Could This Be the New Date for the 2021 F1 Australian Grand Prix?

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January 9, 2021 4:50 pm

With an exception to 2020, it has been the norm of F1 to go lights out on a season in Melbourne, Australia. While this year COVID forced a makeshift and short season, we expected things to go back to normal in 2021. However, that may not happen as the season-opener in Australia is under a cloud of uncertainty.

FIA is planning to postpone the race in Melbourne instead of canceling it altogether

The teams and the FIA are planning to move the Australian GP to 21st November 2021. That is, if it is possible since it is subject to the approval of the government and other relevant authorities. It won’t be something new for Melbourne to host a race in the closing stages, as it used to do in the 80s and the 90s as well.

Formula One – F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix 2015 – Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Sao Paulo, Brazil – 15/11/15. FIA President Jean Todt with his wife Michelle Yeoh before the race. Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Hoch Zwei. Livepic/Files

If not, the authorities will have no choice but to cancel it altogether. And it is not the only race that faces this situation. The Chinese GP is under the same threat as well. This is down to the strict entry restrictions, including a 14-day quarantine, that is in place in both countries.

FIA President Jean Todt is preparing for the worst. He is keeping other options in place and the 2021 calendar open as there may be more obstacles to come.

“Unfortunately, it is not over yet, the lockdowns are still in place, the virus has not yet gone. There is progress, of course, we expect a vaccine, which is good for all of humanity.”

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – December 4, 2020 Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talks in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Sakhir FIA/Handout via REUTERS

“But I am sure that we will see a whole bunch of calendar changes, and not only in Formula 1. Even if we find a new normal, at least the first half of the year will not be normal in my opinion run away.”

What other alternatives are being discussed to save the 2021 F1 calendar?

Adding Imola and Portimao to the F1 calendar

These circuits in Portugal and Imola were a smash hit among the drivers and the fans alike for their rugged nature. And they could very well take the place of China and Australia on the calendar.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – General view during the race Pool via Reuters/Rudy Carezzevoli

Winter testing in Bahrain instead of Barcelona

If the season was to begin in Bahrain, it makes sense for the teams to also do pre-season testing at the Sakhir circuit. It will help them in saving additional logistical costs, and they could follow the testing with the season-opener.

In spite of the difficulties that the 2020 season faced, it was exhilarating and one of the best in recent memories. Hence, maybe this season will also bring a lot of buzz and excitement through this unpredictability.

Tags: FIAJean Todt
Bharat Aggarwal

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. His fandom for Formula One began with the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP and he fell in love with NBA after watching Dirk Nowitzki create magic on the basketball court. He is also a Manchester United fan. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. When he's not following Formula One or NBA, Bharat also enjoys tennis and MMA.

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