Increasing concerns over SARS-CoV-2 have reportedly resulted in the postponement of the 2021 Australian Grand Prix. Scheduled to commence on March 21, it is unlikely that this year’s season-opening race will proceed ahead in the light of a new series of restrictions imposed by the Australian government.
According to the new guidelines, it would be mandatory for all members of the F1’s travelling circus to be quarantined for a period of 14 days upon their arrival in the country, cite sources with knowledge of the matter.
While the Formula One chairs had already planned for a record-breaking 23-race schedule, which is now in peril, it is being hoped that the Australian Grand Prix would be held at a later date in the year, with the March 28 ‘Bahrain Grand Prix’ poised to become the new curtain-raiser.
Back in 2020, the race at Albert Park circuit, Melbourne, was reportedly called off after a mechanic from the UK for McLaren tested positive with COVID-19. Even then, the sport was recorded to navigate a 17-round season within a period of 23 weeks, where Lewis Hamilton secured a record-equaling 7th world championship.
A spokesperson, with regards to the 2020 event, opined that F1 has proved the possibility of returning to safe racing, delivering what most people thought was not possible in March. He has further stated that the organizers have now set out the race’s 2021 calendar, looking ahead towards the return of F1 in March this year.
While discussions between the Australian government, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, and the F1 management are currently in progress, an official decision in this regard is anticipated to be out by late January.
Meanwhile, Australia continues the maintenance of strict quarantine rules in association with international arrivals and is also keen on prioritizing public health considerations, while shielding its major events calendar.