A1 Ring name will remain 03 May 2003
Contrary to rumours elsewhere, energy drink magnate Dietrich Mateschitz has no plans to rename Austria's A1 Ring circuit the Red Bull Ring.
Mateschitz, whose Red Bull energy drink is one of the marketing success stories of the past 10 years, has taken over the lease of the Spielberg circuit and plans a complete revamp during 2004. But he insists that the A1 Ring title will remain, as the Austrian telecommunications company A1 has naming rights until 2008. The two companies work closely together, and the A1 Ring has identification on Red Bull Junior Team cars driver by Austrians, such as Patrick Friesacher's F3000 Lola.
Mateschitz will retain the basic circuit layout, but will completely revamp the infrastructure during 2004, including the pits, garages and grandstands. A 240-room hotel will also be constructed on site, together with four independent circuit layouts that will enable race schools and industry testing to go ahead at the same time as race meetings. However, it is unlikely there will be any competition activities at the circuit at all in 2004 while the work is carried out.
Mateschitz says he may bid for a Grand Prix from 2005 onwards, but that that is not a cornerstone of the project. "If they get the chance they would be interested," a spokesman said in Barcelona today, "but they will not push for that. Mateschitz takes the view that Formula One would bring prosperity to the region for four or so days a year, whereas his plan is to bring prosperity 365 days a year."