Australian and Chinese Grands Prix postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions

F1 postpone 2021 season opener in Australia and Chinese Grand Prix amid Covid-19 travel restrictions

Australia, China F1 races postponed as coronavirus hits 2021 calendar

The Chinese Grand Prix was the first race to be postponed in last year's Covid-disturbed schedule.

Strict travel restrictions for the pandemic make Australia and China among the hardest countries for F1 teams to enter.

For example, the start of the season is in Bahrain and Australia shifts to November.

There are a number of other shuffles on the calendar, with the Chinese GP losing its spot on 11 April after event officials asked for a postponement.

"Discussions with the promoter and authorities in China are ongoing with the potential to reschedule the race later in the season if possible".

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"It is great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix in November and are continuing to work with our Chinese colleagues to find a solution to race there in 2021 if something changes", Domenicali told the F1 website.

The new third race of the season, scheduled for May 2, is yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to be the Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimao, another late addition last season. F1 said in a statement.

There is no obvious backup date on the calendar.

Melbourne was supposed to host the opening race on March 21, but it has now been moved to November 21.

Any rescheduling of the Chinese Grand Prix would likely be dependent on the cancelation of another event, as F1 does not intend to expand the 2021 calendar beyond the 23 races now scheduled.

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The Australian Open tennis Grand Slam begins in Melbourne next month and Victoria's sports minister, Martin Pakula said it was easier for that sport to deal with the quarantine rules.

"The operation of the four-day Grand Prix event at Albert Park will be subject to prevailing public health conditions and advice from the Chief Health Officer, with infection prevention and control at the centre of all decisions", the media release said.

The season ends with a double-header in Saudi Arabia, making its debut with a night race in Jeddah on December 5, and Abu Dhabi on December 12 - a week later than originally planned.

It is the second time in two years that F1's traditional curtain-raiser in Melbourne has been affected by the pandemic, which forced the first 10 races of the 2020 season to be called off and resulted in a revised 17-round schedule which did not get underway until July in Austria. Fans were preparing to enter the circuit for Friday practice when organizers announced the cancellation.

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