Imola returns, Australia and China postponed, in latest calendar

by Phillip Horton

Formula 1 unveiled a 23-round 2021 calendar last year but the first changes have now been ratified and released by series organisers.

Melbourne GP

The proposed season-opener in Australia on March 21 has been postponed, as has the planned April round in China, meaning Bahrain is now set to kick-start proceedings on March 28.

Bahrain held two events in 2020, on different circuit layouts, and previously opened Formula 1 seasons in 2006 and 2010.

Imola re-joined the schedule as part of the 2020 calendar that was overhauled due to the pandemic, 14 years after it last held a Formula 1 event.

It hosted a two-day weekend in the autumn but it is now set to hold the second round of the 2021 season on April 18, three weeks after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

An event on May 2 is currently scheduled for a yet-to-be-determined location though it is understood Portimao is the front-runner, which would form a back-to-back with Spain.

Australia’s event has been postponed until November 21, meaning Brazil has been pushed forward a week to November 7, forming a triple header with the United States and Mexico.

Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have been pushed back a week to December 5 and 12 respectively.

“It has been a busy start to the year at Formula 1 and we are pleased to confirm that the number of races planned for the season remains unchanged,” said Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“The global pandemic has not yet allowed life to return to normal, but we showed in 2020 that we can race safely as the first international sport to return and we have the experience and plans in place to deliver on our season.

“It is great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix in November and are continuing to work with our Chinese colleagues to find a solution to race there in 2021 if something changes.

“We are very excited to announce that Imola will return for the 2021 season and know our fans will be looking forward to the return of Formula 1 after the winter break and our revised season opener in Bahrain.

“Obviously, the virus situation remains fluid, but we have the experience from last season with all our partners and promoters to adapt accordingly and safely in 2021.”

Over half of the planned 2020 grands prix were eventually cancelled due to the pandemic as Formula 1 put on a restructured 17-round calendar at 14 different venues across Europe and the Middle East.

All planned trips to venues in Asias and the Americas, along with planned rounds in Monaco, France and the Netherlands, were called off.

Pre-Season Test 1Barcelona2-4 March
1Bahrain GPSakhir28 March
2Emilia Romagna GPImola18 April
4Spanish GPBarcelona9 May
5Monaco GPMonte Carlo23 May
6Azerbaijan GPBaku6 June
7Canadian GPMontreal13 June
8French GPPaul Ricard27 June
9Austrian GPSpielberg4 July
10British GPSilverstone18 July
11Hungarian GPBudapest1 August
12Belgian GPSpa-Francorchamps29 August
13Dutch GPZandvoort5 September
14Italian GPMonza12 September
15Russian GPSochi26 September
16Singapore GPSingapore3 October
17Japanese GPSuzuka10 October
18United States GPAustin24 October
19Mexican GPMexico City31 October
20Brazilian GPSao Paulo14 November
21Australian GPMelbourne21 March
22Saudi Arabia GPJeddah28 November
23Abu Dhabi GPYas Marina5 December
Chinese GPShanghaiPostponed