Fans still heading to Austria despite empty grandstands for F1 opener

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Despite being behind closed doors, Spielberg is still expecting plenty of Formula 1 fans for the Austrian Grand Prix.

While accommodation hasn't always been in great supply around the Red Bull Ring, the local tourism board says hotels are still up to 80 percent booked ahead of the pair of races set to take place in the next two weekends.

Of course, no fans are to be allowed within the confines of the circuit, as F1 adapts to its new normal at a time of coronavirus.

But the head of Tourismus am Spielberg, Manuela Machner, does expect some gatherings to watch the event.

"We don't know how the fans will behave, but they are welcome in the hotel gardens to watch the races together," she was quoted as telling local media.

2019AustrianGrandPrixSunday 56I0628

Also Read:

As for the prospect of when fans will again be in the grandstands at a race weekend, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul is pretty pessimistic.

“It may take a while,” Motorsport Week reports him telling an event for title sponsor DP World.

“We are bracing ourselves for a season that will be mostly behind closed doors with a different set of economics obviously given the circumstances, but hopefully we will be able to have a very small fan attendance in the course of the summer.

“I don’t have any of my own predictions but looking at the way the pandemic has been developing and fluctuating, and being more in control in Europe, for me it looks like we may have to wait for a complete cycle, a complete winter, before we find some promotors who are prepared to take the economic risk to set up a race with grandstands with full attendance.

“That’s why the main concern has been to protect the sport, Formula 1, for next year, when we think it will be all back to normal.”