Formula One will return to Austria next year, adding the Red Bull-branded Spielberg circuit to its Grand Prix schedule 11 years after leaving the Alpine country.
Dietrich Mateschitz, founder of the energy drink maker, agreed with Formula One Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone to hold the race July 6, Red Bull GmbH said in a statement. The Fuschl, Austria-based company sponsors the team that won the Formula One driver and constructor titles for the past three years.
Spielberg, in the southern province of Styria, hosted the Austrian Grand Prix from 1970 to 1987 and from 1997 to 2003, when it was named the A1 Ring after its then sponsor Telekom Austria AG’s mobile-phone brand.
Mateschitz bought the circuit in 2004 and reopened it in 2011 after the track was redesigned and rebuilt. It has since hosted DTM and Formula Two races.
Three-time Formula One champion Niki Lauda welcomed the return of the race to his homeland.
“That’s the best that could happen to us,” he was cited as saying by the Austria Press Agency. “This global publicity for Austria is priceless. I always hoped Formula One would return. That it really does is only Mr. Mateschitz’s success. It’s a great joy and it means a lot to me, all of Austria should salute that.”
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel leads the current Formula One standings after nine of 19 races as he seeks a fourth successive title.