an existing circuit instead of constructing a new facility as is the case with the Russian Grand Prix which will be held at a new track near the Olympic Village in Sochi.
The Formula One schedule is unofficially capped at 20 races, and the addition of Austria and Russia puts the calendar at 21 events. I’m assuming that the second US race in New Jersey will yet again be postponed for another year due to the difficulties surrounding the upgrades needed at the site. Signs are pointing towards the Korean Grand Prix being the race that will be cut from the 2014 schedule despite the event having a contract through 2016.
The teams don’t want more than 20 races because it would make the schedule too crowded given that there will be four, two-day testing sessions during the season in 2014. It is possible that Ecclestone and the teams could strike a deal to get the schedule expanded to 21 or 22 races, which would cut down on the amount of three week gaps in the schedule and keep fan interest from lagging between events. Formula One has not released a draft schedule for 2014 yet, and that likely won’t happen until the fate of the New Jersey race is decided.
The Austrian GP will be a welcome addition to the F1 calendar even if it forces another race off of the schedule, but with any luck the FIA, Ecclestone, and the teams will sit down and find a way to expand the schedule.
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