Red Bull expect 'fierce competition' from the start at 'blueprint' Austria races

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner expects "fierce competition" when the Formula 1 season finally gets underway in Austria next month.

When the lights go out at the Red Bull Ring on July 5, it will bring to an end the third-longest gap between races in the sport's history, coming just over seven months after the 2019 season finale in Abu Dhabi last December.

Due to the continued threat of coronavirus, no crowds will fill the grandstands in Spielberg, while teams will be regularly tested and kept in their own "bubbles".

But after the initial 2020 calendar was announced, Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz instantly boosted the excitement level.

"We take on this challenge unique in the history of F1, and we are looking forward to both weekends," he said earlier this week

"Spielberg will see exciting races – and therefore send a strong sign of feasibility to the whole world."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner also praised the work done to ensure the F1 season can get underway.

"Red Bull have pulled out all the stops to get the Austrian Grand Prix up and running, in order to support a safe start to the Formula 1 season," he said.

"It’s a fantastic venue and we are pleased to be starting our championship campaign at our home circuit.

"It has been a huge effort by all involved and the two events at the Red Bull Ring will be a blueprint for all other races to follow.

"There was obviously a huge amount of discussion behind the scenes with Liberty, the FIA and the local authorities to ensure that returning to racing is done responsibly and we all have our part to play in order to enforce the measures in place.

"With the first eight races of the calendar now confirmed we have some positive momentum. As a race team and racers, we are excited to get going again and put on a show for our fans."

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The Austrian brand will also no doubt head to their home race buoyed by the fact Max Verstappen has won each of the past two years at the Red Bull Ring.

And Horner is expecting the on-track action to overcome the unique atmosphere. 

"I think it is going to be different, it is going to be very different," he recently told Autosport on what the closed-door events will be like.

"But when the lights go out, it's all about what happens on the track, and you get so immersed in what you're doing.

"The surroundings might be a little different, but I think the competition is going to be just as fierce and everybody's going to be focused on what's going on on track."