Lawrence Stroll has all but confirmed rumours that the 2021 Australian Grand Prix will be postponed as a result of the global pandemic.
The 2020 edition of the race in Melbourne was cancelled altogether following members of the paddock testing positive for COVID-19, but Albert Park hoped and was scheduled to return to host the opening race of the 2021 season.
Whether that would actually happen was thrown into doubt following various reports that, due to a rise in cases again, the race would be pushed back to later in the year.
Stroll, the Aston Martin chairman, has seemingly confirmed that that will be the case, with Bahrain being the season opener instead.
“Melbourne has been — it’s not officially announced but it will be — not cancelled but postponed. We will go there sometime in the fall (autumn) and the first race will be Bahrain,” the Canadian said as per Reuters.
That being said, looking at how the sport handled the 2020 disruptions, and with vaccines being approved, he expects the running of the 2021 campaign to be largely smooth after the first few months.
“I do believe we’re in for a difficult two or three months,” he added.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. I think the first few races will be slightly challenging.
“But Formula One management and the FIA, I really take my hat off to them to deliver 17 races as we did last year in 23 weeks, without really any major hiccups, in a very impressive manner.
“I think the worst is behind us and we’ve learnt through last year how to proceed with this year.”
We're delighted to announce a multi-year title partnership with @Cognizant. 🤝
Discover how Cognizant, one of the world's leading IT brands, will play a key role in empowering the team as we take to the grid later this year ⬇️https://t.co/8Fo1ahSq8h#BeCognizant #IAMF1 pic.twitter.com/GVB5XHjnaT
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) January 7, 2021
The father to Lance Stroll has also confirmed that his team’s title sponsor will be Cognizant, and the outfit will officially be called Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team.
“The return of Aston Martin to Formula One after more than 60 years away is a landmark moment in the history of the sport,” said Stroll, upon confirmation of the new title sponsorship deal.
“Everyone knows what Aston Martin stands for, but the Formula One team will allow us to take the essence of the brand to new places, building on the strong foundations laid by the previous iterations of the team.
“I’m hugely proud that we can start this new chapter with the support of Cognizant.
“In today’s world, as the digital revolution continues, I can’t think of a more suitable or valuable partner to work with us as we strive to make Aston Martin one of the greatest teams in the sport.”