Decision looming for 2021 Australian GP

Albert Park

The fate of the 2021 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is set to become clearer in coming weeks, amid suggestions the event will be cancelled.

Albert Park is set to host the season-opener on March 18-21 per the first version of the calendar, which was ratified last month by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

However, with Australia’s external borders still closed to non-residents/non-citizens with limited exceptions, and a 14-day quarantine requirement for all arrivals, questions are mounting as to when and how the event could proceed as planned early in the year.

Speedcafe.com understands that the Australian Grand Prix and one other are in the frame for cancellation.

That coincides with multiple reports from Europe overnight which suggest that the Albert Park round will be postponed, possibly to a November date.

Speedcafe.com approached the Australian Grand Prix Corporation for comment on those reports, and was issued the following statement:

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation continues to work closely with the Victorian Government and Formula 1® on conditions and arrangements relating to the staging of the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in 2021.  Further detail will be provided upon finalisation of arrangements with all parties in the coming weeks.

Any change to the AGP would also have implication for the Supercars Championship, which is set to hold its second event of the season at Albert Park but has already placed another Melbourne venue in Sandown on standby.

The 2020 season eventually commenced in early-July with back-to-back rounds at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, where personnel operated in a ‘biosphere’ environment.

Those who entered the paddock were subject to regular COVID-19 testing, with Lewis Hamilton among those who had to sit out an event after returning a positive result.

Following his absence from the Sakhir Grand Prix in December, the Mercedes driver served a 10-day quarantine period in Bahrain and had to test negative upon arrival in Abu Dhabi before being admitted to the paddock again.

His team boss, Toto Wolff, cast doubt on the 2021 Australian Grand Prix being the season-opener when asked last month about his confidence in the then-provisional calendar by Speedcafe.com.

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