Unfortunately, for the 2nd year in a row, the Australian GP has been cancelled. On the 6th of July 2021, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) in conjunction with the Victorian Government and Formula 1 announced the cancellation of the race. Restrictions and logistical challenges relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have come forward. The 2021 Australian GP was going to take place on November 19-21. It was going to be the 21st round of the record-breaking 23-round 2021 season. F1 is still deciding which race will replace the Aus GP; they have multiple options available to them.
The MotoGP Australian Motorcycle GP will not take place either for the 2nd year in a row. The MotoGP event was going to take place on the 24th of October. The Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne hosts the F1 race, while the Phillip Island GP Circuit on Phillip Island hosts the MotoGP race. Phillip Island is around 125 km south-southeast of Melbourne.
The Australian GP is usually the first race of the F1 season. However, in 2020, the Australian GP Corporation was forced to cancel the race at the last minute after a McLaren crew member tested positive for the coronavirus. The season eventually started at the 2020 Austrian GP in July. Come to 2021, and the 2021 Australian GP was postponed to November. The 2021 Bahrain GP replaced it as the season opener. But we come to July 2021, and the race will not take place at all. The F1 world has embraced the Australian GP, for it’s always a great race and a great venue to start the season with. The Australian F1 fans are always creating a great atmosphere and cheering their favourite drivers on. But unfortunately, they can’t watch their home race this year.
It may seem strange that the Australian GP Corporation is cancelling the 2021 Australian GP now. This news has come more than 4 months before the event would take place. But the reason behind this decision is that the Victorian Government simply couldn’t commit to holding the races. They couldn’t give the required guarantees and assurances to F1 Management or MotoGP.
Currently, there is a low number of two-dose vaccinations in Australia. At the same time, the government in Australia have halved international arrivals to Australia. It’s not an ideal situation at all. The strict restrictions are the reason that the race was taking place in November. The 2021 Australian GP was originally scheduled for March but was pushed to November, in hope that the COVID restrictions would be lighter in November. But the restrictions are too tight for the race to go forward.
The race organisers were hoping that the government would provide certain facilities for the F1 crew. They asked for a secure hub that would protect the F1 paddock from the virus. They were hoping that the F1 paddock would be able to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. By the F1 paddock, I mean the drivers, the teams’ officials and staff, and other F1 officials.
This would be around 1600 people coming to Melbourne from Brazil or from their HQ’s in Europe. Since the F1 paddock would only have 11 days between the Brazilian GP (5 – 7 Nov) and the Australian GP, there’s no way they can afford to stay in quarantine for 14 days. And with Australia’s tight nationwide restrictions, the Victorian government can’t guarantee that the race will go ahead as planned.
So, the government and the race organisers had no choice but to go ahead and cancel the race. It’s always painful when a race drops off the calendar, but it’s even worse when it happens for the 2nd year in a row. Hopefully, we can race in Australia in 2022. Let’s hope that we can open next year’s season with the season opener that we all know and love. Stay safe, stay on the lookout for new posts, and enjoy F1ntastic!