Formula 1 TV Schedule 2020: Austrian GP Start Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Four months after its scheduled start was delayed by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Formula 1 season finally gets underway in Spielberg, Austria, this weekend.

As has been the case for the other professional sports that have already resumed, the upcoming F1 season will look vastly different to its predecessors. The most evident change will be the absence of spectators, as the sport has followed the path trodden by the PGA Tour and the major European soccer leagues and will hold its event behind closed doors.

The other changes may be less obvious but are by no means less significant. Originally scheduled to be contested over a record 22 races, the F1 exact number of Grands Prix on the calendar for the shortened season remains unknown.

Of the races that have been confirmed on the calendar, four will be contested across two tracks, with the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone set to host two races each—the former will host the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend and the Styrian GP the following week, while the British GP and the Formula 1 70th Anniversary GP will both take place at Silverstone on August 2 and August 9, respectively.

The remaining five races are the Hungarian GP on July 19, the Spanish GP and the Belgium GP on August 16 and 30, with the Italian GP to follow on September 6, although F1 has signaled it hopes to extend the season to between 15 and 18 races.

The COVID-19 outbreak may have delayed the start of the season by four months, but Lewis Hamilton remains the bookmakers' favorite to clinch a fourth consecutive world title, which would see him equal Michael Schumacher as the only driver to win the Drivers' Championship seven times.

Hamilton has been busy off the track during the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, setting up a commission to increase diversity and boost BAME representation in Formula 1 and across motorsports as a whole.

The only black driver in the sport, the Briton has been outspoken in calling for change and was vocal in criticizing some of his colleagues who chose to "stay silent in the midst of injustice," while high-profile athletes took a stand against racial discrimination in the wake of George Floyd's killing on May 25.

Earlier this week, Mercedes unveiled a special new livery in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and Hamilton said winning the title this season would be a special achievement.

"Winning the title this year would mean more than ever before, being that it is such a momentous year in the sense of this pandemic, which we are still fighting– but [also] on a more personal level, the Black Lives Matter [movement] and fighting for injustice and equality," Hamilton said during a press conference on Thursday.

"It is not going to change in our time, our generation but for our kids, it is such an important moment for us, so winning the world title during this time would be even more important."

Here's all you need to know ahead of Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Formula One
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (front) and Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas during the second practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 3 in Spielberg, Austria. Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. Leonhard Foeger/Pool/AFP/Getty

When is the Austrian Grand Prix?

The first race of the shortened Formula 1 season gets underway at 3:10 p.m. local time (9:10 a.m. ET) on July 5.

Where is the Austrian Grand Prix?

The Red Bull Ring hosts the opening round of the 2020 World Championship.

Located in Spielberg, on the picturesque Styrian mountains, the track was a staple of the Formula One calendar from its debut in 1970 until 1987, when it was refurbished and modernized.

After a 10-year hiatus the track hosted the Austrian Grand Prix from 1997 until 2011, when it again underwent extensive work to make it compliant with the requirements of modern Formula One.

Since its second return to the calendar, the Red Bull Ring has been a happy hunting ground for Mercedes, who has won the race in four of the last six years, but Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the last two editions.

TV channel

The Austrian Grand Prix will be broadcast live by ESPN2. Coverage of race day begins at 8 a.m. ET on Sunday, with the race scheduled to get underway 35 minutes later.

Live stream

Live stream will be available via ESPN+ and via WatchESPN.com, as well as via Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV.

Odds

According to Oddschecker, Lewis Hamilton is a 5/4 favorite to win the season opener, followed by Max Verstappen at 5/2 and Mercedes' teammate Valtteri Bottas at 5/1.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, is a 12/1 outsider.

Formula 1 TV Schedule 2020: Austrian GP Start Time, TV Channel, Live Stream | Sports