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Red Bull ramps up Austrian GP bid

11 December 2012

Red Bull has increased its push to return F1 action to Austria following the uncertainty over the destiny of the 20th spot on the 2013 grand prix schedule.

The twelve-month postponement of the proposed race in New Jersey left a hole in the calendar but, instead of opting to return to a 19-race schedule, the FIA shuffled a couple of dates and confirmed that a replacement would be found for the second American round.

The immediate favourite to fill the void was Turkey, which was omitted from the 2012 calendar in a dispute over funding. The Istanbul Park venue, however, has been a hit with drivers, and it initially appeared that it would be the favoured destination for the gap between Canada and Britain.

However, doubts over its viability began to form when the Turkish government announced that it would not help to fund the race and, with the likes of France and Valencia not in position to stage a round in 2013, the search for alternatives began.

Austria has not featured on the F1 schedule for some nine years after the A1 Ring was deemed unsuitable for the category, but Red Bull has spent time and money transforming the venue and, after hosting other series, the drinks brand is now building on a throw-away comment from world champion Sebastian Vettel – who drove his title-winning RB8 from Graz to the circuit last week – in a bid to fill the vacant slot in June.

"We have made the FIA aware that we have a track with a full F1 license," Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko told Speed Week before identifying a couple of potential subsidisers in 'the province of Styria and the republic of Austria'.

Marko also insisted that there would be no problem with either accommodation for teams and fans or the facilities at the circuit itself – which he claims could be expanded to cater for a grand prix circus that has grown since the circuit's last appearance.

The last Austrian Grand Prix was run in 2003, when Michael Schumacher completed back-to-back wins after the controversial circumstances of 2002, when Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello was ordered to slow and allow the German to win, despite Schumacher already holding a commanding championship advantage. The same demand had also been made of Barrichello a year earlier, when the Brazilian was forced to cede second place to Schumacher as David Coulthard took the win.

No decision is expected on an Austrian return until the New Year, as Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz is on holiday and unable to negotiate terms with Bernie Ecclestone.


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