A1-Ring could win reprieve

The Austrian Grand Prix may yet remain on the Formula One calendar according to Bernie Ecclestone, who said this weekend's race at the A1-Ring might not be the last. The Austrian GP was expected to be dropped from the F1 schedule due to...

The Austrian Grand Prix may yet remain on the Formula One calendar according to Bernie Ecclestone, who said this weekend's race at the A1-Ring might not be the last. The Austrian GP was expected to be dropped from the F1 schedule due to anti-tobacco advertising laws but Red Bull energy drink boss Dietrich Mateschitz is keen to keep the A1-Ring on the calendar.

Mateschitz bought the circuit and plans to invest around £200million to upgrade the facilities. "We don't know at the moment if it's going to be the last one," Ecclestone said. "This may not be the last. We'll see. We didn't leave out of choice. Let's see what happens with our friend Red Bull, see how he makes what he does here and we'll see. Maybe we are going to come back."

How Mateschitz will get round the tobacco laws is unknown. Ecclestone also hinted the F1 schedule could be increased to 20 races in the season as more countries are interested in playing host to F1. Teams have been opposed to adding more events to the calendar but Ecclestone says they might have no choice: "Maybe yes, maybe they'll have to," he remarked.

There are currently sixteen races in the season, previously seventeen but Spa-Francorchamps was dropped this year due to tobacco advertising bans. Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have all expressed an interest in hosting a GP and even Switzerland, where motor racing is still banned, is contemplating the possibilities of F1.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone