The start of the Formula One season was delayed by one week on Tuesday after the Australian Grand Prix was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the race in Melbourne moved from March to November, the season will now start in Bahrain on March 28.
The Australian race, initially set to open the season on March 21, has been rescheduled to Nov. 21 with F1 organizers citing “the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19.” The Chinese Grand Prix has additionally been postponed however no new date has been set. Strict journey restrictions for the pandemic make Australia and China among the many hardest nations for F1 groups to enter.
The season will as an alternative start with the Bahrain Grand Prix lower than 4 months after the Sakhir venue held two races as a part of the 2020 season.
A race has been added on the Imola observe in Italy on April 18, per week after the scheduled date for the Chinese GP. There is a vacant slot on May 2, with the Portimao circuit in Portugal among the many main candidates for that weekend.
“Discussions with the promoter and authorities in China are ongoing with the potential to reschedule the race later in the season if possible.” F1 stated in a press release.
There is not any apparent back-up date in the calendar. Races in the second half of the season are organized back-to-back in three-week blocks, placing heavy pressure on staff employees.
Postponing the Australian GP already means pushing again the tip of the season in Abu Dhabi by per week to Dec. 12. The calendar stays at 23 races, essentially the most ever.
Martin Pakula, the minister for tourism and main occasions in the Victorian state authorities which backs the Melbourne race, stated it was a smart resolution which probably may imply worldwide followers attending — if Australia’s borders re-open in time.
“This is the right decision and we thank Formula 1 management for their co-operation in setting a new schedule,” he stated. “The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is one of the great events in the world and we’ll make sure it can be run safely and successfully in November.”
The pandemic has disrupted the F1 season for a second yr. Last yr’s race in Australia was canceled after one staff member examined constructive for the coronavirus. Fans have been getting ready to enter the circuit for Friday follow when organizers introduced the cancellation.
That began a cascade of postponements and cancellations which meant the rescheduled 2020 season didn’t start till July. There was a compressed 17-race schedule by December with all races in Europe or the Middle East.