The Government in Australia has decided to cancel both the F1 and MotoGP races for 2021 at Melbourne and Philip Island.
Starting with F1 race at Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, it was already postponed from March to November 18-21, keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. The promoters completed all of the changes on track well in advance to be ready for the event.
However, the grand prix never looked settled, especially with the Government in Australia, still not allowing people to fly in straight up. With restrictions continuing in the country, it was decided to cancel the 2021 F1 event due to the logistical challenges.
The work now shifts to hosting the Australian GP in 2022. Upon the double announcement, Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman, Paul Little AO, said: “We’re deeply disappointed that for a second consecutive year, both MotoGP and Formula 1 fans won’t be able to see the world’s best riders and drivers compete at the wonderful Phillip Island and Albert Park Grand Prix Circuits.
“We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations. I would like to reassure our motivated and professional staff, suppliers and partners, as well as the Victorian tourism and major events community that we will work tirelessly to deliver these iconic events in 2022.”
At the same time, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, Andrew Westacott, added: “We understand this is not the news MotoGP and Formula 1 fans wanted to hear. I would like to extend my thanks to the Victorian Government, Formula 1 and Dorna Sports for their unwavering resilience and support during this challenging period, and for their ongoing commitment to these two great events.
“There are bound to be ongoing challenges with COVID-19, but I want to reassure fans that while there is sadness and disappointment amongst our wonderful AGPC staff there is a tenacity and determination to make sure the next episodes of MotoGP at the island and Formula 1 at the new Albert Park layout are sensational showcases of how we do things in Victoria.”
Meanwhile, F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali, added: “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 to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix. We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded.”
And finally, McLaren F1 driver, Daniel Ricciardo, said: “It’s a huge disappointment for all of the drivers that we won’t be coming down to Australia in November, but we understand the reasons. For me personally, I can’t wait to have the chance to race at home again, and it’ll be even sweeter when we do because it’s been so long. Fingers crossed things can change for 2022 and we get to see the awesome fans at Albert Park again and put on a good show for them.”
With the cancellation of the Australia event, F1 is still hopeful to have 23 races this year. There is now a gap post the American events and the Middle Eastern ones. A statement from the sport ensures that there are replacements already in discussions.
“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 to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix. We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded.”
On the MotoGP side too, the Philip Island event goes off, with Dorna Sports already replacing it with a second round in Portugal under the name of ‘Algarve’, to be held on November 5-7, one weekend before the finale at Valencia.
It is the second time that MotoGP will visit Portugal after April 1This changes the dates of Thai GP, which will take place on October 15-17, while the Malaysian GP is scheduled to take place as a double-header on October 22-24.
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