F1 eyes July start; US Open tennis tourney sticks to schedule

Sports Desk, May 1 (efe-epa).- The managing director of Formula One said Friday that the organization hopes to get what will be an abbreviated 2020 season under way in July at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, while tennis’ governing body in the United States says it has not given up on starting the US Open as scheduled in late August.

Days after F1 CEO Chase Carey disclosed tentative plans to run the opening race in Austria on July 5, Ross Brawn suggested that the Red Bull Ring could host a second race a week later.

“One of the logistical challenges is getting everyone tested and cleared to enter the racing environment,” Brawn said on the inaugural episode of the F1 Nation podcast. “Once we do that, it’s very attractive to keep everyone in that environment, within that biosphere that we want to create, for another race.”

The Red Bull Ring is located in Spielberg, a community of some 5,000 people that is relatively distant from any large city.

“It’s also pretty challenging to find the right sort of races early on where we can control the environment well enough to ensure the safety of everyone. Austria fits that bill very well. It has a local airport right next to the circuit, where people can charter planes into. It’s not too close to a metropolis,” Brawn said.

The Austrian Grand Prix became the most likely candidate for the season-opener after the cancelation of the French Grand Prix, which had been scheduled for June 28.

Even so, Austria’s health ministry said this week that the competition would have to be held behind closed doors.

“Running a Formula 1 race in the circumstances is something which is new to all of us and we’re working through all the requirements to make sure we operate in a safe environment for the drivers, for the engineers, for the technicians, for everyone involved in the race, and we put on the right sort of show,” Brawn said.

He said it was a “great shame” that fans would be excluded.

“We have a very exciting season in front of us, but it is a very important livelihood for thousands of people – and that is another reason for trying to kick-start the season,” Brawn said.

With the French Open and Wimbledon already canceled, the organizers of the final Grand Slam event on the 2020 tennis calendar say they are still working on the premise that the competition will take place during the scheduled dates, Aug. 24-Sept. 13.

“The USTA’s goal is to hold the 2020 US Open in New York on its currently scheduled dates. In fact, our plans to stage the US Open on our scheduled dates at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York with fans, remain ongoing,” the United States Tennis Association said in a statement.

“However, we recognize that we are all facing an uncertain and rapidly changing environment regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, and therefore have been aggressively modeling many other contingencies, including scenarios with no fans,” the association said.

The USTA said that the idea of changing the timing or venue is not currently under active consideration.

“At this moment, our target date for a decision regarding the status of the US Open is six to eight weeks away (mid-June),” the statement concluded. EFE ll-sab/dr

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