Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton Japan GP
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action during a race last year. Image Credit: Reuters file

Dubai: The truncated F1 2020 season will begin with Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 as scheduled, the Austrian government announced on Saturday.

The Spielberg circuit has also been given the green light to stage a second race the following weekend.

“The two Formula One races on July 5 and 12 at Spielberg will be staged without spectators,” said the Austrian Health Minister.

He added that the two races had been given the green light after F1 organisers “had presented a complete and professional plan” to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Mercedes, meanwhile, plans to stay in the sport for years to come, parent company Daimler has said after renewed speculation about the world champions’ future and the intentions of team principal Toto Wolff.

Daimler criticised the “unfounded and irresponsible” reports.

“The sport has taken the right measures to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its future financial sustainability, and we welcome these steps,” it said in a statement.

“It is our clear intention to continue competing in Formula One as a Mercedes-Benz works team in the years to come, and to do so with our managing partner Toto Wolff.”

Germany’s Auto Bild had suggested on Thursday that Racing Point owner and Aston Martin’s executive chairman Lawrence Stroll could buy Daimler’s stake in the Mercedes team.

The report said Wolff, a 30% shareholder, could stand back from his operational role.

Mercedes have won the last six successive drivers and constructors’ titles, with Britain’s Lewis Hamilton chasing a record-equalling seventh this year.