Austria government gives green light for two F1 races next month

Formula One can start its season in Austria with two races behind closed doors on July 5 and 12, the country's health ministry said on Saturday.

The delayed championship, which was due to get going in Australia in March, has had to cancel or postpone a string of races - including the Monaco highlight - due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Formula One is expected to publish a revamped calendar this week with a race in neighbouring Hungary, also without spectators, following on from Austria.

Two races will then follow at Silverstone in Britain, with Hockenheim in Germany an alternative if quarantine conditions are an obstacle, with further rounds in Spain, Belgium and Italy.

The sport has said it hopes to do between 15-18 races, a reduction from the originally scheduled record 22, ending the season in Abu Dhabi in December after visiting Asia and the Americas.

Austria is among countries moving ahead with easing restrictions as coronavirus infections wane.

Formula One's 10 teams will be limited to a maximum 80 people each at the races when the delayed season gets going in July, the governing International Automobile Federation had said last Thursday.

The numbers could exceed 1,000 with support personnel, medical staff and others to be factored in. They will be subjected to regular health checks. - REUTERS