F1 2021: Australian Grand Prix postponed over coronavirus quarantine issues

F1 2021: Australian Grand Prix postponed over coronavirus quarantine issues

Strict quarantine requirements mean Formula 1 has made a decision to rejig the start of the season, with the Chinese grand prix also delayed.

Lewis Hamilton will kick off his championship defence in Bahrain on March 28 before the circus heads to Europe for a race in Imola on April 18.

Any rescheduling of the Chinese Grand Prix would likely be dependent on the cancelation of another event, as F1 does not intend to expand the 2021 calendar beyond the 23 races now scheduled.

Both the Australian and Chinese races were cancelled a year ago as the pandemic ripped up the calendar, with the season reduced to 17 grands prix in Europe and the Middle East. The campaign began in July at the Austrian Grand Prix and was eventually reduced from 22 races to 17.

F1 still plans to hold a record 23 races this year, although a venue for the third race of the season, on 2 May, has yet to be confirmed.

The Aussie race will now take place on November 21st, rather than March 21st.

Dates for the Brazilian, Emirati and debuting Saudi Arabian Grands Prix have been moved to accommodate the Australian race.

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Quarantine and other aspects of the Grand Prix will be considered at a later date.

When scheduled grands prix were cancelled or postponed in 2020, circuits including Imola, Portimao, Mugello and Istanbul were called up to fill the gaps.

"As the third-last race of the season, this provides the opportunity to safely host what could be the championship-decider in Melbourne in the lead-in to summer", said Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Paul Little.

"It has been a busy start to the year at Formula 1 and we are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged", said Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1 said in a statement.

The 2021 Formula 1 season will start a week later than planned and in Bahrain instead of Australia after the Australian Grand Prix was postponed from March to November because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

F1 bosses said they will "continue to work closely with our promoters and partners to monitor the ongoing Covid-19 situation" and expect spectators to return to the trackside at some point during the 2021 season.

"We know our fans will be looking forward to the revised season opener in Bahrain".

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