F1's season-opening Australian GP in March 'is set to be postponed'

Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March ‘is set to be postponed’ because of strict Covid-19 travel restrictions… with officials facing more chaos after 2020 was disrupted by the pandemic

  • The Formula One season is scheduled to get underway on March 21 in Australia 
  • It comes a year after the race was cancelled hours before Friday practice 
  • Australia still have strict travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus crisis
  • There are also fears over the emergence of a new strain of Covid-19
  • As a result the race in Melbourne could be delayed until later in the season  

The opening round of the 2021 Formula One season in Australia is set to be postponed until later in the year. 

Lewis Hamilton’s defence of his seventh drivers’ championship was set to begin in Melbourne on March 21, a year after the event was cancelled just hours before Friday practice was set to begin.

A year on amid global fears over a new strain of Covid-19, as well as Australia still enforcing strict travel restrictions, concerns have grown over whether the race will be able to go ahead. 

Lewis Hamilton will be looking to win a record-breaking eighth F1 championship this season

Now it has been reported by Autosport, that the Australian Grand Prix could be postponed until later in the season.

This would result in a re-shuffle of the races, and the season instead getting underway at the Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for March 28. 

It is said that an announcement postponing the race is expected to be made later this month.

The country has taken a firm stance towards limiting the spread of Covid-19 since the outbreak last year, closing its borders to non-residents shortly after the race was cancelled last March.

Strict quarantine rules have been in place forcing all arrivals in Australia and those moving between states to spend two weeks in designated quarantine hotels.

Construction work for the Australian Grand Prix, which takes place on a temporary street circuit, normally gets started at the end of January.

However, ticket sales have not yet started for the event, due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

The postponement would also raise questions about the Australian Open, with the tennis grand slam tournament set to take place in Melbourne from February 8 to 21. 

A F1 spokesman told Autosport: ‘(We) proved that we could return to racing safely and delivered what many thought was impossible in March.  

‘We have set out our 2021 calendar and look forward to the return of F1 in March this year.’

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