Lauda: Race return priceless for Austria
23 July 2013 – Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda has described the return of the Austrian Grand Prix as "priceless" for his home nation, with a deal being struck to bring the sport back to Spielberg, location of the refurbished Red Bull Ring.
Although efforts to revive the event failed last year, in the wake of New Jersey's debut race being postponed, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz and Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone have since penned an agreement for it to be restored in 2014.
This will end an 11-year absence from the calendar for the country, which first hosted a Grand Prix at Zeltweg Airfield in 1964, before moving to the Österreichring in 1970.
"This is the best thing that could have happened to us," Lauda, who claimed victory on home soil in 1984, explained to Austria's Kleine Zeitung. "This worldwide publicity is priceless for Austria. I have always hoped that F1 would return here. The fact that this is a reality is down to Mr. Mateschitz. It means a lot to me, as I've also won here."
Ten-time Grand Prix winner Gerhard Berger added: "I have always hoped that there would be a race here again. It's a great thing that would not be possible without Red Bull; we have the perfect infrastructure with the ring and with an Austrian team in Red Bull. The fans in Austria have been waiting many years for something like this."
Red Bull Ring officials have issued a race weekend date of July 4-6, although the details need to be officially passed by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC).