Rumor: Australia and Chinese GPs to be postponed (2nd Update)

This rumor is upgraded to ‘fact’ today.  Formula One’s Australian Grand Prix was postponed to November and China’s race was put on hold indefinitely as the coronavirus forced a 2021 calendar rejig on Tuesday.

The Australian race, usually the season-opener, was delayed from March to November, but no new date was set for the Chinese Grand Prix, normally held in April.

The announcement means a second season of coronavirus disruption for Formula One, which was delayed and truncated into 17 races in ‘bubble’ conditions last year.

The record, 23-race 2021 season will now begin in Bahrain on March 28, a week later than the originally scheduled start in Melbourne.

Formula 1, the FIA and the teams have formally agreed to run the single pre-season test in Bahrain on March 12-14.

In the interest of cost saving, testing has been restricted to just three days in 2021, which means one and a half days of running for each driver.

“The global pandemic has not yet allowed life to return to normal, but we showed in 2020 that we can race safely as the first international sport to return,” F1 president Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

Italy’s Imola race returns to the calendar in the Chinese slot on April 18, while the location of a race scheduled for May 2 was yet to be announced.

In Melbourne, construction around the temporary Albert Park street circuit never got underway and tickets did not go on sale, but organizers said the rescheduling will now allow the event to go ahead in November.

“As the third-last race of the season, this provides the opportunity to safely host what could be the championship-decider in Melbourne in the lead-in to summer,” said Australian Grand Prix chairman Paul Little.

“We’d like to thank our loyal motorsport fans and employees for their understanding in these challenging times.”

In other 2021 race news, Spanish GP venue Barcelona has confirmed that it has inked a race deal with Liberty Media for 2021. The Circuit de Catalunya is already provisionally scheduled to host the race on 9 May.

“We will continue to work to make the Montmelo track a permanent venue (in F1), because Formula 1 for us is not an expense, but an investment,” said Catalunya’s business minister Ramon Tremosa.

Revised 2021 F1 Calendar

No. Grand Prix Venue Date
1 Bahrain Sakhir March 28
2 San Marino Imola April 18
3 Portugal (Not confirmed) Portimao May 2
4 Spain Barcelona May 9
5 Monaco Monte Carlo May 23
6 Azerbaijan Baku June 6
7 Canada Montreal June 13
8 France Le Castellet June 27
9 Austria Spielberg July 4
10 United Kingdom Silverstone July 18
11 Hungary Budapest August 1
12 Belgium Spa August 29
13 Netherlands Zandvoort September 5
14 Italy Monza September 12
15 Russia Sochi September 26
16 Singapore Singapore October 3
17 Japan Suzuka October 10
18 USA Austin October 24
19 Mexico City Mexico City October 31
20 Sau Paulo Sao Paulo November 7
21 Australia Melbourne November 21
22 Saudi Arabia Jeddah December 5
23 Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi December 12


January 11, 2021 

(GMM) Organizers of the Chinese GP admit it is “highly unlikely” the Shanghai event can take place as scheduled on 11 April.

We have reported that with Melbourne’s season opener set to be postponed amid the ongoing covid crisis, the same is true for China.

“We are in contact with the leadership of Formula 1 by videoconference almost every week,” said Yibin Yang, general manager of the race promoter Juss Event.

“It is highly unlikely that the race can take place in the first half of the year, in April. We hope to have it in the second half instead and have formally sent that request,” he added.

“But if all international events are postponed to the second half of the year, the city simply will not have enough opportunities to hold them,” Yang admitted.

“Activities such as this require the involvement of significant community resources, so there would be a shortage of resources and also conflicts in terms of marketing.”

2019 Chinese Grand Prix, Sunday – LAT Images

Roger Benoit, a veteran correspondent for Blick newspaper, claims F1 authorities are working on a plan for travelling members of the F1 circus to be vaccinated.

Haas boss Gunther Steiner thinks the 2021 season will begin, notwithstanding the likely postponements.

“I think Bahrain is going to happen,” he said. “They did a fantastic job last year and when we got there, we felt very safe.”

January 10, 2021 

After being cancelled entirely in 2020 due to Covid-19 that the Communist Chinese Party infected the world with, the April 2021 Chinese GP is likely to be postponed, and perhaps cancelled again as their virus continues to ravish the world.

Organizers of the Chinese Grand Prix say they have asked Formula One management to move the Shanghai race from April to later in the 2021 calendar, has reported.

“We have been in contact (with F1) via conference call almost every week,” Yibin Yang, the general manager of race promoter Juss Event, was quoted as saying by the website.

“Despite the calendar being in place as usual, I think it’s hugely uncertain the F1 race would take place in the first half of the year, in April.

“We aim to swap it to the second half of the year, and we have formally submitted the request that we hope to move it to the second half of the year.”

But multiple factors could make rescheduling the 2021 Chinese GP difficult, and hence why it may need to be cancelled. “To move it to the second half of the year, it depends on the plan of the city government,” Yang added in Shanghai. “If we put all international events to the second half of the year, it will be over the capacity for the city.”