Start, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2019

Start of 2021 F1 season likely to be delayed amid doubt over Australian GP

2021 F1 season

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The Australian Grand Prix is likely to be postponed due to concerns over Covid-19, forcing a delay to the start of the 2021 F1 season.

Formula 1 is due to head to Melbourne for the season-opening race, scheduled for March 21st. The pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s race after the series arrived in the country.

Prior to the new year, Australia introduced tough measures intended to guard against a resurgence of the virus, which has killed over 1.8 million people worldwide. Formula 1 personnel would either have to obey a 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia, or charter flights to the country and operate within a ‘biosphere’ as they did in Abu Dhabi, either of which presents significant logistical and financial obstacles.

Construction of the temporary circuit must begin before the end of January in order for the race to go ahead as scheduled. A decision on whether the grand prix will go ahead in March therefore needs to be taken within the next two weeks.

Ticket sales have not begun for the March race. Australia’s Supercars series, which is due to appear on the support roster, is understood to have an option to use the nearby Sandown Park circuit on the same weekend if the Melbourne event does not take place.

If the grand prix cannot go ahead as scheduled, it is likely to be postponed until the second half of the year. However this would likely involve moving other events on the 2021 F1 calendar, which is the longest the sport has ever planned.

Tickets are already on sale for the Bahrain Grand Prix, which is scheduled for March 28th. If the Melbourne race is postponed, Bahrain would become the season-opener, which could make its circuit a more attractive venue for pre-season testing, currently due to take place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

A Formula 1 spokesperson told RaceFans: “In 2020 we proved that we could return to racing safely and delivered what many thought was impossible in March. We have set out our 2021 calendar and look forward to the return of F1 in March this year.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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101 comments on “Start of 2021 F1 season likely to be delayed amid doubt over Australian GP”

  1. What a weird sense of déjà vu… Have we been through this before?

    1. @Pedro Andrade Although, this time around, with proper notice (hopefully).

  2. Well I didn’t see this coming, said absolutely nobody…

    1. Bahrain to host the season opener then…

      Would prefer the Outer Circuit over the traditional GP circuit though

      1. Gavin Campbell
        4th January 2021, 11:23

        Can we not have both if we need to bin the Oz GP? Open with the traditional and then follow up with the Outer again? Or a crazy proper double header!

  3. Ιf Australia isnt the season opener ,then i highly doubt that it will find a space in the calendar for the remaining of 2021. Its a if setback for the event, but there is some positive to take: the promoters have the opportunity to make significant layout changes as they wanted so,thus ensuring that 2022 onwards, the event will be more suited to current generation cars

    1. @miltosgreekfan Indeed. Rescheduling the Australian GP would be easier said than done. The story would be different If it was far closer to Europe and was a permanent track. Only two realistic options: Either going ahead as scheduled or not at all for the second consecutive year.

      1. @jerejj Exactly,its quite difficult to find a spot in the middle of the season,for the reasons you mention.

    2. @miltosgreekfan given that the Albert Park circuit uses public access roads, it would not be easy or cheap to alter the layout of the circuit (and there would, no doubt, be at least some local opposition to shutting the roads to make a layout change for F1 cars that causes inconvenience to the local populace).

      1. It’s definitely not an easy task to do, but the organisers did plan it(at least there were articles in the summer of 2019 saying so).
        Its a much needed change as well,as the layout has been pretty much the same from 1996. Melbourne is contracted to host a race until 2025, so i’m sure they’ll want to return(when Covid allows it), having an improved layout.

        1. @miltosgreekfan whilst there appears to have been some initial studies to look at possible options for changing the layout, the only areas that seem to have been under consideration were Turns 11, 12 and 13.

          The options considered for those corners was possibly slightly extending the circuit at Turn 11 to make Turns 11 and 12 tighter, and possibly tightening Turn 13, mainly with the intention of creating heavier braking zones where a driver might have a chance of overtaking. Around the rest of the circuit, modifications to the current layout could only be done by cutting into land used for playing fields and other sports facilities, and that isn’t going to be allowed to happen.

          However, it was concluded that those major modifications were not worth the time and effort, so they have been mostly scrapped. The resurfacing is still intended to go ahead, but now it looks like most of the modifications will be to the camber angles and the abrasiveness of the tarmac, perhaps with some minor tweaks to the apexes of a few corners; major changes would just have too much of an impact on those external facilities to be viable.

          1. Fair.
            Obviously with the current situation it’s even more difficult to spend a big amount on significant changes, but the lack of any racing activity could contribute to it. I hope they go ahead with the resurfacing at least.

          2. I drove a lap of it back in 2012 a week after the race, starting at T5 where the track was blocked but could do a full lap back round to that point. As I had to stop at a traffic light before turn 13, it took nearly 9 minutes at the speed limit.

            The track is the perimeter road around the lake, except the public road bypasses turn 4 of the race track (which cuts through a public car park). It would be very difficult to make any changes: T5-T8 runs around a stadium & the curving back straight of Lakeside Drive can’t move unless you demolish the golf course behind it.

            You could extend the track where T13 is and have a near-hairpin with a view to re-entering at T14 but I can’t see where you could put any runoff without closing some of the cricket pictures around it (also looking at the overhead map you’d have a sharp kink on the return run so would need to reprofile the road for it to work. There’s also an option to bypass the offset start/finish straight and have one long straight that connects T15 and T3 but you’d then need to rebuild the pit buildings which I don’t see happening.

            I’d rather they went back to Adelaide as I thought the racing was better (and probably would be today). Usually when I see the highlight reel of Australian Grands Prix, I’d say it’s still split 50-50 between races at both tracks, even though Melbourne has hosted more than double the races held at Adelaide. That said, assuming the race stays at Melbourne (which it would as Melbourne is a far bigger tourist destination which justified the move), there’s little you can actually do to the track other than what I’ve suggested above.

        2. Coventry Climax
          4th January 2021, 18:44

          I have fundamental problems with your way of thinking @Miltiadis, evident from your two statements: 1) “the event will be more suited to current generation cars” and 2) “Its a much needed change as well, as the layout has been pretty much the same from 1996.”
          On 1: In my opinion, F1 is about cars dealing with the track as is and as has been, proven safety changes excluded.
          On 2: There’s a number of tracks that have not been changed (thank god) for a number of years. With that number being completely irrelevant.
          If we go the way of changing tracks solely because of age or development on cars, the core and soul of tracks will get demolished. Some think this needs to be changed, some that.
          There’s good tracks, not so good tracks, sublime tracks and downright boring tracks (thank you, mr. Tilke). But when I categorise them, it’ll look different from when YOU categorise them. Let’s keep it that way please.
          You sound like: Now that players use carbon fibre hyper super gear, it’s time they changed the dimensions of the playing field.

  4. Just leave pre-season testing in Barcelona to make the season opener a tiny bit more unpredictable. A non-GP venue for pre-season would be even better.

    1. @f1mre I agree with you on the last part: For example, Jerez or Valencia as they’ve been used for pre-season testing before.

      1. @jerejj with the way the wind is blowing, i’d not be surprised if they cann Spain altogether as a testing site… the numbers ain’t looking good lately, specially in Catalonia.

        And if the situation doesn’t improve in the UK I don’t see them having an easy time flying here…

  5. Very concerning…

    World wide the virus is showing mutation that seems to now have returned with stronger intensity. Any racing in 2021 in the first and second quarter may end up postponed as of now. It’s beginning to look like 2020. I would expect cancellation to begin in many world sports. Trying to return to past ways looks unlikely today and into the the next six months. Fans can not return to countries where the percentages of exposure are still so high.
    My guess is another delay and then another mash up of a Grand Prix season.
    Because we have too. The menace of Covid is still beyond having mass gatherings at any kind of event, racing or your choice of gathering. We’ve got to get ahold of this killer and things for personal enjoyment like Formula One must wait until a new way or a better day arrives.

    1. Not agreeing or disagreeing with your views, but please note the mutation of the virus is *not* ” with stronger intensity”. The intensity if the disease appears unchanged. It’s the *transmission* that is changed making it easier to pass it on. But the disease itself is no worse.

        1. Coventry Climax
          2nd January 2021, 20:27

          What’s ‘spot on’ about it? I think @holmzini knows very well that it’s the transmission part that’s more ‘intense’.
          But what difference does it make, as government measures around the world are only aimed at giving the medical people some air to breathe? The problem is that the hospitals are now even more likely to get flooded with covid-19″-b” patients, for which they have no capacity. Ergo, more severe lockdowns. ‘More severe’ equals ‘more intense’, in this case.

          1. It is still important to be precise about what the change in the virus is. It is not more dangerous to the individual, but it does spread more easily, which of course, unless matched with weaker symptoms makes for more people in total with heavy symptoms and death.

            “more intense”, at least to me, reads like the virus symptoms are worse.

      1. We really only know what we are told…
        In the US a new version has begun to show itself. Testing on these unfortunates shows that there is a new strain of the virus to be significantly stronger that what the world has known until the past week or so. Perhaps it is news to you but the fact the virus is morphing and starting to present previously unknown tendencies. We may not have the upper hand now or anytime soon. Mass effort to vaccinate by the billions looks to be the solution as of tonight. A virus that is learning how to be better at what it does. Now there is a new version and the warning is valid. Since this is the point to insult each other with you being smarter than me and expressing your wisdom of Covid to me on a F1 site. I’m guilty of doing this myself. But you challenged what I understand to be correct.
        My wish is that we could all just keep the comments to ourselves and talk only about the fast machines.

        1. @holmziniCancel Please stop spreading misinformation. You clearly do not understand the situation and your comments are not helpful.

  6. If this happens just like 2020, will the new 2022 car be delayed once again?

      1. Coventry Climax
        2nd January 2021, 20:29

        With FIA’s track record: Yes.

    1. If that would be the case then they could cancel the whole season (which is not going to happen) so teams could have a chance to focus fully on those 2022 cars..

      1. Doubt canceling the season is an option, the losses from TV rebates will be really huge.

        A far shorter season is more likely.

        1. @yaru Indeed. Too much money at stake to simply cancel everything, so the minimum target of 15 races for broadcasting reasons has to stay.

    2. Please god no, I don’t want to see Hamilton get a 9th title

      1. He has to get a 9th title in order get to 10.

  7. ️🎵 Let’s go ’round again, Maybe we’ll turn back the hands of time, Let’s go ’round again, One more time (One more time)… ️🎵

  8. I will be surprised if Monaco happens. How woudl the keep distancing there?
    Not to mention that the yatches parade would seem even more callous.
    And if season starts in Bahrain, I vote for a doubleheader there. Maybe with a different alternative track.

    1. It wouldn’t be a big loss IMO.
      Most of the past races in Monte Carlo were rubbish and Monaco doesn’t even pay any hosting fees. So from a financial point of view it’s no loss at all for F1 and the teams.

    2. @Gusmaia My vote would go for the Paddock Circuit used in the most recent official F1 games as an alternative to the GP configuration.
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Bahrain_International_Circuit–Paddock_Circuit.svg

      1. @jerejj The paddock circuit doesn’t have the run up to turn 4 and the consequent corners, either the very good downhill slope that the normal circuit has, or the curved straight that leads to the bumpy chicane that the outer circuit has. So it doesn’t have the best overtaking opportunites of all the available circuits.

        It also kinda breaks the flow from the swichback turns 1-3, since instead of a run to another straight, another slow corner comes right after. Plus instead of the original run to turn 4, it has a the ‘other’ pit straight (turns 4-6 paddock circuit), where very little overtaking takes place and the run to the last corner (turns 8-9 paddock circuit), where there’s also almost no overtaking.

        1. @black The run to T11 (T6 for Paddock Circuit) would be longer, though, so at least slightly increased chances for overtaking than on the GP configuration.

          1. @qeki What Avus?

          2. @jerejj AVUS is a circuit which was built in the 1920s and held the 1959 German Grand Prix – the layout was basically two straights with 43 degree banked corners at either end.

            It was an odd blend of being considered one of the most banal circuits that ever appeared on the calendar, and yet one of the most dangerous because of the high speeds – Jean Behra having been killed in a support race for the 1959 GP.

            However, the circuit largely fell out of use in its original form in the early 1960s, as the circuit was considered far too dangerous to use by that time. It lived on until the late 1990s in a version that had significantly shorter straights and with the banked corners removed, but at the end of the 1990s the circuit was permanently shut down and partially demolished.

      2. @jerejj I only made a suggestion in Gusmaia’s and your comments about a track if Monaco isn’t possible. Avus was a track in 50s (and maybe in 60s) in Germany which had only 2 corners. One of them was at least as banked as old monza oval.

  9. Wondering if there is any source for this or just sowing doubt for the sake of it? Considering the boxing day test match went ahead I don’t think we’re going to be as timid as expected with regards to hosting such an event.

    Anyway I’m staying hopeful until there’s an official reason for their not to be. Website still states subject to final Victorian government approval so we’ll just have to see how that goes.

    1. Yeah, an official F1 spokesperson provides an official statement simply to sow doubt for the sake of it. Read it – it says F1 will resume in March but the two crucial words ‘in Melbourne’ are conspicuous by their absence. Bahrain is in March…

      1. Was it perhaps not better to start in Europe again? Everything relatively close for the teams? Although vaccines are coming, it will take a long time before there is even a chance of normalcy. Are they not being too optimistic?

      2. The statement also reiterates that the 2021 calendar has been set, which is due to start in Melbourne… Seems like a strenuous conclusion solely from that statement, unless for example it was in response to a question about whether the season was still planned to start in Melbourne(?).

        Sure the season will start in Bahrain in March as you say therefore the statement is truthful if Melbourne doesn’t go ahead, but I don’t think this statement at all precludes that the Melbourne race will go ahead.

        1. I know what I asked F1 – and various sources as to the other points. Nothing strenuous in either from our side.

          1. Thanks for taking the time to reply, and sorry for my questioning.

        2. As @dieterrencken wrote already, They will have to start building the race track by the middle/end of this month to make the March date, right? I’m pretty sure the authorities won’t take any chances this time around. They key is in making sure to have a suitable crowd for the event to cover all the costs and maybe make a few quid off it too, more than anything, just to balance last year’s commercial disaster out I’d say.

    2. I have an opinion
      2nd January 2021, 14:19

      If all Formula 1 personnel are able to arrive two weeks before the race and quarantine, then the race might go ahead as planned. If testing finishes in Spain on the fourth February, everyone and everything would have to be packed up and flown over within three days. I am pessimistic that this will happen.

      I suspect 2021 will be another European / Arabian season.

    3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      2nd January 2021, 14:49

      @skipgamer I said on a previous post yesterday that I was doubtful. This by @dieterrencken backs up my initial thought. The UK is not Australia but I can tell you from inside the emergency services in the UK this is worse than last year, by an order of magnitude. Any race that cannot operate without big crowds in the first few months will be questionable.

    4. Here in Oz the number of cases is growing and some State borders are closed, with some others about to be.
      There are nil deaths in this 2nd wave but we have had our first case with the African strain. The Indian cricketers are now refusing to come to Brisbane Qld for the next test match as they probably have to go thru their 3rd x 14day Quarantine period whilst in Oz. Note 5 of their players did have their mug shots taken @ a curry house, thus braking CoVid protocol [I believe they should be deported immediately as they are useless to society!]. It would be a brave person indeed to predict the worst is over and by March CoVid is beaten and we can return to normality.

      In short, I wouldn’t stick your ‘left one, or your right one’ [Dan Ric can translate that], on a bet that the AGP is ALL GO!!!

      Me-thinks that if ’21 calendar becomes an extension of ’20, scrapping of ’22 new regs would be a no-brainer, as teams will be cash strapped for required development.
      Actually I guestimate that ’22 will be another ’20.

      1. Update – now their captain has had his mugshot taken at a baby shop!!!!
        Plus the Qld Govt has said to the team, DON”T bother coming!! YES!!!

  10. I predicted this would happen. Melbourne has just come off an incredibly strict 110 day lockdown to eliminate the virus. The public won’t be happy about any risk to that. NSW are having clusters that have 10 cases per day and Victoria closed the border to them.
    I just can’t see the GP happening. Countries that have it under control aren’t going to risk it.

    1. Just took one dodgy NSW visitor to start a new spreading event in Melbourne. They won’t be too keen to allow hundreds of potentially dodgy F1 people in. And even if they don’t spread it into the general community, Vic Health won’t want to be left treating any F1 foreigners who comes down with it while in Aus.

  11. All this has happened before, and it will happen again.

  12. I’m gonna miss Albert Park as it is one of my favorite tracks and iconic race. There’s something special waking up early Sunday morning to watch the first race of the season.

    The next thing they can do is to start season with a Bahrain double-header and utilise Outer layout again. I doubt re-scheduling Australian GP could be possible.

    1. @huhhii I’d prefer giving the Paddock Circuit a chance as well. The same configuration from the most recent F1 games.
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Bahrain_International_Circuit–Paddock_Circuit.svg
      As much as I like the Outer Loop section, there’s another viable alternative for usage.
      Regarding the point about rescheduling the Australian GP should it be unable to go ahead as planned: Correct. Postponing to a later part of the year would be more achievable if it was far closer to Europe and the track was permanent rather than temporary.

    2. @huhhii The first race is indeed special, but not Albert Park. Well, special in that it’s rubbish for racing and not being representative so it doesn’t give much except cars going round. I have long wished it was somewhere else, and hopefully we’ll get that this season.

      1. @jerejj That’s a bit uninspiring layout IMO. Outer layout already gave us a classic so why not do that again? If they desperately want to try something different then there’s Endurance layout. It didn’t work particularly well in 2010 but the cars are lot different now so might give that one another try.

        @balue It’s definitely special for me. I started watching F1 in 1998 and Albert Park is such a traditional first race of the season it doesn’t feel right if the season starts elsewhere.

        I get it racing can be sometimes poor there but I still love the track. It is unique. And I like it that the season starts with an unusual track. I enjoy it that the true picking order of the teams isn’t revealed right away in the first Grand Prix.

        1. @huhhii Not any more uninspiring than the Outer Loop, in my view. We already have an idea of this configuration alternative, so giving the Paddock layout a chance wouldn’t be bad. It’s a bit longer in length and lap time than the Outer Circuit.

        2. @huhhii it is worth noting that, when you began watching in 1998, the idea of Australia as the opening race of the season would have been a novel idea.

          From 1985 to 1995 inclusive, the Australian GP was the closing race of the season and usually paired up with the Australian Grand Prix – back in 1998, the sport was still adjusting to the idea of it being the opening race and in Melbourne instead of Adelaide.

  13. That is not good news at all for F1 ☹️
    If the Aussi GP gets postponed (and I doubt it will be rescheduled), others might follow and we’d get a similar season like we had last year. No spectators – no income for race promoters – cannot pay hosting fees – no income for teams – smaller teams go bankrupt
    I fear that this could lead to the exit for some teams. Definitely Haas, Alfa Romeo and Williams might also disappear and even Alpha Tauri (if it would be to expensive for RB to save its junior team).
    I hope I will be proved wrong 🙏

    1. We aren’t like most other countries.

      The thing is most parts of Australia have eliminated it from circulation apart from occasional outbreaks we get from hotel quarantine for returned Australian travellers.

      Once you have 0 community transmission that is something you really want to protect.

  14. Australia has adopted some of the strictest movement restrictions in the world in response to Covid. Case in point, most state borders are closed due to a handful of daily cases in NSW (and now most recently Victoria). Victoria also experienced one of the world’s harshest lockdowns when the situation there spiralled out of control back in June.

    As such I strongly doubt that F1 will be allowed in by March (certainly not in Melbourne/Victoria anyway). Especially since Victoria has closed to most other states (or been locked out) for the forseeable future.

  15. Formula 1 personnel would either have to obey a 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia, or charter flights to the country and operate within a ‘biosphere’ as they did in Abu Dhabi, either of which presents significant logistical and financial obstacles.

    Why? Just vaccinate everyone in F1 paddock (which would be what, 2, 3 thousand people?) and the job is done. That’s what the vaccine was created for, right? No need to wear mask like a dog or social distancing nonsense anymore if everyone is vaccinated, correct?

    1. @armchairexpert Easier said than done, I guess.

    2. @armchairexpert in most countries, the priority list for vaccinations is for those in the highest risk categories (e.g. those who are older or with certain medical conditions) and for those in critical services (e.g. medical staff).

      Most F1 personnel are going to be considered a pretty low priority right now, so it’s one thing to say “just give them the vaccine” and another to actually do so at a time when most resources are being directed towards those who are more vulnerable or provide vital services.

      1. @anon – exactly. Being involved in a sport, any sport, should not enable one to receive any priority.

    3. John Dangerfield
      2nd January 2021, 18:14

      The vacine only stops the people who have had it from being ill. They could still (and will likely) carry the virus and hence give it to somebody else in the process. The vacine is not the final silver bullet and this is the reason why we are wearing masks and alike for the rest of 2021 I think.

  16. Maybe they could place the race in that Round 4 TBC slot: it would give them one more month to take a decision. Then, if the race won’t go ahead, just place Portimão in that slot 😁

    1. @Alexandre Portimao would only be viable as a double-header with Spain due to its isolated location for travelling in Europe. My #1 preference is Fuji Speedway followed by Mugello, but I could also live with Imola (seemingly the most likely resort).

      1. Yes, just move Portimão to one week later and we’ll have a double-header with Spain 🙂

  17. Bring that race to New Zealand! Hampton Downs is ready…

    1. @NeverElectric Not FIA grade 1.

    2. Let’s have two Japanese rounds Suzuka, and Motegi, or another cool track, they have a lot of Grade 2 tracks, which are likely not the worst Grade 2 tracks, so they are likely quite upgradable. Big and fanatic fanbase, at a financially strong country, Tsunoda will be there also, cool cool. Although of course I would not mind any nice track :)

      And of course I would be sad, if the Australian GP would be out of the calendar again.

      1. @Jockey Ewing Only Suzuka and Fuji Speedway hold the FIA grade 1 certification necessary for an F1 GP. No other track in Japan is eligible for F1 at present. My first preference for replacing Hanoi (should it be unable to go ahead despite all attempts) is indeed Fuji.

    3. Yep or Pukekohe or Taupo! They had A1GP at Taupo a few years back. None of them FIA grade 1 though

  18. John Dangerfield
    2nd January 2021, 18:10

    Bahrain short-circuit in place of the Aus GP…. Come on you know you want too.

  19. Great. Don’t bother building the track this time around. My personal favourite. I feel really sorry for the Auzzies after what happened last year.

  20. Given that Australia has one of the lowest covid-19 infection rates, it does seem a little odd that other races are still on.

    1. Adrian, that is in part because, as a result of some individuals abusing the initial system that was set up, the Australian government has imposed very strict rules on people visiting the country.

      It is worth noting that even some Australian nationals are not being allowed into the country right now, as Australia has imposed very tight limits on the number of people that are allowed into the country so as to ensure they have enough places to quarantine them. Even a returning Australian national, therefore, would not be allowed in if that cap has been hit.

      To that end, it is worth noting that Melbourne is currently one location which imposes a cap on the maximum number of international travellers – I have seen it stated that they only allow about 1100 foreign nationals per week into Melbourne as part of their quarantine measures. Being seen to waive those rules for F1, or even just allowing F1 teams to use up most of the allocations for international travellers for several weeks might not exactly go down well with the average Australian.

  21. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    2nd January 2021, 21:24

    Instead of canceling Albert Park how about postponing it and take Shanghai’s date?

    1. @canadianjosh Too soon. Three weeks wouldn’t make a real difference in this regard.

  22. Easy at this stage skip Australia and start the season at the next circuit job done

  23. There’s no real surprise with this as I’ve been saying all along. What surprised me was that they even had it on the schedule in the first place although I guess I can understand it was more out of “hope” than reality.

    Unfortunately I believe that schedule changes in 2021 are to be expected as it’s going to be well into the second half of the year before any vaccination programmes take significant effect and many more countries have become very nervous about international travel, especially from countries that have been severely impacted like the UK.

    1. @dbradock They were too stubborn to give up on the tradition of opening seasons, which, unfortunately, could hit them back.

  24. There is a big problem in the UK at the moment and this new Covid variant. This is going to be a big deal, with many of the teams based here, I think they will struggle to travel, even for European races let alone further afield. I wouldn’t count on any races until May time at the earliest.

    1. @john-h
      I’m hopeful that Bahrain can keep its scheduled date if not Melbourne and or the following ones, but I see what you mean.

  25. The decision must be made early. Two races in a row in Bahrain is the best solution in case Australian GP is cancelled.

    1. @bulgarian Or just do pre-season testing there on the Australian GP week. The two races in the same place thing is something that should only be a resort if there’s a risk of not being able to hold at least 15 races otherwise.

  26. https://www.theage.com.au/sport/motorsport/australian-grand-prix-volunteers-face-lengthy-quarantine-email-reveals-20201210-p56mjh.html

    This is from The Age 3 weeks ago detailing proposed quarantine arrangements for trackside volunteers… 2 weeks of quarantine in a bio-secure hotel.

  27. Hmm, this is all about money, really.

    FIA should waive the hosting fee, then Melbourne can host the race behind closed doors and allow the paddock to operate in bubbles.

    The fact that that option doesn’t even seem to be on the table suggests that the fees cannot be dropped.

    Shame, I know it has gotten a lot of stick but it’s one of my favourite venues on the calendar, there is a kind of magic around it.

  28. No reason to postpone this. We just ran a season and did a great job handling it, no reason to cancel ANY race this year.

    1. @jblank F1’s approach to handling things (excessive testing, mask requirement within track boundaries, etc.) isn’t going to determine whether a race can go ahead or not, but things out of F1’s control, such as country or region-specific restrictions.

  29. It will be a European/Middle Eastern based series again with most races behind closed doors.

    That’s if we get a proper season.

    This new highly infectious UK variant might have countries leaving their borders closed to the UK for months to come.

  30. Perhaps it’s time F1 returns to Africa? At least Africa isn’t far from Europe where most races are held. Looking at the wonderful show experienced on alternative circuits in 2020. Doing same in 2021 where an originally scheduled GP can’t go on won’t be a bad idea.

  31. Why do they need one and a half months to prepare the circuit? They do not need grandstands… Also, would it really cost THAT much to prepare and then postpone? Instead of deciding prematurely?

    1. @f1mre it’s not just the grandstands – it’s also the temporary buildings and supporting infrastructure for the circuit and the people who are needed to operate it that also needs to be installed.

      Under normal circumstances, just installing the barriers alone is a major task given that they would normally use 34km of temporary barriers. OK, maybe, if there were reduced numbers of personnel, you wouldn’t need the 34,000 square metres of temporary buildings that are also installed as part of the circuit construction, but you’ll still need a fairly large number of temporary facilities – and that’s before some of the more substantial structures too, such as the temporary footbridges that need to be installed so marshals can safely access both sides of the track.

      You also have the infrastructure that has to be removed and stored elsewhere during the race – the chain link fences that normally border the roads, the traffic signs, the concrete bollards and kerbs and so forth. They normally reckon on about 290,000 hours of labour to prepare the circuit for a race in normal conditions – even if you cut back some of that if you were restricting the number of people at the circuit, either to a minimal crowd or held the race behind closed doors, it’s still not an insubstantial amount of effort when you look at the details of what has to be installed or removed, and a fair chunk of that would still need to be done.

  32. James Coupland
    4th January 2021, 11:27

    They should return to South Australia if Melbourne can’t hold the Australian grand prix.

  33. bring back imola and portimao, albert park is not good circiut too many turns never good races there, i love adelaide more then melburn

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