Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that he is feeling very proud about the growing possibility that the 2020 F1 season will start with a doubleheader in his home country.
The championship is currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak around the world which has so far led to ten Grand Prix races either being indefinitely postponed or outright cancelled.
But the outlook is looking increasingly positive for racing to resume at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria at the start of July, with plans for two races on successive weekends being held behind closed doors.
“I’m pretty optimistic that we can start in Austria," Wolff said in a new video from Mercedes released on YouTube this week. "Austria has been one of the best countries in keeping the virus numbers low.
"I think they will come up with a plan of how we can race," he added, as F1 management continues to work with local promoters to come up with a safety plan that will meet the requirements of regional and national authorities.
“Starting the season there makes me very proud, that Austria will be the season opener," Wolff said. "And doing it on two consecutive weekends so that finally we get two races done.
"I’m very much looking forward to it," he added. “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."
At the moment, Wolff's focus is on reviving the team from its deep sleep, after F1 brought forward and extended the traditional summer shutdown to fit in with the various coronavirus lockdown requirements in the United Kingdom and across Europe.
Restrictions are being eased and businesses are being allowed to reopen - provided they satisfy the need for social distancing in the work place.
“We have a great task force in MGP which is structuring the life after corona," Wolff confirmed. "Social distancing, moving desks and work places around. It will be very different.
“I think what we have learnt is we can do a lot from home," he added. "Zoom conferences or Skype or WebEX are very efficient - 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.”