We were told just days ago to expect changes to the provisional 2021 Formula 1 calendar — and the changes, they are a-comin’. The season was to begin with the Australian Grand Prix on March 21, but now that race has been shifted all the way back to November 21, where it will serve as the third-to-last round of the year.
Taking its place as the opener will be the Bahrain Grand Prix, keeping its existing March 28 spot. The 2021 F1 season will effectively begin a week later than originally planned, and in a different location. But wait, there’s more!
The Chinese Grand Prix, planned for April 11, will no longer be held on that date because of travel restrictions. Instead, F1 will go to Imola, in Italy, on April 18. The Shanghai event may still happen at another time, however. F1 management says it’s still talking things through with the government and the race’s promoter, and that there is “potential to reschedule the race later in the season.”
The original confirmed calendar had a void on the weekend of April 25, with a race to be determined. Whatever race that’s going to be, it’s now slid back to May 2. Here’s how the 2021 itinerary looks at the moment, per F1.com:
28 March – Bahrain (Sakhir)
18 April - Italy (Imola*)
2 May - TBC
9 May – Spain (Barcelona)
23 May – Monaco (Monaco)
6 June – Azerbaijan (Baku)
13 June – Canada (Montreal)
27 June – France (Le Castellet)
4 July – Austria (Spielberg)
18 July – United Kingdom (Silverstone)
1 August – Hungary (Budapest)
29 August – Belgium (Spa)
5 September – Netherlands (Zandvoort)
12 September – Italy (Monza)
26 September – Russia (Sochi)
3 October – Singapore (Singapore)
10 October – Japan (Suzuka)
24 October – USA (Austin)
31 October – Mexico (Mexico City)
7 November – Brazil (Sao Paulo)
21 November - Australia (Melbourne*)
5 December - Saudi Arabia (Jeddah**)
12 December - Abu Dhabi (Yas Island)
*Revisions to calendar are subject to World Motor Sport Council approval **Subject to circuit homologation
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All in all, we’re still looking at 23 rounds — a record for F1 season length — though given how quickly things have changed already, I’m willing to bet we don’t see them all through. Let’s hope the Australian Grand Prix can happen at its later date, safety permitting of course. Melbourne has such a great atmosphere, and it’d be a shame to lose the race in back-to-back years.