No fixed F1 calendar slot for Australian GP

Albert Park looks set to return to the opening round for 2023

Future editions of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix are not locked in to a specific slot on the calendar.

Next year’s event, set for April 10, will be the third round of the competition after proceedings kick off in Bahrain before moving to Saudi Arabia in March.

However, Melbourne looks likely to return to its Round 1 slot for 2023 as considerations in the Middle East dictate the shape of the early season calendar.

“There’s not a level of permanency with that date,” Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott told Speedcafe.com.

“It allowed us to have greater time but it’s also to allow the intricacies associated with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain fitting in and having their races before the commencement of Ramadan.

“You can’t run those events during Ramadan, so they’ve got to be beforehand.”

Melbourne has traditionally hosted the season-opener since joining the calendar in 1996, missing out on only three occasions (excluding the past two COVID-affected seasons).

In July, it came to light that Albert Park would not be the first round next season after AGPC chairman Paul Little revealed an April date was favoured for the coming campaign.

The Victorian capital looks set to reclaim its pole position slot for 2023, ironically due to the same considerations which saw it pushed back to April next year.

Beyond that, however, the date for the Australian Grand Prix is somewhat fluid.

“Ramadan is even earlier in 2023, so there’s likely to be an adjustment again, with a traditional slot,” Westacott said.

“We’ll move back to change locations and timings into 2024 and beyond.

“But my first priority right here and now is to make sure that we deliver on April 10 next year because it’s so important for Formula 1, for Melbourne, and also for the fans.”

Australia last hosted Formula 1 in 2020, though the event was abandoned just hours prior to cars going out on track due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally slated to host the opening round in 2021, that was initially delayed until November before being cancelled and replaced with the Qatar Grand Prix.

It makes the 2022 race the first time cars will have been on track in Albert Park, which has been partly reprofiled, since 2019.

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