Red Bull Announces Austrian Grand Prix To Return in 2014
- Red Bull has announced an agreement to restore the Austrian Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar.
- Energy drink magnate Dietrich Mateschitz and F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone executed the agreement Tuesday.
- No provisional calendar for 2014 has been released.
SPIELBERG, Austria — The Austrian Grand Prix is expected to return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2014 after announcement of an agreement between Dietrich Mateschitz of Red Bull and F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone.
Mateschitz is the Austrian businessman who founded the Red Bull energy-drink company.
The return of the Austrian Grand Prix signals an increasingly crowded calendar for Formula 1. More than 20 races are possible for next year, including a first-time visit to Russia. But no provisional 2014 calendar has been released yet.
Red Bull, sponsor-owner of the three-time championship Red Bull Racing team, now owns and has attached its brand to the former A1 Ring circuit where the race was held 25 times between 1970 and 2003.
The Red Bull Ring was originally known as the Österreichring (Austrian Circuit) and returned to the circuit after a revamping and renaming as the A1 Ring in 1997 after a nine-year absence from the schedule.
If an event is held next year, it will produce a new winner. No currently active F1 driver has won an Austrian GP.
A non-championship Austrian GP was won by Jack Brabham in 1963 and a championship round went to Lorenzo Bandini in 1964, with both races being held at Zeltwig Airport. Jacky Ickx won the first race at the new circuit in 1970.
The 1975 race, won by Vittorio Brambilla, was marred by a crash that claimed American driver Mark Donohue, the 1972 Indianapolis 500 winner.
Michael Schumacher won the last two races in 2002 and 2003. The 2002 victory was the infamous "team orders" finish for the Ferrari team, in which Rubens Barrichello slowed and allowed Schumacher to pass him on the final turn, raising a howl from F1 fans and observers.
After 2003, a renovation of the track was begun but was halted in progress. The venue has been absent from the circuit since then.
Mateschitz bought the track in 2011 and finished the renovation. The Red Bull Ring has been the site of races for the German Touring Car and Formula 2 championship.
Edmunds says: The demand for F1 continues to increase. Austria would be a rare exception to the present trend of expansion to non-European venues.