FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia – March 13, 2020 General view of the Melbourne skyline from Albert Park after it was announced the Australian Grand Prix would be cancelled after a McLaren team member tested positive for coronavirus REUTERS/Loren Elliott
January 5, 2021
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian Grand Prix organisers and officials are discussing the schedule for the race with Formula One management, a government spokesman said on Tuesday, amid speculation the season-opener will be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Australia maintaining strict quarantine controls on international arrivals, media reports have said the March 21 race at Albert Park will be pushed back to later in the season.
“Discussions between the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, the government and Formula One management about the Formula One calendar for 2021 are ongoing,” a Victoria state government spokesman said.
“As part of those discussions, the government will continue to prioritise public health considerations while protecting our major events calendar.”
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) also backed away from the March 21 schedule.
“Further detail will be provided upon finalisation of arrangements with all parties in the coming weeks,” the AGPC said in a statement.
Tickets for the Australian Grand Prix have yet to go on sale.
A Formula One spokesman on Monday said the sport looked forward to racing again in March but did not specify where, with Bahrain’s Grand Prix also scheduled for March.
Last year’s Australian Grand Prix was called off, only hours before first practice was due to start at the Albert Park street circuit, when a McLaren team member tested positive for the virus.
The season eventually started in Austria in July, with the calendar heavily rescheduled and reduced from an original record 22 races to 17 in Europe and the Middle East.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Christopher Cushing)