2021 Australian and Chinese Grand Prix postponed due to coronavirus
Formula 1 organisers have delayed the start to the 2021 season after the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix were postponed because of their 14-day coronavirus quarantine restrictions.
The races were the first and third on the calendar and the reconfigured season will begin at the second race venue in Bahrain between 26 and 28 March.
The Australian Grand Prix, originally scheduled for 21 March will take place on 21 November.
A race at Imola in Italy has been added on 18 April and will be the second event of a record 23-race season.
The third slot on 2 May is expected to be filled by the Portimao circuit in Portugal.
2021 CALENDAR UPDATE— Formula 1 (@F1) January 12, 2021
🇧🇭 Season starts in Bahrain 26-28 Mar
🇦🇺 Australia moves to 19-21 Nov
🇮🇹 Imola returns 16-18 Apr; China discussions ongoing
Dates of Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi races all change#F1 pic.twitter.com/4QoP0gKKsA
"We are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged," F1 president Stefano Domenicali 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.”
The 2020 season was disrupted by the initial wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Australian Grand Prix was cancelled at the last minute as the gravity of the illness became clearer. The campaign began in July at the Austrian Grand Prix and was eventually reduced from 22 races to 17.
Lewis Hamilton emerged as the drivers’ champion. The Briton won a record-equalling seventh title and his Mercedes team claimed an unprecedented seventh constructors’ championship on the trot.
"It is great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix in November, Domenicali added.
“And we are continuing to work with our Chinese colleagues to find a solution to race there in 2021.
“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."
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