Australian Grand Prix organisers intend for the race to return to its usual March calendar slot for the 2021 season opener, after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Called-off at the last minute after a McLaren team member tested positive for the coronavirus, an immediate return for the race next year has come into question with strict travel restrictions in place and Melbourne recovering from the effects of a recent second wave.
However according to Autosport, organisers are still planning for a March 14, 2021 date for the race, with the hope that Australia, whose international borders are currently closed to non-citizens/residents, will be open by then.
Additionally, it is hoped that F1 personnel will be allowed to make use of “alternative quarantine methods” recently posited by Australian prime minster Scott Morrison, and not be subject to the current mandatory 14 day isolation period.
Should the race go ahead, it would mark the first time F1 has raced outside Europe or the Middle East since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with all races in east Asia and the Americas cancelled.
A regular host of international sporting events, Melbourne’s first real test will come with the Australian Open tennis tournament, scheduled for January 18-31. Intending to go ahead with limited fan attendance, that event will be a key indicator of what to expect with the race at the Albert Park Street circuit, which can host over 100,000 spectators under normal circumstances.