Formula One has released it’s draft calendar for 2021 which targets an ambitious 23 Grand Prix and fans present in a ‘close to normal’ season.
Although some uncertainty remains, F1 spectators will be pleased to hear that the closed-door events and empty grandstands of 2020 should be a thing of the past by next year. Feeling bolstered by their success in holding a safe and responsible championship this year, F1 asserts the fan experience should be approaching normality in 2021, despite the ongoing pandemic.
According to F1 CEO Chase Carey, “We are planning for 2021 events with fans that provide an experience close to normal and expect our agreements to be honoured. We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognise the need to move forward and manage the virus.”
“In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward.”
The 2021 season is due to get going at Melbourne’s Albert Park in March and run until December. There are currently 22 confirmed rounds with a question mark over the Hanoi race in April which could stretch the season to 23 races.
The Vietnam GP has not been confirmed for 2021. Originally due to host it’s inaugural event this year until covid-19 forced it’s cancellation, it’s absence from next years calendar is due to a local political scandal.
The Hanoi slot of April 25th is still listed on the calendar with the venue ‘TBC’. If the race can’t be rescued in time, F1 may wish to replace it with one of the venues that substituted this year, or possibly a return to Sepang.
Grand Prix in Catelunya (Spain) and Interlagos (Brazil), both due to hold their final races this year have managed to hold on to a place on the calendar for another year. The Brazil round was slated for a move to Rio de Janeiro but delays in getting government approval for a controversial new circuit has put these plans are on hold.
Another circuit that was due to make a first appearance in 2021 was Miami. With a lot riding on the growth of the sport’s popularity in the US though and F1 keen to guarantee a successful launch of the new event, both Liberty and local promoters agreed to hold off until a clearer picture emerged of the pandemic’s trajectory.
“I think for a new race, we want to launch in the right way, and we thought the right thing was to try and go a little slower until we had a little bit better visibility, whether it’s vaccines, or treatments, or tests or what have you.”
“It’s more important we do it right than fast. And the virus obviously represents challenges, until you have a better sense of it”, said F1 CEO Chase Carey.
With Miami and Vietnam called off, the only new venue in 2021 is likely to be the night race in Jeddah. There has long been speculation of a new Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia at an Alex Wurz designed track in Qiddiya.
With that track still under construction however, F1 announced last week a street circuit in Jeddah will host the first Saudi GP as the penultimate round of the season before heading to Abu Dhabi for the season finale on December 5th.
- March 21: Australia
- March 28: Bahrain
- April 11: China
- April 25: TBA
- May 9: Spain
- May 23: Monaco
- June 6: Azerbaijan
- June 13: Canada
- June 27: France
- July 4: Austria
- July 18: Britain
- August 1: Hungary
- August 29: Belgium
- September 5: Netherlands
- September 12: Italy
- September 26: Russia
- October 3: Singapore
- October 10: Japan
- October 24: USA
- October 31: Mexico
- November 14: Brazil
- November 28: Saudi Arabia
- December 5: Abu Dhabi