The hills are alive with the sound of- the news that the Austrian Grand Prix is to return to the F1 calendar in 2014.
In a surprise announcement made via a Red Bull press release, the Alpine nation will once again host an F1 event at the Spielberg-based Red Bull Ring. The track, originally named the Österreichring, and then more recently the A1-Ring, last hosted an F1 race in 2003 after six years sitting on the calendar.
Since then, Dietrich Mateschitz’s energy drink empire have taken over the venue (much like they have with the whole motorsport spectrum), and proceeded to host DTM and Formula 2 events after redeveloping the circuits outdated pit complex and main grandstand.
With dollar signs seemingly seducing Mr.Ecclestone, it seems a return to the circuit beckons, one that has seen some controversial F1 memories unravel in the sport’s recent history. Who can forget Rubens Barrichello rolling out the red carpet to victory for Michael Schumacher on the final lap in 2002? It was the catalyst to a ban on team orders, an argument that continue to rages 11 years later.
Question marks do still reign supreme, however. The return to Sound of Music country is dependent on one or two slight obstacles, thought to be concerning final construction projects and environmental conditions that must be agreed prior to F1 2014 rolling into Spielberg. In previous years, Bernie claimed the venue just did not have to hotels and infrastructure to accommodate his circus. Being Bernie however, this judgment has clearly changed!
It looks as if it’s a case of Back To The Future for Formula One next year. The return of turbos, and now the return to Austria. We wouldn’t suggest this, but maybe, just maybe, there’s a Frentzen, Hakkinen, maybe even a Mansell looking to complete the blast from the past next season…