F1 season-opening Australian GP set to be postponed

The Formula 1 2021 season is unlikely to start with the Australian GP as planned, with the scheduled opening race set to be postponed.

After a disrupted 2020 campaign because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Albert Park’s Australian GP – which was cancelled last year – was due to kick off a record 23-race 2021 season on March 21.

But Sky Sports understands it is now set to be postponed until later in the year due to strict new quarantine restrictions in Melbourne.

The Bahrain GP, set for March 28, is poised to replace Australia as the season-opener.

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Melbourne is preparing to host its first major international event in almost a year in February with the Australian Open tennis tournament, and the Victorian government has made a 14-day quarantine mandatory for all personnel.

It is believed F1 would be subject to the same rules – and a Grand Prix would be unviable in those circumstances.

A two-week quarantine for F1 personnel would likely require them to travel three weeks before the race date, and F1’s sole three-day pre-season test is currently set for March 2-4.

An official postponement appears inevitable, meaning the Bahrain GP is likely to open the campaign. Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit hosted two of the last three races of 2020 without issue.

“In 2020 we proved that we could return to racing safely and delivered what many thought was impossible in March,” said F1 in a statement.

“We have set out our 2021 calendar and look forward to the return of F1 in March this year.”

More to follow.

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