Here's how to watch the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend as Formula 1 returns

(Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Hot on the heels of football's return, Formula 1 will shortly be back on TV screens after a months-long pause due to coronavirus.

Starting on 3 July, a minimalist version of the 2020 season will begin with the Grand Prix in Austria.

The Austrian Grand Prix was due to kick-off in March, but was cancelled on the eve of practice after one of the F1 team members fell ill with the virus.

Here’s everything you need to know about it:

Is it a full season?

Unlike individual football leagues – which play games in just one country and usually have only one set of lockdown rules to follow – the Formula 1 season is an international affair.

That means it would be much harder to reinstate the full schedule of Grand Prix meets, given that different countries are experiencing and responding to Covid-19 differently.

That means the 2020 F1 schedule is very much a reduced version of previous seasons.

So far, only an eight date calendar of European races has been confirmed, although more dates are hoped to be added in the future with a target of between 15 and 18 races.

Fans can expect consecutive Grands Prix to be held on the same track on a couple of occasions, for instance when the British GP and the 70th Anniversary GP are both held at Silverstone in August.

Will there be fans?

Races are to be held behind closed doors with no fans present, and rigorous testing will take place among the minimal personnel to be deployed at races for the foreseeable future.

Drivers and staff will also travel in ‘isolation’ to minimise the risk of picking up the virus in transit.

There has recently been a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Austria, after figures remained stable throughout June; the number of active cases in the country is now 787, compared to 470 before the weekend.

What are the confirmed dates?

The confirmed dates for the 2020 Formula 1 season are as follows:

  • 5 July: Austrian GP - Spielberg
  • 12 July: Steiermark GP - Spielberg
  • 19 July: Hungarian GP - Budapest
  • 2 August: British GP - Silverstone
  • 9 August: 70th Anniversary GP - Silverstone
  • 16 August: Spanish GP - Barcelona
  • 30 August: Belgian GP - Spa-Francorchamps
  • 6 September: Italian GP - Monza

How can I watch the new season?

The new season will be broadcast on Sky Sports, who will be showing coverage of every track session from each weekend on their dedicated Sky Sports F1 channel.

Subscribers can also watch live coverage and in-race clips on the Sky Sports App, which gives viewers access to special features like on-board driver feeds, a mix feed, driver tracker and live timings.

Race Control is also available via the Red Button on Sky Q and HD boxes.

Non-subscribers can watch via NOW TV, with a day pass costing £9.99.

Highlights of each Grand Prix will also be broadcast on free TV via Channel 4.

This weekend, highlights from qualifying will be broadcast at 6.45pm on Saturday 4 July, while highlights from the race itself come at 6.30pm on Sunday 5 July.

What is Sky Sports’ Austrian GP schedule for this weekend?

Friday 3 July

9.30am: Welcome To The Weekend LIVE!10am: Austrian GP Practice One LIVE!1.45pm: Austrian GP Practice Two build-up LIVE!2pm: Austrian GP Practice Two LIVE!4.30pm: Austrian GP: The Story So Far LIVE!

Saturday 4 July

10.45am: Austrian GP Practice Three build-up LIVE!11am: Austrian GP Practice Three LIVE!1.30pm: Austrian GP Qualifying build-up LIVE!2pm: AUSTRIAN GP QUALIFYING LIVE!

Sunday 5 July

1pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Austria build-up LIVE!2.10pm: THE 2020 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX LIVE!6pm: Austrian GP Highlights9.05pm: Austrian GP Race Replay