Grand Prix in Imola possible with fans: 'We do hope for that'

Tanya Simon
January 13, 2021

But due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions, the Australian GP has now been postponed back to the November 21 for the 21st round, while the Chinese GP will also not take place on its scheduled date - with no new slot confirmed.

The season will start with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28 at Sakhir, less than four months after the same venue held two races as part of the 2020 season.

Imola in Italy, which was a late addition to last year's calendar due to race cancellations, is set to return in 2021, with a race on April 18 now set to be the second of the season.

Now, with Melbourne and Shanghai set to be postponed in 2021, Monaco likely to follow suit and the scheduled 25 April race date still vacant, it emerges that Formula 1 is once again putting together a "plan B" calendar.

In the same race, Lance Stroll flipped his Racing Point, and there will be all eyes on the 2021 race as it gets the season underway at the end of March.

Plans for the first Vietnam GP were axed late previous year for political reasons, leaving a gap in the schedule that the Portimão circuit in Portugal - which hosted its first F1 race in 2020 - is tipped to fill.

"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", Mr Pakula said.

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"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 worldwide sport to return", F1 president Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

Finland's Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas won the last Australian Grand Prix in 2019, but the 2020 race was called off hours before the first practice after a McLaren team member tested positive for COVID-19.

"This is the right decision and we thank Formula 1 management for their co-operation in setting a new schedule", he said.

"We are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged", F1's new chief executive Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

No Chinese Grand Prix was held in 2020.

"We are very excited to announce that Imola will return for the 2021 season and know our fans will be looking forward to the return of Formula One after the winter break and our revised season-opener in Bahrain".

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