October or November date for Australian GP on the cards
The Victorian Government is expected to announce by the middle of next week whether the Australian Grand Prix will be moved to a date later in the year.
As the coronavirus crisis continues to blight the world concerns are mounting that the Grand Prix, due to be staged at Melbourne's Albert Park in March, will not be run in its usual start of the season position for the second year in a row.
Discussions over quarantine restrictions and conditions have been ongoing, but reports from Europe in various news outlets are now suggesting that the Australian race will be rescheduled to the back end of the year – with October or late November touted as a more likely timeslot.
The government was tight-lipped and the AGP's chief executive, Andrew Westacott, is on leave.
But according to sources with knowledge of the situation, a decision is likely by the middle of next week.
Last season the Australian Grand Prix was abandoned just before practice on the second day of the meeting with fans queuing up outside Albert Park to get in. Crew members from Maclaren had tested positive earlier in the week and that forced officials to take drastic action.
According to reports in Dutch website RN365 earlier this week team bosses had been told in meetings with Formula One that a major revamp of the calendar was to be announced, with Australia pencilled in potentially as late as November 21.
And Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll seemed to confirm that report when he told Reuters that the Australian GP would be postponed until late in the year with Bahrain instead hosting the opening round of 2021.
“Melbourne has been – it’s not officially announced but it will be – not cancelled but postponed. We will go there sometime in the fall (autumn) and the first race will be Bahrain,” Stroll said.
“I do believe we’re in for a difficult two or three months. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. I think the first few races will be slightly challenging.
“But Formula One management and the FIA, I really take my hat off to them to deliver 17 races as we did last year in 23 weeks, without really any major hiccups, in a very impressive manner.
“I think the worst is behind us and we’ve learnt through last year how to proceed with this year.”
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