Emerging from lockdown, Formula One has announced an initial eight-race calendar starting on July 5. Picture: REUTERS
Emerging from lockdown, Formula One has announced an initial eight-race calendar starting on July 5. Picture: REUTERS

Formula One’s shortened coronavirus-hit season will finally get under way with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, the Austrian government announced on Saturday.

The Spielberg circuit has also been given the green light to stage a second race the following weekend.

Britain’s Silverstone circuit will also host two grands prix without spectators on an initial eight-race Formula One calendar published on Tuesday.

The two Formula One races on July 5 and 12 at Spielberg will be staged without spectators, announced Austrian health minister Rudolf Anschober.

The Hungarian Grand Prix will be on July 19, with races in Spain, Belgium and Italy on August 16 and 30 and September 6, respectively.

The Formula One season was unable to start in Australia in March as planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Melbourne was one of 10 races either cancelled or postponed, yet F1 boss Chase Carey believes a season of 15 to 18 races is still possible.

The 2020 F1 season was to have featured a record 22 races, but is now set to be one of the shortest campaigns for more than a decade.

Carey has outlined the blueprint for the rehashed season, involving additional European races through the traditional August break.

“We will then plan to race in Asia and the Americas in September, October, November before finishing in the Gulf in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in December,” he said.

He added: “We expect the early part of the calendar to be races without fans, but we hope to be able to allow fans to attend in the latter part of the year.”

While there may have been no racing up to now, there has been plenty going on behind the scenes, with Carlos Sainz replacing Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari for 2021 and Daniel Ricciardo joining McLaren.

FORMULA ONE CALENDAR 2020 — FIRST EIGHT RACES:

July 5 — Austria

July 12 — Austria

July 19 — Hungary

August 2 — Britain

August 9 — Britain

August 16 — Spain

August 30 — Belgium

September 6 — Italy

 

Ferrari gifts Kimi Raikkonen his race-winning F1 car

Ferrari has given Kimi Raikkonen a unique gift: a 2018 Ferrari Formula One car.

Kimi Raikkonen takes delivery of his 2018 race-winning Ferrari. Picture: SUPPLIED
Kimi Raikkonen takes delivery of his 2018 race-winning Ferrari. Picture: SUPPLIED

And not just any F1 car, but the Ferrari SF71H with which he won his last victory in F1: the 2018 US GP in Austin, Texas.

On Instagram, Raikkonen thanked Ferrari and posted a picture of the car in his garage next to his motorcycles.

The Finn, who drives for Alfa Romeo nowadays, was gifted the car to honour his achievements for the prancing horse during his time with the team. His first stint with Ferrari was from 2007-2009 in which he secured the drivers’ championship in 2007 — the last time Maranello has won the title.

The Ferrari given to Raikkonen was the car in which he took his first (and only) win after returning to the team in 2014.

Raikkonen, now 40 and F1’s oldest driver, joined Alfa Romeo in 2019 and finished 12th in the season with a best-placed finish of fourth in the Brazilian Grand Prix.