Formula 1 has shown the teams a potential 23-race calendar for the 2021 season, depending on the future of a race in Brazil.
The sport was working on a provisional 22-race calendar that starts in Australia in March and features all of the original races from this season, with the addition of a new race in Saudi Arabia. That street circuit would have taken the total up to 23 races, but Interlagos is not expected to host a race.
Plans are in place for a new circuit in Rio de Janeiro but that is facing opposition due to a section of rainforest that would be destroyed to make way for the track, so it is uncertain whether Brazil will feature in 2021. However, it is now understood other options will be considered in its place that will keep the calendar at what would be a record 23 races.
While much of the calendar will be similar to the original 2020 schedule, the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort is likely to be moved from what was a May slot to be closer to Spa and Monza in late August and early September, as for many events a later position increases the chances of being able to host spectators.
There is potential for that run of races to be a tripleheader, despite F1 saying it would only utilize that approach this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sport is able to expand to 25 races per season under the terms of the latest Concorde Agreement.
The provisional calendar would see the United States Grand Prix held in Austin in its usual slot of late October, paired again with the Mexican Grand Prix, while Canada remains in its traditional June position.
One pre-season test in Bahrain is also provisionally scheduled, with fewer testing days deemed acceptable as many aspects of the cars are frozen for 2021 in order to reduce costs.
The difficulty of planning a schedule amid the COVID-19 uncertainty was highlighted on Wednesday when Imola confirmed it would have to host this weekend’s race behind closed doors due to government restrictions, despite having sold over 10,000 tickets for Saturday and Sunday. As previously announced, the Imola GP will be a 2-day even, with no practice sessions on Friday.