The first batch of tickets for the revived Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg have sold out just 48 hours after going on sale.
Formula One last visited Austria in 2003 before the old A1 Ring was condemned and became unused. However, it has since been bought by Red Bull, redeveloped, renamed the Red Bull Ring, and has hosted top level events such as German touring car series DTM. With an Austrian team now dominating the sport, the time is right for the sport to return to the Red Bull Ring with a provisional date of June 22 set for 2014.
However, any fans hoping to make the trip to Austria for the race may end up disappointed after the first batch of tickets for the race sold out in just two days, according to the Austrian Press Agency. This has come as a result of low ticket prices – most probably due to them being subsidised by Red Bull – with the cheapest ticket for the race on Sunday being just $120, which is considerably cheaper than many other European races.
The circuit does not have a large capacity, although a request has been lodged to increase the seating numbers to 80,000 for qualifying and the race on Sunday. Following this initial batch of sales, another 10,000 tickets are expected to be released before the race next June.
This is a good sign for Formula One in Austria despite some concerns about the suitability of the circuit, and it also sets an example to the other races on the calendar. That said, most of the events do not enjoy the same kind of backing as this race does.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.