Australian GP organisers insist Melbourne - not Bahrain - will host 2021 season-opener
Australian Grand Prix organisers have confirmed tradition will be maintained and Melbourne will host Formula 1's 2021 season-opener.
Speculation had recently arisen that due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns, the race in Australia would be switched to October, with Bahrain instead hosting the March curtain-raiser.
But via a statement issued to the Nine Network's Wide World of Sports, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott has revealed Albert Park will again stage the opening race of next season.
"The Australian Grand Prix Corporation is in regular dialogue with Formula 1 on the 2021 provisional calendar, which will be published in the coming weeks," said Westacott.
"Melbourne will again host the F1 season opener in the traditional March time slot, which will form a significant part of the recovery of the major sports and events industry in Victoria."
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This year's Australian Grand Prix was the first race cancelled after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for Covid-19.
As the virus spread, there followed numerous other cancellations and postponements before F1 managed to put in place strict protocols that have allowed the sport to stage a 17-race calendar over the second half of this year.
At present, F1 is currently working on what F1 CEO Chase Carey has described as a "normal" calendar for 2021, with the first draft due to be revealed in early November.
Despite the first race of 2021 five months away, Melbourne's place is understood to have come under threat due to a second Covid-19 spike in and around the city, which has resulted in stringent measures being put in place.
It had resulted in additional talk of South Australia's The Bend circuit stepping in to host the race should the AGP Corporation have felt it would not be in a position to do so, but any concerns now appear to have been allayed.
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