Melbourne GP to go ahead in March 2021 as 'ambitious' Formula 1 calendar is revealed
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Formula 1 have unveiled a provisional calendar for the 2021 season, and Melbourne is set to host the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, March 21st.
The 2021 season will be the biggest in the competition’s history, with 23 races scheduled over the calendar year.
F1 chief executive Chase Carey confirmed on Tuesday evening AEDT that Melbourne would once again host the opening race of the year.
“We are excited to announce our 2021 provisional calendar and delighted we will be starting our season with our long-term partners in Melbourne,” Formula 1 chief executive Chase Carey said in a statement.
“Andrew Westacott and his team do an incredible job and we know the season opener at Albert Park will be one that fans can safely enjoy after an unprecedented 2020.
“We are planning for 2021 events with fans that provide an experience close to normal and expect our agreements to be honoured.
“We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognise the need to move forward and manage the virus.”
The Vietnamese Grand Prix has been dropped for 2021, meaning the April 25th slot currently remains vacant for another track.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief executive Andrew Westacott was adamant the event would abide by coronavirus protocols.
“We continue to work closely with health authorities and the Victorian Government as we develop our plans for fan attendance, which will be announced when finalised,” Westacott said.
“We’re adopting a sensible, adaptable and flexible approach, ensuring that a safe environment for fans and participants is our top priority.
“Our massive parkland venue with 10.6 km of track frontage provides us with the perfect opportunity to create a COVID-safe venue.”
The 2020 Australian Grand Prix was cancelled in the eleventh hour after the coronavirus reared its head in March.
Due to travel restrictions, most of this year’s F1 events were held in Europe and the Middle East, but the 2021 season returns to more familiar venues.
However, with a record number of races set to take place, some pundits are questioning if the schedule is too ambiguous.
Williams driver George Russell recently said: “I know the strain this puts on the engineers and mechanics. We have the luxury sometimes to go back between races, and these guys are often away from their families for three weeks at a time which is just not sustainable.
“If the calendar is going to increase, definitely smaller teams need more help — two lots of teams to be able to spread it out across the course of the season.
“I want to race as much as possible, but it needs to be sensible, and there needs to be a good compromise for the people working because at the end of the day, they have their own lives and their families.”