Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he is “pretty optimistic” about Formula 1’s plans to get the 2020 season underway in Austria following the delays caused by coronavirus.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the postponement or cancellation of the opening 10 rounds of the 2020 F1 season, though championship officials are working on a revised calendar to start the campaign.

Austria’s Red Bull Ring has been identified as the venue to host the first two rounds of the campaign with a pair of behind closed door races within a “biosphere” environment on July 5 and July 12.

Under the plan to resume the season in a safe manner, F1 personnel would undergo testing for coronavirus every two days, while the mixing of staff will be limited as much as possible with the implementation of strict social distancing measures in the paddock.

"I'm pretty optimistic that we can start in Austria because Austria has been one of the best countries in keeping the virus numbers low," Wolff said in a Mercedes video.

"And I think they will come up with a plan of how we can race.

"I know the circuit extremely well, because I did a thousand laps there as a racing driver and as an instructor.

"I lived in Spielberg, being a junior driver. It feels a little bit like a second home. I love Styria, and have many fond memories from the place.

"Starting the season there makes me very proud, that Austria will be the season opener, and doing it on two consecutive weekends so that finally we get two races done.

"I'm very much looking forward to it.”

Wolff says Mercedes has been working hard on new measures to ensure a safe return for its staff at the German manufacturer’s UK headquarters in Brackley once the mandatory shutdown period ends.

"We have a great task force in MGP which is structuring the life after coronavirus with the social distancing, moving desks and work places around. So it will be very different," he explained.

"I think what we have learned is we can do a lot from home. These Zoom conferences or Skype or Webex are very efficient, so I think that's going to change in our work environment.

"Then of course we are planning the next races and hopefully getting the season started soon."

 

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