The promoter of the Australian Grand Prix has rejected claims it will not hold the opening round on the 2021 F1 calendar.As RaceFans revealed last month, consideration was given to delaying F1’s 2021 return until later in the year to increase the chance spectators would be able to attend the race.
Other publications subsequently claimed a ‘leaked calendar’ showed the Australian Grand Prix would take place in October. However RaceFans understands there is no single draft calendar for the 2021 F1 season at present.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott told Nine Network in Australia the event will hold the opening round of next year’s world championship.
“Melbourne will again host the F1 season opener in the traditional March time slot, which will form a significant part of the recovery of the major sports and events industry in Victoria,” said Westacott in a statement.
Two significant Covid-19 outbreaks have occured in Australia. The first took place around the time F1 teams arrived for the season-opener before it was called off, and a second wave peaked in August. Yesterday the Bathurst 12 Hour race, which was due to take place at the New South Wales venue in early 2021, was cancelled.
The Bahrain International Circuit was considered as a potential replacement venue for next year’s F1 season opener. It held the first races of the 2006 and 2010 championships, and is expected to host pre-season testing in 2021.
The original Formula 1 calendar for 2020 included 22 races, which would have been a record. However the schedule was cut to 17 rounds when it was reorganised as a result of the pandemic.
Liberty Media has previously indicated a desire to further increase the length of the F1 calendar. RaceFans understands next year’s schedule could include more than 22 races if the sport’s commercial rights holder is successful in all its negotiations with promoters.
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