Australian GP officials "working closely" with F1 on hoped-for 2021 event
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has confirmed it is "working closely" with Formula 1 on the hoped-for staging of this year's event.
At present, sources have indicated to GPFans Global that it is 'impossible' for the race to go ahead on March 19-21 due to the stringent two-week quarantine system in place in Australia to combat Covid-19 and that a postponement is inevitable.
The likelihood is F1, FIA and team personnel would be away from home for around four to five weeks given the back-to-back nature of the start to the season, with the race in Australia followed immediately by the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Ahead of a record-breaking 23-race calendar, it is a situation F1 is unwilling to accommodate. A date later in the year is now being reviewed, but would almost certainly require a reshuffle of the current calendar as it stands.
In a statement, the AGPC has said it "continues to work closely with the Victorian government and Formula One on conditions and arrangements relating to the staging of the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in 2021.
"Further detail will be provided upon finalisation of arrangements with all parties in the coming weeks."
In an additional statement, a government spokesperson has also confirmed that discussions between the AGPC, the government and F1 "about the Formula One calendar for 2021 are ongoing.
"As part of those discussions, the government will continue to prioritise public health considerations while protecting our major events calendar."
The natural hope is the situation will ease over the course of the year as the various vaccines are rolled out and that a safe staging of the event will take place in due course.
Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville has told The Age in Melbourne that key to the continuing discussions was the willingness of F1 personnel to quarantine.
Ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament, around 1,000 players and officials have agreed to the quarantine measures ahead of the event going ahead from February 8 following an agreed three-week delay.
A detailed plan is required from F1 and the AGPC that "would then be tested by the health team to see what stacked up",' according to Neville.
She added: "We’re still away from being in that position. It’s still now looking at ‘how would quarantine work, whether they’re willing to quarantine and where they’d quarantine, how it would be done, when it would be done'. All those discussions are underway.
“It’s really too early to make any announcements about how it would be done. We will as soon as we make any decisions about it.”
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