The Australian Grand Prix has been canceled for the second year in a row as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditionally the season-opener, the race in Melbourne had already been moved to November 21 in order to allow an extra eight months for the situation in Australia to improve and allow the race to take place. However, with vaccine rollouts slow and borders still closed, a recent move from the Australian government saw the number of incoming flights reduced even further and no acceptance that Formula 1’s COVID protocols would allow the sport to avoid a 14-day quarantine on arrival.
As a result, the race organizers have been forced to cancel the race, making an early decision as construction work on the Albert Park circuit would need to start soon. The MotoGP round at Phillip Island in Victoria has also been cancelled, with both races citing “restriction and logistical challenges relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic”.
“We’re deeply disappointed that for a second consecutive year, both MotoGP and Formula 1 fans won’t be able to see the world’s best riders and drivers compete at the wonderful Phillip Island and Albert Park Grand Prix Circuits,” Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) chairman Paul Little said.
“We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations.
“I would like to reassure our motivated and professional staff, suppliers and partners, as well as the Victorian tourism and major events community that we will work tirelessly to deliver these iconic events in 2022.”
We regret to announce the #AusGP will drop from the 2021 calendar
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 6, 2021
AGPC CEO Andrew Westacott says F1 and MotoGP have both been understanding of the situation and are working hard on when the races can next appear on the calendar.
“We understand this is not the news MotoGP and Formula 1 fans wanted to hear,” Westacott said. “I would like to extend my thanks to the Victorian Government, Formula 1 and Dorna Sports for their unwavering resilience and support during this challenging period, and for their ongoing commitment to these two great events.
“There are bound to be ongoing challenges with COVID-19, but I want to reassure fans that while there is sadness and disappointment amongst our wonderful AGPC staff there is a tenacity and determination to make sure the next episodes of MotoGP at the island and Formula 1 at the new Albert Park layout are sensational showcases of how we do things in Victoria.”
Formula 1 is working to replace the Melbourne event, now leaving a vacancy between the tripleheader of USA-Mexico-Brazil and the doubleheader to finish the season in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.