With the COVID-19 virus continuing to pose significant challenges throughout the country, the NTT IndyCar Series is looking into shifting its opening races to later dates in the hope that fewer restrictions will be encountered at its events.
RACER understands Round 1, set for March 6-7 on the streets of St. Petersburg, is under evaluation for a move to April 24-25. Barber Motorsports Park, currently in position as Round 2 on April 10-11, is also under consideration for a minor one-week shift to April 17-18.
No timetable has been given on when final decisions will be made on the schedule adjustments, but something formal would be needed in a relatively short timeframe. Owing to the approximate build time of six weeks to assemble a temporary street circuit, the process of creating the St. Petersburg event for its original March 6-7 weekend would need to start before the end of January. It suggests an answer on whether to go ahead with construction, or to hold for the late April event window, is on the horizon.
If St. Petersburg is confirmed for April 24-25, Barber would become the new site of IndyCar’s season-opener.
In a new, theoretical calendar, Barber would lead directly into St. Petersburg, and complete three consecutive weekends of action with Rounds 3 and 4 at the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader on May 1-2. After a short break the following weekend, the action would resume at the Indianapolis Grand Prix on May 14-15, followed by practice for the Indianapolis 500 days after Round 5, qualifying for the Indy 500 on May 22-23, and the Indy 500 race on May 30. Teams would have the next weekend off before the season ventures into summer with the Dual In Detroit on Belle Isle and the remainder of its schedule.
Provided the St. Petersburg and/or Barber date changes go through, they would make for the second calendar revision ahead of the 2021 season. Last month, IndyCar announced the Long Beach Grand Prix would shift from April 17-18 to September 25-26 as its new final race of the year.