Formula 1’s three consecutive street races in May and June, including the Monaco Grand Prix, are set to be called off next month, according to a report.
Long-established Dutch magazine Formule1’s website reports that the prestigious Monte Carlo event, plus the grands prix in Azerbaijan and Canada, will be scrapped for the second consecutive year.
This is due to the ongoing global health pandemic and the uncertainty it continues to cause around the world in terms of planning.
For street races such as those in Monte Carlo, Baku and Montreal, organisation needs to begin months in advance and officials do not want to commit themselves to such plans if there is a significant doubt about the race taking place due to the pandemic.
Despite the roll-out of vaccines for COVID-19 which are now being administered in many countries, there remain too many question marks about whether life will return to normal in the first half of 2021.
Formule1’s report states that “Monaco (May 23), Azerbaijan (June 6) and Canada (June 13) will, insiders say, fall off the calendar just like last year. Announcement of that news is expected next month”.
They add that Canada has “closed its borders to foreigners for a while and has a very strict corona policy. On the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, just like in Monte Carlo and Baku, the construction of stands, paddock and hospitality must be started early. Last year, the race in Montreal was cancelled permanently in early April”.
2021 CALENDAR UPDATE
🇧🇭 Season starts in Bahrain 26-28 Mar
🇦🇺 Australia moves to 19-21 Nov
🇮🇹 Imola returns 16-18 Apr; China discussions ongoing
— Formula 1 (@F1) January 12, 2021
But the report indicates that a contingency plan has already been formed. This would be to replace that particular trio of races with three of those that filled the breach last season, namely, in chronological order, Istanbul, Mugello and Nurburgring.
There is already a TBC slot on the calendar after the cancellation of the proposed race in Vietnam, with a Portuguese Grand Prix expected to be inked in for May 2 to simplify logistics ahead of the race in Barcelona a week later.
Imola, which was also among the five European circuits that stepped in to bolster last year’s decimated calendar, is due to repeat the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on April 18.
This is due to the indefinite postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix, while the traditional season-opener in Australia has been delayed until November 21 due to the quarantine policy currently in operation in that country.
The 2021 campaign is therefore due to begin in Bahrain on March 28, with pre-season testing taking place at the same venue exactly a fortnight earlier.