Formula 1: Key factors ahead of season-opening Austrian Grand Prix
The Formula 1 2020 season is finally set to start with this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix. The season was hampered by the coronavirus pandemic that forced authorities to cancel races. There will be no fans at the remote Spielberg track in Austria. Plenty of things have been happening in the world of F1. We look at the key factors ahead of the opening race.
We will witness major changes with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting normal life. F1 teams will work in their own individual bubbles to reduce the risk of infection and transmission. With limited in personnel, there will be no hospitality units. The paddock will be different from a regular one. Visually, there will be a difference in how things function. Car upgrades will be on offer.
Red Bull will be aiming to win a third successive race at the Austrian GP. Max Verstappen has won the race here in 2018 and 2019 respectively. The team is looking for a hat-trick of wins. Notably, the second race is also taking place at the same venue next week. Therefore, Red Bull will want to seize the opportunity and start well.
Sebastian Vettel is set to leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 F1 season. The German battled with some inconsistent form of late and one wants him to head out with a bang. Vettel is keen to give his all and highlighted that what Ferrari would do this weekend, will set the tone for next weekend's race as well.
Mercedes will run black-liveried cars, starting this weekend in Austria. Mercedes have made a powerful and visual stand against racism. "For 2020, we have chosen to race in an all-black base livery as a public pledge to improve the diversity of our team - and a clear statement that we stand against racism and all forms of discrimination," said a Mercedes statement.
The Austrian GP will be held at the Red Bull Ring. The qualifying will take place on Saturday (6:30 PM IST). The main race will be held on Sunday (6:40 PM IST). One can watch the race live on the Star Sports Network.