Three-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel opened the debate late last year after a show run in nearby Graz, asking why the Red Bull Ring wasn’t an F1 venue. The idea of a home grand prix for Austrian-owned Red Bull Racing also played well the team’s fans.
As the A1 Ring, the Spielberg circuit last hosted a Formula One Grand Prix in 2003 but since then the track has been bought by Red Bull and brought up to date.
Vettel’s mentor Dr Helmut Marko fuelled the debate last month. After plans for the New Jersey Grand Prix floundered and a return to Istanbul was ruled out, Red Bull’s motorsports advisor suggested that if there was a free date on the 2013 calendar, the Red Bull Ring would be a perfect fit.
Dr Marko suggested that not only could the circuit’s capacity be increased to accommodate fans during a grand prix weekend, but the new motorway link to Graz means that there is a choice of hotels and restaurants for fans relatively nearby.
Speaking exclusively to Speedweek.de, Mr Mateschitz added his backing but said realistically this year is too soon for the Red Bull Ring, before adding that the venue could return in the near future.
"If we were to bring Formula One back to Styria, then we should take a long-term approach," says Mateschitz pragmatically. "We are talking about at least three to five years. By then the track would be perfect for this purpose."
We are talking about at least three to five years. By then the track would be perfect for this purpose.
Race director Charlie Whiting has already approved the Ring as an F1 standard circuit and Bernie Ecclestone himself said he was impressed by the infrastructure when he attended at the opening ceremony in May 2011.
"Many conditions and factors could justify a Formula One World Championship race at Spielberg. Bernie Ecclestone knows this too,” said Mr Mateschitz. “But when and if the world championship will return to Spielberg is pure speculation and we don’t like to indulge in speculation.”