F1 is likely to have a 23-race calendar for the 2021 season as a draft one was shown to the teams during a meeting post Portuguese GP.
The meeting was held after the Portuguese GP to discuss about the future of F1, especially the 2026 engine regulations. Red Bull Racing were to raise the point of engine freeze for 2022 but pre-meet, Ferrari stated that priority was 2026 rather than 2022.
Additionally, they were to discuss about the budget cap and the 2021 calendar. In fact, F1 presented them with a draft 23-race calendar which included Saudi Arabia alongside the current 22 rounds which were to take place in the 2021 season.
As per multiple reports from Motorsport Network, AMuS, Racefans.net and others, the 2021 F1 season is still scheduled to start in Australia – in Melbourne – on March 21, followed by the grand prix in Bahrain on March 28 – the season starting as a double-header.
As opposed to Vietnam being the third round like it was to be in 2021, it will switch with China, which is scheduled to take place on April 11. The inaugural Vietnam GP would then slot on April 25 but there is a question mark on it already due to politics as per AMuS.
They are then to start with the European races, where Spain comes first on May 9, while Netherlands is likely to be clubbed with a triple-header of Belgium and Italy in August-September, post the summer break. The Zandvoort event would initiate the triple-header.
It is one of the two triple-headers as Singapore-Russia-Japan would be the second in September-October slot. Going back to pre-summer break, F1 is likely to follow Spain with Monaco (May 23), Azerbaijan, Canada, France, Austria, UK and Hungary.
The post-summer break’s Asian pack will follow the American races, although Brazil still remains a question mark, as it is still to confirm its switch to Rio de Janeiro amid reports of trouble brewing due to environmental activists against the idea of a track being built.
Besides that, the 2021 F1 season is likely to have a brand new grand prix in Saudi Arabia, where Jeddah is said to host a street race. They announced plans of building a track in Qiddiya, but it remains to be seen if the former is a temporary structure or not.
The season will end in Abu Dhabi as is the norm with the post-season testing. The pre-season testing, though, is unclear as both Barcelona and Bahrain is being talked about. As for the COVID-19 restrictions, F1 is pressing with a normal schedule, where they are likely using the bubble format but it may be open for fans, wherever possible.
Here’s report of Saudi joining F1 calendar in 2021
Here’s detail on Qiddiya track