With the Australian Grand Prix cancelled for the second year running, Formula 1 is scrambling for a replacement after its chief expressed hopes that the season will still comprise 23 races in 2021.
Australian GP, traditionally the season-opener, was pushed back to the second half of the season and was to take place on November 21. However, with the strict coronavirus restrictions in the country requiring overseas arrivals to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, the decision to cancel the event was taken.
Former F1 driver Martin Brundle thinks that there are multiple options to replace the cancelled Australian GP. “I know Mugello has a chance as a reserve. Maybe the Nurburgring. Maybe we’ll get a second race at Bahrain again. There was also talk of a double race at COTA in Austin. It was clear that a race in Melbourne was not going to happen. There are still races planned in countries on the red list. Brazil is not certain yet either. It’s a hell of a job for F1, and every day they are juggling around like crazy," said Brundle.
Australian GP chairman Paul Little had said he is “deeply disappointed" with the development but added that they “appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations."
Formula One chief Stefano Domenicali Read was also disappointed but said they have a “number of options" to ensure the number of races isn’t reduced.
“While it is disappointing we won’t be racing in Australia this season, we are confident we can deliver a 23-race season in 2021 and we have a number of options to take forward," he said.