Start, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2019

F1 confirms record 23-race calendar for 2021 but no race in Vietnam

2021 F1 calendar

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Formula 1 has revealed a draft calendar featuring a record-breaking 23 races for next year’s championship, but the venue for one of the events has not been confirmed.

The Vietnam Grand Prix, which was supposed to take place for the first time in April this year but was cancelled due to the pandemic, is not among the events which have been confirmed on the 2021 F1 calendar. A vacant slot in April exists, but other venues are thought to be under consideration for this round.

These may include a number of tracks which were added to this year’s calendar when it was reorganised due to the pandemic, such as Istanbul Park, which will hold this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix. Other options include races at Imola in Italy or Algarve in Portugal. The German Grand Prix, which has again lost its place on the schedule, could be reinstated at either of the country’s two F1-grade tracks. Malaysia’s Sepang circuit, which F1 last raced at in 2017, is also considered a possibility,

The loss of the race in Vietnam is a blow to series promoters Liberty Media. The street circuit in Hanoi would have been the first all-new venue they had introduced to the schedule since purchasing the sport three years ago. That honour will now fall to Saudi Arabia, whose night race in Jeddah was announced last week.

F1’s postponed return to Zandvoort in the Netherlands will now take place in September rather than the race’s original planned date of May 2020. The race’s sporting director, former Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers, said: “This new date just after the summer has the advantage that the peak of the summer holidays is over, that there is a good chance the weather will be good, and the corona measures will be more limited. This is a great date for Zandvoort and the entire region.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Zandvoort, demonstration run, 2020
F1 will make a belated return to Zandvoort in 2021
With 23 races, the new schedule will be the longest in the history of the world championship. Plans to hold 22 rounds this year were thwarted by the pandemic, which forced a truncated calendar featuring just 17 grands prix.

Spain and Brazil are listed on the new schedule, despite their current race deals expiring at the end of 2020. The races are listed as being “subject to contract”. Circuit de Catalunya will continue to hold the Spanish Grand Prix, as it has done since 1991, while Brazil’s round will remain at Interlagos, as plans to move the race to Rio de Janeiro have been thwarted by objections on environmental grounds.

The record-breaking calendar includes two pairs of triple-headers. Belgium, Netherlands and Italy’s rounds will be held over three weekends after the summer break, then after a two-week gap Russia, Singapore and Japan’s races will run consecutively.

No race in Miami features on the calendar, despite the sport announcing last year it had reached an “agreement in principle” for a grand prix to be held in an area surrounding the Hard Rock Stadium. Local objection to the race has been strong: A group of residents launched a court case over the planned event last month.

Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey said the sport is “planning for 2021 events with fans that provide an experience close to normal and expect our agreements to be honoured.”

“We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognise the need to move forward and manage the virus,” he added. “In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward.”

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2021 F1 calendar

RoundRaceCircuitDateForum
1Australian Grand PrixAlbert ParkMar 19-21Forum
2Bahrain Grand PrixBahrain International CircuitMar 26-28Forum
3Chinese Grand PrixShanghai International CircuitApr 9-11Forum
4TBC Grand PrixTBCApr 23-25
5Spanish Grand PrixCircuit de CatalunyaMay 7-9Forum
6Monaco Grand PrixMonacoMay 20-23Forum
7Azerbaijan Grand PrixBaku City CircuitJun 4-6Forum
8Canadian Grand PrixCircuit Gilles VilleneuveJun 11-13Forum
9French Grand PrixPaul RicardJun 25-27Forum
10Austrian Grand PrixRed Bull RingJul 2-4Forum
11British Grand PrixSilverstoneJul 16-18Forum
12Hungarian Grand PrixHungaroringJul 30-Aug 1Forum
13Belgian Grand PrixSpa-FrancorchampsAug 27-29Forum
14Dutch Grand PrixZandvoortSep 3-5Forum
15Italian Grand PrixMonzaSep 10-12Forum
16Russian Grand PrixSochi AutodromSep 24-26Forum
17Singapore Grand PrixSingaporeOct 1-3Forum
18Japanese Grand PrixSuzukaOct 8-10Forum
19United States Grand PrixCircuit of the AmericasOct 22-24Forum
20Mexican Grand PrixAutodromo Hermanos RodriguezOct 29-31Forum
21Brazilian Grand PrixInterlagosNov 12-14Forum
22Saudi Arabian Grand PrixJeddahNov 26-28
23Abu Dhabi Grand PrixYas MarinaDec 3-5Forum

This article will be updated.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “F1 confirms record 23-race calendar for 2021 but no race in Vietnam”

  1. 23?

    Too much of a good thing?

    1. They’re is just refusing to ditch circuits.

    2. There’s contracts to honour I guess. Unless COVID or other force majeure events force a change…

  2. Interesting to note that the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix aren’t on the same weekend. As long as you get someone else to qualify the car at Indy, you may see drivers (hint hint Alonso) doing both.

      1. The best driver of his generation is in no way ‘irrelevant’!

        1. The race itself might not be on the same weekend as the Monaco Grand Prix, but the qualifying sessions for the Indianapolis 500 would clash with the Monaco Grand Prix.

          Therefore, it is irrelevant – it would still require Alonso to skip the Monaco GP to qualify for the Indy 500, and he has indicated that he is not going to skip races to do that as his primary commitment is now Formula 1.

          1. As long as you get someone else to qualify the car at Indy

            Which you can absolutely do by the way

          2. Clearly @anon isn’t aware of the rules at Indy, in that Alonso absolutely doesn’t need to qualify at Indy as it is the car, not the driver, that is counted as qualified.

            Take 2011 when Ryan Hunter-Reay was bumped in the final minute – Andretti Autosport bought out Bruno Junqueira’s seat at AJ Foyt Racing post-qualifying (he was 19th) and RHR started the race in that car (with Foyt’s sponsors). Or 1996, where Scott Brayton was killed after testing a backup car having qualified his primary car on the pole (and was replaced by Danny Onglais.

            The catch is that any qualified car where the driver is replaced post-qualifying is automatically moved to the back of the field (i.e. starts last). Somehow I doubt that Fernando would be happy with that considering the difficulty of winning from the back.

    1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
      11th November 2020, 7:37

      Sadly Abiteboul has already said alonso won’t be allowed to participate in the Indy 500 during his return with renault/alpine

  3. More or less, what I expected – I’m, overall, happier than with the race calendars of previous seasons, including the original for this one pre-COVID. I’d prefer to have Brazil forming a triple-header with the US and Mexico, but don’t care as much about this as about Azerbaijan’s place. Why not have Azerbaijan forming a double-header with Hungary or Austria instead? Have it seven days before Hungary, in which case, Canada on June 6, France June 20, Austria June 27, and Britain July 11. Alternatively, Azerbaijan on June 20, Austria 27, Britain 11/7, and France 25/7, or is there something happening in Baku on both of these two weekends that would prevent the race from taking place on June 20 or July 25? Distance-wise, both Hungary and Austria would be better options than Montreal. Yes, this has happened once before (2016), but this doesn’t mean it should happen again. As I posted in the previous article on this matter, I hope the potential replacement for Vietnam would be Turkey as it’d be the most fitting one as a standalone event on the last Sunday of April, both location and climate-wise.

    1. I forgot to add that I’m especially happy about the Russia-Singapore-Japan portion, the order of these three.

      1. Double the distance travelled compared to Sochi-Suzuka-Singapore. Wasteful in terms of time and fuel travelled.

        1. @kichi-leung The distance is the same either way round, Sochi-Singapore-Suzuka or Suzuka-Singapore-Sochi, no difference. The only difference comes in the form of jet lag.

          1. Oh yeah. I forgot Sochi is the European side of Russia not the Asian. My mistake.

  4. Is 2021 supposed to be the last Sochi race?

    1. @t1redmonkey No. That was merely a rumor.

  5. Disappointing that F1 sees having a full grid as risking “diluting” the field, but will bring its prestigious sport to literally any venue with adequate cash and safety standards. I see the word “Grand Prix” so much it almost doesn’t mean anything.

    I missed a race for the first time since I started watching F1 this year, not through lack of interest or losing my passion in any way, but the heavily condensed schedule makes it difficult to keep up. In the past I would plan my weekends around the Grand Prix, but doing that for every triple-header race is impossible.

    1. @jackysteeg I guess we expected this to happen ever since Liberty took over and started talking about having up to 25 races or more.

      I’m like you, this year is the first year in over 30 years that I’ve not watched every race because like you I couldn’t keep up.

      It will be interesting to see whether or not they end up losing eyeballs overall – I’ll certainly be cherry-picking next year probably down to about 16 – 18 races. It’s just too demanding to keep up with triple headers and double headers.

    2. Agree with these points. The other factor for me is that it is also starting to be all year round and also starting to disrupt the holidays. Basketball, football and ice hockey will be what I watch given the choice after a long season like that. I used to actually follow testing because there was something like a 5 month break and I looked forward to F1 starting. Now I just don’t care. It’s like movies and tv. I can press a button and watch any tv show or movie anytime I want for free so I end up not most of the time. I’m already starting to watch a races haphazardly and don’t miss them if there is a race on the next weekend.

  6. Vietnam GP might never happen at all following recent news that « a breakdown in communication between the race organizers and F1 is partly attributed to the arrest of a key figure behind the race – the chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee, Nguyen Duc Chung – who is alleged to have appropriated documents containing state secrets » says Racer.com.

  7. We need 2-3 non-recurring races per season. So F1 can visit more places.

  8. I thought Sochi wouldn’t be in F1 after 2020?

    1. @Dave That was only a rumor without any concrete truth to it.

      1. Just saw the previous question about it. So now I think Sochi, Catalunya and Paul Ricard won’t last in F1 any longer. Just look at Valencia Street Circuit.

  9. The trip to Montreal between Baku & Paul Richard seems extravagant logistically speaking. I’d expect that to be a significant portion of the F1 carbon footprint, unless
    a. there is another route not requiring to cross the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic
    b. there is a wave that way F1 can hitch a ride on
    c. F1 has is very own “beam me up Scot” technology

    Anyone got the right answer?

    1. @marankumar I suggested having Baku on back-to-back weekends with either Hungaroring or Red Bull Ring instead.

      1. That makes a lot of sense.

  10. Booooo What a shame for Vietnam.This would have been quite a decent replacement for Malaysia. I wish they could just stop hosting races in China, track is not that exciting to drive, and it does not really provide consistent entertaining races.

    1. Agreed.
      Considering all the effort put in by Vietnam, I detest how $’s rule and Saudi Arabia gets up in its place. Especially so when there are 2 other races nearby in that region.
      Very disappointing….well, it is to me.

  11. Stephen Higgins
    10th November 2020, 12:45

    So that leaves a slot for Portimao or Mugello.

    1. @Stephen Higgins Istanbul Park would be a more fitting replacement both from the location and climate perspective.

      1. And Turkey would provide a better track and racing

  12. I’ve been to Vietnam like 10 times, and here’s why I think corruption and F1 is okay…

    1. Haha lovely. Nice reference.

  13. I am not happy with there being 23 races to start with. It’s at least a couple too many. However, it really grates the way F1 just gives Saudi Arabia the second to last slot in the season so a chance of holding the Championship decider.

    What they should have done is to put Saudi a week after Bahrain at the start of the season. So Australia and then a two week gap to Bahrain and Saudi back to back. Then a two week gap to China on the weekend with the vacancy i.e. April 23-25. Wouldn’t this be common sense? Of course F1 has sold it’s soul to the Saudi’s and Aramco so this was too much to expect.

    I would try to have kept either Portimao, Mugello or Istanbul Park on the calendar by dropping one of Spain or Russia perhaps. But then I wouldn’t be holding a race in Saudi anyway. I also agree that the Azerbaijan-Canada back to back seems like a crazy idea.

    I’m quite pleased that Interlagos has kept its slot though. It often produces exciting races.

  14. When they tried that triple header in 2018 everyone in the paddock universally agreed it was too much & they shouldn’t do it again. This year they were forced to due to the pandemic & again concerns were raised regarding it been too much.

    Yet next year they have 2 triple headers. I can see that going down exceptionally badly with the crews as well as FIA & FOM staff who have to attend races as well as broadcasters who universally felt triple headers shouldn’t be done again.

    I can see a lot of very burnt out people around F1 at the end of next year.

  15. “Belgium, Netherlands and Italy’s rounds will be held over three weekends after the summer break[…]” What happened to the rule that new races should have enough of a gap before and after them, just in case there are some (logistical) problems?

    1. I would think they are so close with each other there is no logistical problem anymore.

  16. This many races will water down a beautiful product in my opinion. And I must say, seeing Saudi Arabia on an actual schedule made my stomach churn.

    1. I agree @canadianjosh. It’s awful and they have made it the second to last race. See my comment above.

      1. I agree, sold they’re soul

  17. I don’t understand why people are surprised and/or complaining about all of this.
    Liberty didn’t buy F1 because they care about F1 ….. they bought it in order to make money.

    Of course they want a GP every weekend.
    Every GP is a payday for them.
    That is what matters to them.

    1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
      11th November 2020, 7:40

      Sympathy for the Bowlcut

  18. 23 Races! Ridiculous is one of many words which spring to mind.

    Lets increase the number of points offered too. Where will it end?

    1. You can hope they stop at 25 which is the target in the near future. But expect they try for 30-35 soon after that.

    2. When Hamilton finishes a season with 1000 points I guess. XD

  19. Anyone else enjoyed the relatively short season this year? I think 16/17 is about right. Any more becomes a bit gruelling

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