Published: Wed, January 13, 2021
Sport | By

Australia, China Grand Prix postponed as COVID-19 hits 2021calendar

Australia, China Grand Prix postponed as COVID-19 hits 2021calendar

The season will start with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28 at Sakhir, less than four months after the same venue held two races as part of the 2020 season.

"It's great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix in November and are continuing to work with our Chinese colleagues to find a solution to race there in 2021 if something changes".

Melbourne has traditionally hosted the opening grand prix of the season since 1996 but was forced to cancel the 2020 event at the last minute due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The decisions on both countries come as a result of strict Covid-19 travel restrictions.

He added that talks were still underway about the Chinese Grand Prix.

Plans for the first Vietnam GP were axed late previous year for political reasons, leaving a gap in the schedule that the Portimão circuit in Portugal - which hosted its first F1 race in 2020 - is tipped to fill.

"Discussions with the promoter and authorities in China are ongoing with the potential to reschedule the race later in the season if possible".

Britain's Lewis Hamilton will be chasing an eighth Formula One title next season to break Michael Schumacher's record.

There is no obvious backup date on the calendar.

The season ends with a double-header in Saudi Arabia, making its debut with a night race in Jeddah on Dec 5, and Abu Dhabi on Dec 12 - a week later than originally planned.

Australia's re-arrangement as a standalone event means Brazil's newly-named Sao Paulo GP will be moved forward a week, creating a third triple-header in the space of 11 weeks, following directly after the USA and Mexican races.

None of the American races happened past year due to the pandemic while the Netherlands, Singapore and Japan were also cancelled.

"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.

The pandemic has disrupted the F1 season for a second year.

Australia now has very low rates of the coronavirus, but with cases increasing elsewhere, officials asked for the race to be pushed back to later in the year. Fans were preparing to enter the circuit for Friday practice when organizers announced the cancellation.

It means the season will now start on March 28 with the Bahrain Grand Prix. There was a compressed 17-race schedule through December with all races in Europe or the Middle East.

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