F1 season to start in Bahrain with Chinese, Australian events postponed

New date highlights Australian Grand Prix importance- Image LAT

New date highlights Australian Grand Prix importance- Image LAT

Doubts over the viability of the Australian Grand Prix going ahead have escalated with rising global concern over the emergence of a new strain of COVID-19, with strict travel rules now in place across the country that force all arrivals to undergo a 14-day period of mandatory self-isolation in designated quarantine hotels.

He added that talks were still underway about the Chinese Grand Prix.

"There is so much to look forward to later this year and to have two world-class Grands Prix running within a month of each other is a very exciting prospect for Australian motorsport fans".

It is expected Portimao in Portugal will then host the third round on May 2 before the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona a week later.

Australia was due to host F1's opening round of a record-breaking 23-race calendar on 21 March but the event has been postponed amid tough coronavirus restrictions in the country.

There is no obvious back-up date in the calendar. The calendar stays at 23 races, the most ever.

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

Martin Pakula, the minister for tourism and major events in the Victorian state government which backs the Melbourne race, said it was a sensible decision which potentially could mean global fans attending - if Australia's borders reopen in time.

Formula 1's new CEO Stefano Domenicali is thrilled to keep Australia in the revised schedule and is confident that every round will take place.

"The good news, however, is that the Australian Grand Prix will now take place from the 18th - 21st November following an agreement between Formula 1 and the Australian authorities that shows the importance of the race in Australia to Formula 1 and their partners in Melbourne".

"The ongoing situation regarding COVID-19 has meant it is not feasible to begin the season in Melbourne", Formula 1 said in a statement. No American races were held a year ago due to the pandemic while the Netherlands, Singapore and Japan rounds were also axed. Fans were preparing to enter the circuit for Friday practice when organizers announced the cancellation.

F1 has also announced the postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix, which was meant to take place on 11 April as the third round of the season. There was a compressed 17-race schedule through December with all races in Europe or the Middle East.

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