Australian GP boss responds to Ricciardo’s call for double-header
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 27th April, 2021 - 8:36am
The boss of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has responded to Daniel Ricciardo’s suggestion that Melbourne should hold a second event this year if the Brazilian Grand Prix does not go ahead.
Andrew Westacott, CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, was firmly non-committal when asked about the possibility of hosting an additional race in November.
While circumstances manifesting such that the AGPC would be asked is to host a second race are remote, Westacott neither ruled our nor endorsed the concept.
The idea came from a somewhat tongue-in-cheek remark from Ricciardo as a suggestion to sidestepping Brazil should its coronavirus situation remain uncontrolled ahead of its scheduled event.
The South American country is currently grappling with the coronavirus, with a new strand having emerging from the Brazilian Amazon recently.
With the Australian Grand Prix following Brazil, from a simple timing perspective a second event in Melbourne would make sense.
“The scheduling of an F1 season is a complex topic in the best of times, and it’s even more complex in a COVID environment,” Westacott told Speedcafe.com.
“The overall scheduling of 23 races is really best left to the experts at F1.
“They know the contractual requirements, they know the conditions, they’re in dialogue with every one of the promoters, and so the scheduling around when countries are in and out is very much left to the experts in F1.”
Westacott also admitted that, albeit briefly, he considered whether the Albert Park circuit could be run in reverse.
Ricciardo joked that a second event could be run backwards, as there were suggestions last year’s second event a Silverstone could be held in the opposite direction.
Like at Silverstone, it would not be possible in Albert Park.
“We did look at it only from the perspective of my inquiring engineering mind,” Westacott admitted.
“I think I spent about four nanoseconds before realising that that is not a possibility.
“The design of a circuit is always done with safety as the first and paramount consideration, and then obviously competitiveness of racing and, viewing and vantage points and physical restrictions,” he explained.
“It is just not physically possible to safely configure the current circuit unless you obliterated many, many ovals or natural features,” he added.
“And that’s not just a practical scenario, and not a necessary scenario, so we can’t race the opposite direction.”
This year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is scheduled to run from November 18-21, two weeks after the Brazilian Grand Prix, as the third last round of the championship.
It will do so on a revised Albert Park layout, which is currently undergoing construction works reprofiling a number of corners at the venue.