LONDON (Reuters) – Formulation One’s 2021 calendar is going through a swift rewrite, with two of the deliberate first three races set to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the return of some circuits drafted in to assist fill the gaps final yr.
The schedule printed in November had Australia opening on March 21, adopted every week later by Bahrain after which China on April 11.
Spherical 4 was at a venue to be confirmed on April 25 the place Vietnam ought to have been.
Australia now seems certain to be postponed, with sources saying groups agreed the change final week, whereas the Chinese language promoter is looking for a shift to later within the yr.
Bahrain ought to develop into the opener at floodlit Sakhir with Portugal’s Algarve circuit anticipated to take China’s slot and Italy’s Imola then following on.
Portimao hosted a grand prix for the primary time final yr whereas Imola was introduced again for the primary time since 2006.
A Formulation One spokesman mentioned the game absolutely anticipated to ship a document 23 rounds, with Saudi Arabia the brand new vacation spot.
Formulation One had deliberate 22 races final yr however solely 17 have been held ultimately after the unique calendar was torn up and rewritten, with Australia one in every of a number of cancellations.
The Chinese language Grand Prix in Shanghai was the primary F1 race to be postponed initially in February earlier than being shelved.
The 2020 season ultimately began in July, with groups working in a tightly-controlled ‘bubble’ and racing with out spectators.
“We proved in 2020 that we might return to racing safely and have the plans and procedures in place to take action once more and stay up for beginning our season in March,” mentioned the F1 spokesman.
Different motor racing championships have already needed to modify their plans on account of persevering with restrictions because of the pandemic.
The all-electric Formulation E collection postponed its January opener in Chile after the South American nation closed borders to arrivals from Britain, the place a lot of groups are based mostly, and is now as a result of begin in Saudi Arabia in late February.
Seven of 10 Formulation One groups are based mostly in Britain, now in its third nationwide lockdown and struggling to comprise the unfold of COVID-19.
The Rally World Championship is because of begin in Monte Carlo this month however has already needed to tweak its calendar with Belgium changing Britain.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, enhancing by Pritha Sarkar