Despite another setback for the Australian Grand Prix, the promise has been made that the event will take place in November.
Back in March 2020, Formula 1 arrived at Albert Park for the traditional season-opening event. The global pandemic was starting to take its toll with sporting fixtures around the globe falling foul, but Formula 1 remained determined not to be next.
However, when positive cases were recorded in the paddock, with McLaren withdrawing from the 2020 Australian Grand Prix shortly after, the event was postponed just hours before FP1 was set to kick off the new season.
Ultimately, Formula 1’s new 17-race calendar for 2020 was constructed, but there was no place for the Australian Grand Prix with its cancellation confirmed.
Skip forward to 2021 and Formula 1 hoped for a near-normal 2021 schedule with Australia reinstated as the opening round.
But with the latest surge of the pandemic came the announcement of another postponement for the Australian Grand Prix.
This time though, it has been given a new place on the calendar, that being Round 21 of 23, between the Sao Paulo Grand Prix and debuting Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
And officials will “make sure” the Australian Grand Prix honours its new slot.
“This is the right decision and we thank Formula 1 management for their co-operation in setting a new schedule for the 2021 season,” said Martin Pakula, Victoria’s Minister for Sport in an official statement.
“The Australian Grand Prix is one of the great events in the world and we’ll make sure it can be run safely and successfully in November.”
Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman, Paul Little AO, added: “We’re very excited to be able to confirm the rescheduling of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix to 18-21 November 2021.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the strong support of the Victorian Government and Formula 1.
“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.
“We’d like to thank our loyal motorsport fans and employees for their understanding in these challenging times.”
The pandemic may be causing further alterations to the Formula 1 calendar once again but just like in 2020, new CEO of the Formula One Group, Stefano Domenicali, assured the series would adapt and push through.
Along with Australia’s postponement, it was confirmed that Imola will feature on the 2021 calendar following on from its return last season.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“It is great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix in November. We know our fans will be looking forward to the return of Formula 1 after the winter break and our revised season opener in Bahrain.
“Obviously, the virus situation remains fluid, but we have the experience from last season with all our partners and promoters to adapt accordingly and safely in 2021.”