Formula 1: Australian and Chinese Grands Prix postponedLast updated on Jan 12, 2021, 03:14 pm
The Formula 1 2021 season will have a delayed start after the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix were postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The races were first and third on the 2021 calendar and the season is now scheduled to begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 26-28.
Notably, both Australia and China have strict rules with respect to international arrivals.
Australian GP moved to November for now
The season-opening Australian GP has been shifted to November 21 this year.
Notably, as of now, the F1 has planned 23 races for the season.
At the moment, it's negotiating a date for the Chinese GP which is likely to be postponed.
Bahrain (Sakhir circuit) will host the opening race after being put third on the list earlier.
Australian GP was canceled in 2020
Last season, the season-opening Australian GP was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The race was due to be held on March 15 at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne.
Weeks before the Australian GP had seen several sporting events across the globe get canceled or postponed due to the pandemic.
The Australian GP wasn't included in the new calendar that was released later.
Discussions with the promoter and authorities in China are ongoing
According to the official website of F1, the ongoing travel restrictions in China have led to the race not going on its planned date.
The second race will now be held in Italy, with Imola returning to the revised calendar.
Meanwhile, discussions with the promoter and authorities in China are ongoing, with the potential to reschedule the race later in the season if possible.
'Number of races planned for the season remains unchanged'
"We are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged," F1 President Stefano Domenicali said.
"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 and we have the experience and plans in place to deliver on our season."
A few changes on offer
Meanwhile, the dates of Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi events have been moved to accommodate the postponed Australia race.
The Brazilian GP has moved forward one week to November 7, while the latter two have been pushed back a week to December 5 and 12 respectively.
Earlier, Imola hosted its first race since 2006 in November last year.
F1 2021 season calendar update
2021 CALENDAR UPDATE— Formula 1 (@F1) January 12, 2021
🇧🇭 Season starts in Bahrain 26-28 Mar
🇦🇺 Australia moves to 19-21 Nov
🇮🇹 Imola returns 16-18 Apr; China discussions ongoing
Dates of Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi races all change#F1 pic.twitter.com/4QoP0gKKsA