#SaturdaySports: Formula 1 prepares for "closed doors" start to Grand Prix season

F1 season to start in Austria - but behind closed doors.

Formula One plans to start its stalled season with two races at Austria’s rural Red Bull Ring in Spielberg from July 3-5, followed by Silverstone in Britain. Spectators, and possibly press, will not be allowed at either venue.

Following a statement from Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO of Formula, the French Grand Prix will now not take place this year as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, whilst the British GP at Silverstone, also appears to be under threat.

However, as restrictions are tentatively easing across Europe, provisional plans are now being made for some events to go ahead.


Hungarian Grand Prix can only go ahead without spectators or press.

The Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix scheduled for August can only go ahead without spectators due to the latest restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers said on Friday.

The race at the Hungaroring, a circuit outside Budapest, is due to take place on August 2nd, but this week the government stated that events with more than 500 participants cannot be held until August 15th.

Hungary Grand Prix

Prime Minister Viktor Orban also said restrictions on movement in Budapest and surroundings, where 80% of the country’s coronavirus deaths have been recorded, would not be eased until the fatality rate fell there. “It is now evident that any F1 race in Hungary can now only be held behind closed doors,” the grand prix organisers said in a statement.

At the time of writing it is being speculated that Hungary could now postpone the event to August given that even with the exclusion of public and press as in excess of 1,000 people will be present.


Spa-Francorchamps Director-General Vanessa Maes has denied that the Belgian GP will "definitely not take place" in 2020.

Race promoter Spa Grand Prix announced recently that because all mass events in Belgium have been banned, the Formula 1 race cannot go ahead as scheduled.

Belgium Grand Prix

Indeed, a provisional F1 'corona calendar' began doing the rounds last week, and circuits including Spa, Monza and Zandvoort were not included.

But Maes told La Derniere Heure newspaper: "We are still in talks with FOM and the government about organising a grand prix behind closed doors."

Spa Grand Prix president Melchior Wathelet echoed Mme. Maes' optimism confirming earlier this week that he is in fact still working towards the current race date of August 30th.

“Yes, it is still quite possible to have a Belgian GP,” he told broadcaster RTBF. “The date is still free and Belgium is a candidate for the organisation of its event.”

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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