Australian Grand Prix delayed until November
The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix has been delayed until November 21 as part of a re-jigged racing calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Albert Park race usually marks the opening of the Grand Prix season, but the move will mean it’s now third-last in the racing calendar.
Australian Grand Prix CEO Andrew Westacott cited mandatory hotel quarantine as the overriding factor for the move.
“The prevailing health conditions in Australia… Is such that 14 days quarantine is required by arrivals back from overseas,” he told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell on 3AW Mornings.
“That’s not possible at the start of the Formula 1 season, nor the nature of what Formula 1 is about, and therefore ourselves, Formula 1, and the Victorian government came to the mutually-agreed position that the season would have to start in Bahrain.”
However, Mr Westacott was upbeat on the unique opportunity it presented the state.
“We’re going to learn a lot about how good it is to be the third-last race, and it will be an interesting comparison to the usual slot of season opener,” he said.
“I’ve always been a fan of the opening race of the season, I’m on record as saying there’s something special about hosting it.
“But… It’s nice every now and then to be able to host a world champion being crowned at your event and your venue, and for three of the last four years that has been the case.
“You have to look for positives and that is a legitimate scenario in a November time-slot.”
It’s the second year running that the race has been impacted by the pandemic with a last-minute cancellation last year.
Sports Minister Martin Pakula says the delay means gives Melbourne the best chance to host the event in front of the biggest crowd possible.
“We genuinely believe that a November Grand Prix… Gives us the best chance of having a wonderful event, that can be conducted safely, and in front of the biggest possible crowd,” he told media this morning.
“It’s not forever, we’ll certainly be very keen to go back to our traditional season-opening slot in 2022, but for 2021 we think the November date is a wonderful outcome.”
Click PLAY to hear Andrew Westacott’s interview with Tony Jones below