Red Bull plans, gov’t to upgrade A1-Ring

UPDATE #6 (GMM) Four years after the former grand prix venue was demolished, the A1-Ring circuit in Austria is finally set to be rebuilt.

Work at the circuit in Zeltweg, supported by Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz, begun this week, following years of to-ing and fro-ing about the fate of the former Osterreichring.

Austria's 'sportnet' reports that Mateschitz is injecting about 70 million euros into the project.

The restored A1-Ring is to get new pit buildings and grandstands, after the originals were knocked down in anticipation of a bigger redevelopment following the last Austrian grand prix in 2003.

The restored circuit should be up and running by 2010.

"I am happy that Dietrich Mateschitz kept his word and the project is finally on track," Styria politician Christian Buchmann is quoted as saying.

Originally known as the Osterreichring, the circuit was built in the late 1960s and updated in 1997 to host seven more grands prix until 2003.

02/07/07 (GMM) The proposed redevelopment of Austria's defunct formula one circuit, formerly known as the A1-Ring, has again been scrapped.

Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz's original $800m project at Spielberg had to be axed, but new plans were subsequently devised to redevelop the circuit after the grandstands and pit buildings were demolished following the last grand prix in 2003.

But after a meeting with potential investors including site owner Red Bull, the Styrian governor Franz Voves announced that the project was not economically feasible, according to the Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung.

A follow-up project on a smaller scale is still possible, however, according to Styrian economic councilor Christian Buchmann, and Red Bull has reportedly offered to restore the circuit to its original condition.

Originally known as the Osterreichring, the circuit was built in the late 1960s and updated in 1997 to host seven more grands prix until 2003.

03/07/07 (GMM) The redevelopment of Austria's defunct formula one circuit, the A1-Ring, may be about to get back on track. Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz's original $800m project at Zeltweg had to be axed, but reports in the country indicate that new plans have been devised for a grand prix-standard circuit. A probably lengthy process of politics and bureaucracy has now begun, but it is understood that the ultimate objective is to restore the demolished venue so that it is capable of hosting race and test sessions.

Nearly $200m has been earmarked for the project by private investors including Red Bull, Volkswagen and Audi, the reports suggest. F1 last raced at the picturesque A1-Ring setting in 2003, before the grandstands and pit buildings were demolished in 2004. [Editor's Note: We doubt F1 will go back to the A1-Ring as their schedule is already too full, but with Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz now involved with Champ Car, could there be a Champ Car race at the famous Austrian circuit someday?]

02/23/05 The A1-Ring, former site of the Austrian Grand Prix, is to be rebuilt by the Styrian government after a protracted dispute with Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz. The circuit's future was under a cloud after local officials blocked a £500 million plan, code-named Project Spielberg, to regenerate the area with a massive entertainment park and aviation complex. “If this is really what the region of Styria wants, I shall transform the Ring to what it was before," Mateschitz said at the time. “If people want to have back a racing track that loses two million Euros annually, then they shall get it." Extensive demolition work had already been carried out on site, and will now be need to be repaired. The government has now publicly committed to regenerating the site, albeit in what has been referred to as ‘in a far more modest fashion.' Autosport 01/21/05 Although local politicians had hoped to convince Mateschitz to change his plans so it would be more acceptable to the residents, he refused to change his ideas and has now abandoned the project altogether. A statement issued by Red Bull said: “We cannot present a modified project to pass the legal procedures as this would not comply with the demanded 'new project'. Project Spielberg is finished therefore by legal reasons. Therefore the question if Red Bull would pursue the continuation of the overall project is obsolete and not relevant anymore….. We are not in a position to pursue a different project that could provide an impact on the area's infrastructure in a similar way." 12/29/04 The €700 million (£483 million) project to re-model Austria’s A1-Ring circuit as the ‘Red Bull-Ring leisure destination’ has been granted a lifeline after protestors threatened to scupper the plans. Development work came to an abrupt halt early in December when Austria’s environmental senate said the project fell foul of noise and pollution regulations. But the Austrian government has formed a task force to save it and protect the jobs the scheme has brought to the region. Autosport Magazine 12/07/04 Red Bull Racing has dropped plans for a $940 million revamp of Austria's A1-Ring grand prix track because of environmental concerns, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz said. "The project is finished for us," the energy drinks billionaire, who last month bought the Jaguar Formula One team from Ford, said in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday. A government environmental panel agreed on Monday with objections by a local citizens' group that the project in the southern Austrian province of Styria would exceed noise and air pollution standards. Mateschitz could appeal the ruling. In the daily Kleine Zeitung he said he was in no mood to do so. Mateschitz said the project was not initially his idea as he had been asked by the provincial government to make the investment in the jobs-poor region. "We were asked to do something. This has now been rejected. We do not need a race track where no cars can race," he said. Reuters

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