The Australian Grand Prix has been confirmed as the opener to the 2021 Formula 1 season following the release of next year’s calendar.
As first reported by Speedcafe.com, the event will take place over the March 18-21 weekend.
“We’re thrilled that the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship will commence at its traditional home here in Melbourne,” said Andrew Westacott, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO.
“We continue to work closely with health authorities and the Victorian Government as we develop our plans for fan attendance, which will be announced when finalised. We’re adopting a sensible, adaptable and flexible approach, ensuring that a safe environment for fans and participants is our top priority.
“Our massive parkland venue with 10.6 km of track frontage provides us with the perfect opportunity to create a COVID-safe venue.”
Paul Little, Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said: “Major events like the Grand Prix will play a vital role in stimulating Victoria’s economic recovery in 2021 and we look forward to putting Melbourne back on the map to a global audience in March.”
Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO of Formula 1, added: “We are excited to announce our 2021 provisional calendar and delighted we will be starting our season with our long-term partners in Melbourne.
“Andrew Westacott and his team do an incredible job and we know the season opener at Albert Park will be one that fans can safely enjoy after an unprecedented 2020.”
Suggestions out of Europe were the event could have run as late as October next year, though that idea was killed off when Westacott spoke with Speedcafe.com in October.
He also confirmed that the event would likely run with new spectator facilities in place as organisers work around expected COVID-19 restrictions and best practices.
Next year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix will be the 25th held at Albert Park, the event having made its debut in Adelaide in 1985.
It has been an ever-present on the calendar since, saving 2020 when it was abandoned in the hours leading up to opening practice.
The 2021 race will also mark the last time the circuit in its current configuration is used, with resurfacing of the 5.3km layout scheduled for later in the year to incorporate subtle changes to its design in an effort to spice up the on-track action.
Supercars is set to support the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in what is understood to be Round 2 of the Australian touring car championship.