Paris | The Formula 1 Australian and Chinese GPs, scheduled for March 21 and April 11 in Melbourne and Shanghai, are postponed to November 21 and to an undetermined date, and the Italian Imola circuit is entering the 2021 schedule, announced the championship promoter Tuesday.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the season, which still includes the record number of 23 Grands Prix on paper, will therefore not start in Australia but in Bahrain on March 28, before moving to Imola on April 18 then in a place yet to be determined on May 2. It will end a week later than expected in Abu Dhabi, on December 12 instead of 5.
Australia has put in place strict conditions to enter its territory, with a quarantine of two weeks hardly compatible with the arrival of the paddock for three days on the track only. The Australian Open tennis tournament, which also takes place in Melbourne, has been postponed for three weeks (8-21 February).
In 2020, the Australian GP, which takes place on the Albert Park street circuit, was canceled in extremis in the early hours of the pandemic after the discovery of a positive case at McLaren, while free practice was going start.
The Chinese Grand Prix will also not take place on the scheduled date “due to current travel restrictions”. “Discussions with the promoter and the Chinese authorities are underway, with the possibility of rescheduling the race later in the season if possible,” said F1 promoter Formula 1.
Other changes to the calendar to make room for Australia at the end of the season: the Brazilian Grand Prix (scheduled for November 14) is brought forward by a week to November 7, and Saudi Arabia will host its first F1 event December 5 instead of November 28.
“As previously stated, we expect fans to return to the stands in 2021,” he added.
“Of course, the situation related to the virus remains fluid, but we have the experience of last season with all our partners and promoters to adapt accordingly and in complete safety”, concludes the new CEO of the premier class of motorsport , Stefano Domenicali, while 17 GP (instead of 22) were able to be held between July and December last thanks to a strict health protocol.