A July 6 date was confirmed on Tuesday by Red Bull, the energy drinks company founded by Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, which owns the eponymous Red Bull Formula One team and also the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg in the Styrian Alps.
Mateschitz is a close friend of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
The Red Bull statement simply said: “Dietrich Mateschitz [Red Bull owner] and Bernie Ecclestone have reached agreement to the effect that Formula 1 will come back to Styria next year.”
The Red Bull Ring, formerly known as the A1-Ring, was mooted as a possible venue to fill the gap left vacant in this calendar by the withdrawal of the New Jersey GP.
Although in the end no deal was struck, Mateschitz has made no secret of his desire to see Formula One return to the circuit. The deal will be taken as a sign of his increasing power and influence.
A beautiful venue, its remote location and lack of infrastructure has counted against it, although Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko was adamant last winter that such concerns were “nonsense”, arguing that it “managed well enough in the 1970s and 1980s”. It hosted its last race in 2003 before Red Bull revamped it.
The July 6 date has already caused plenty of speculation about what the knock-on effect might be on the rest of the calendar.
With the governing body ruling out a clash with Le Mans 24 Hours (June 14-15) from now onwards, there are plenty of races and few spare weekends. Russia and New Jersey are both due to join the calendar, which could make 22 in total if all 19 from this season survive.
Added to the return of in-season testing, and winter testing starting earlier than usual due to the advent of the 1.6-litre turbo engines, 2014 looks like being the longest and busiest season in Formula One history.