Australian round, which was delayed by several months due to the pandemic, has now been called off.
The Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled due to the ongoing effects of the global pandemic. The news also affects the Australian round of the MotoGP world championship.
This is the second year in a row that the Melbourne GP has been cancelled. It had been scheduled to open this year’s F1 championship, only to be postponed to 19-21 November because of tight border restrictions.
These remain in place in Australia, with travellers forced to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. The rules are likely to continue for the rest of the year, making it unrealistic for teams to travel to the grand prix. Currently, only seven per cent of adults in Australia are vaccinated.
In a statement, Formula One said an alternative venue would be found to keep the 23-race calendar, although nothing was yet confirmed: “While it is disappointing we won’t be racing in Australia this season, we are confident we can deliver a 23 race season in 2021 and we have a number of options to take forward to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix.
“We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded.”
It is not the first time the 2021 Formula One season has been disrupted. The Canadian round was cancelled earlier in the year, to be replaced by Turkey. The Istanbul race was itself then cancelled only to be subsequently reinstated again in place of the Singapore GP, another victim of border controls in the face of the pandemic.
The Japanese and Brazilian rounds remain on the calendar for now, although doubts remain as to whether that will continue to be the case. Japan hosts the Olympics and Paralympics this summer, in the face of significant public opposition, while Brazil’s coronavirus case load remains high. An extra race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has been mooted.