F1 confirms Australia shift to Nov, Bahrain to be '21 opener; Imola is Rd 2
The COVID-19 restrictions has forced changes already on the 2021 calendar.
F1 has confirmed the postponement of Australian GP and Chinese GP as Bahrain GP takes over as 2021 season opener, with Imola Rd 2.
Even though F1 announced Australian GP as the 2021 opener for March 19-21 date, the chances for the grand prix to happen remained 50-50 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Australia is hosting cricket matches but not many other sports events thus far.
The promoters were confident of hosting the grand prix initially but did not wish a 2020-like repeat. Keeping that in mind, they decided to postpone the 2021 event, with a new date to confirmed to take place on November 19-21, after Brazil and before Saudi Arabia.
With the postponement of Australian GP, it means Bahrain GP will be the 2021 F1 opener on March 26-28, just the next weekend of Melbourne. It is the third time that the Bahrain International Circuit hosts a grand prix between November and March.
The change in schedule also means that Bahrain is likely to host the pre-season test, which was to take place on March 2-4 in Barcelona. Together with this news, F1 also confirmed that Chinese GP will not take place on its scheduled date of April 9-11 - - discussions are on about a re-schedule but there is no mention of a desired slot.
To fill the calendar post the opening Bahrain GP, F1 has slotted Imola on April 16-18 date, as Emilia Romagna GP returns to action. The TBC round of April 23-25 date moves to April 31 - May 2 date, which is likely to be held in Algarve if China doesn't agree to a deal.
With Australia slotting into the back-end of the 2021 F1 season, Brazil GP has been moved forward by one week to November 5-7 date, whereas Saudi Arabia is to take place one week later on December 3-5, while Abu Dhabi will be on December 8-10.
“It has been a busy start to the year at F1 and we are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged," said Stefano Domenicali. "The global pandemic has not yet allowed life to return to normal, but we showed in 2020 that we can race safely as the first international sport to return and we have the experience and plans in place to deliver on our season.
"It is great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix in November and are continuing to work with our Chinese colleagues to find a solution to race there in 2021 if something changes. We are very excited to announce that Imola will return for the 2021 season and know our fans will be looking forward to the return of F1 after the winter break and our revised season opener in Bahrain. Obviously, the virus situation remains fluid, but we have the experience from last season with all our partners and promoters to adapt accordingly and safely in 2021.”
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[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This story was written FormulaRapida.net]