Schumacher backs F1 return for Austria image

Michael Schumacher would be happy to see formula one return to the A1-Ring.

The Zeltweg circuit is actually now known as the Red Bull Ring, after energy drink mogul Dietrich Mateschitz rebuilt the former Austrian grand prix venue that is reopening next week.

“I see no reason why formula one shouldn’t go back to Austria,” Schumacher, speaking in Turkey, told the APA news agency.

The first event, in 1964, was held at a race track on theZeltweg Airfield. The race was a success, but the track was deemed too dangerous; it was narrow and very bumpy, and spectators complained of poor viewing areas.

In 1995 and 1996, the track was refurbished and brought up to date, which allowed the race to run again in 1997. Since the larger portion of the modernized track, which was renamed A1-Ring after a sponsor, is located on the municipal territory of Spielberg, Spielberg was now given as the site of the Grand Prix. It was a mainstay on the calendar until hosting its final race in 2003.

Not all of Schumacher’s memories of the track are sweet, such as 2002 when he was booed on the podium after being gifted Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello’s win.

But the 42-year-old said: “I’ve been always happy to race in Zeltweg, from the early days in Formula Ford and F3 all the way to F1.

“I like the track a lot and it’s a good thing the same layout has been kept,” added Schumacher.

Mateschitz, however, despite achieving F1 homologation, rates the chances of a grand prix contract for his Austrian circuit at “more than minor”.