Ever since the 2020 F1 season wrapped up after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, fans have been eagerly waiting for the 2021 campaign to start. F1 has already released the schedule for the upcoming season, which begins on March 21 with the Australian Grand Prix.
However, according to reports, the opening race in Melbourne could be postponed due to the threat of the coronavirus. A spike in cases in Australia has meant that the government has taken stronger measures. These measures would include a 14-day mandatory quarantine for F1 personnel.
If the race does get postponed, then the next race in Bahrain on the March 28 would serve as the season opener.
The news would come as a blow to F1 fans who would have to wait a week longer to watch their favorite teams and drivers battle it out on the track. However, Australian F1 fans would especially feel hard done by considering that no race was possible at Albert Park Circuit in 2020.
The good news is that there is a possibility that the race goes ahead as planned. However, it involves financial and logistical constraints. The authorities would have to build a bio-secure environment around the track, similar to what was done in Abu Dhabi.
The problem with that is the timeframe. This construction of this bio-secure environment would have to begin by the end of January. If not, then the Australian Grand Prix would no longer be considered for the season opener.
Postponing the race has its own issues. With the 2021 season set to accommodate a total of 23 races in the space of nine months, fitting the Australian Grand Prix somewhere at the back end of the season could be an issue, especially since there are already quite a few back-to-back race weeks.
Either way, a decision will have to be taken within the next few weeks. Let’s hope for all of our sakes that the 2021 F1 calendar goes on as planned in a safe manner.
Until then F1 fans will have to be content with awaiting the pre-season tests in Barcelona.