Marko: “Austria is litmus test for the entire season”

10:34 – Today, the familiar sound of the hybrid V6 turbo engines is finally heard in Spielberg. After a compulsory corona break of almost four months, the Formula 1 season has started again.

It is hardly a coincidence that it has become Austria and the Red Bull Ring where it will be driven for the first time in 2020. The country has a fairly liberal policy when it comes to the corona virus, but above all in Red Bull owner Dieter Mateschitz has a man who knows how to tackle it.

The Red Bull empire consists of more than just selling cans and a Formula 1 team as a showcase. Among other things, it also includes a Formula 1 circuit in Spielberg with almost all catering and infrastructure in the area, which naturally makes the organization of a Grand Prix relatively clear. The idea to pick up the project started to come alive after postponing the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko explains Car, engine and sport. “I did at the time [F1-baas] Called Chase Carey and said we could organize a Grand Prix. Then we negotiated a new agreement with Liberty Media. “

But that was only the beginning, Marko said. “I went to Mateschitz after that. We went through a few things and then, as was often the case with us, a ‘yes!’ The first contacts were then made with the Austrian government, who also expressed their willingness to allow it under strict conditions. From that moment on, we picked up the glove with Project Spielberg (the hotels and the circuit in and around Spielberg) and went to work. “


To create support, the Styrian regional government was connected and a complete, detailed scenario was mapped out. The people of Red Bull received help from an unexpected source, namely from Red Bull Leipzig. The German football club was already in contact with other Bundesliga clubs and the German Football Association about a resumption of the highest German football league. “We only had to adjust the original scenario once. Our luck was that we already had a good starting position through our contacts in the Bundesliga. Their plan was adapted to our wishes and requirements. Of course all very detailed and careful.”

Litmus test

With the whole plan in place, this weekend is the ultimate test. In practice, it should become clear in the coming days whether everything is working. The Austrian health and safety plan serves as a blueprint for the rest of the season, which means that not only in Austria are they eagerly looking forward to the coming days, but also the governments and Grand Prix organizers in the other countries calendar. They will undoubtedly only give their final approval for a race in their country if nothing goes wrong this weekend. “The two races in Austria serve as a litmus test for the rest of the season. This has to succeed and if we succeed, there is a good chance that the season will be received positively”, Marko concludes.