At least two of the Grand Prix races cancelled during the 2020 F1 season are facing further woe after a new raft of postponements were announced.
The Australian Grand Prix – which was not held for the first time since 1946 last season – and the Chinese Grand Prix were both canned in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic broke out, and sadly concerns over travel safely mean that the pair have now been indefinitely postponed ahead of the 2021 campaign too.
Significant travel restrictions mean that the Australian race, which is the traditional curtain raiser for the new F1 season, has been shifted to November from its proposed March slot, and that means that the first race of the new term will take place in Bahrain instead.
The Chinese Grand Prix, which was originally planned as the third race of the season, has also been postponed until further notice with no new date offered as discussions continue.
To make up for the postponements, a new race at the Imola track in Italy – which returned in 2020 for the first time in more than a decade – has been added to the schedule, while the empty slot in May is expected to be filled by the Portuguese Grand Prix at the Portimao circuit, which made its debut on the F1 schedule last year.
The F1 2021 Calendar As It Stands
As things stand, the 2021 Formula 1 campaign will play out as follows:
|June 27th||French||Le Castellet|
|July 18th||Great Britain||Silverstone|
|October 31st||Mexico||Mexico City|
|November 7th||Brazil||Sao Paulo|
|December 5th||Saudi Arabia||Jeddah|
|December 12th||Abu Dhabi||Yas Island|
Officials have confirmed that they expect fans to return to the grandstand at some races this season, and they will be launching their Paddock Club initiative in the hope that conditions improve in the second half of the year.
The president of Formula One, Stefano Domenicali, said:
“We are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged.
“The global pandemic has not yet allowed life to return to normal, but we showed in 2020 that we can race safely as the first international sport to return and we have the experience and plans in place to deliver on our season.”
If all goes to plan, the 2021 season will be the largest in F1 history, with 23 races scheduled compared to the traditional 21. Last year, only 17 of the scheduled races were completed.
Pre-season testing, meanwhile, will take place in Bahrain on the weekend of March 12-14, as opposed to original plans for teams to run their tests in Barcelona the week before.