Tuesday , January 12 2021

Montreal doomed to the same fate?

The rumor had been circulating for a few days already and it was confirmed on Tuesday by the Formula 1 authorities. Due to the pandemic, the Australian Grand Prix, which was to kick off the 2021 season on March 21, was postponed to November.

• Read also: F1: Australian and Chinese GP postponed, Imola enters calendar

The third round of the season, originally scheduled for April 11 in China, has also been postponed, although it may be canceled altogether. The first race of the year is now scheduled in Bahrain, which retains its date of March 28.

The F1 circus will then make its second stopover on April 18 in Imola, Italy. This track is integrated into the championship for the second year in a row when it was not planned, as in 2020, in the initial calendar.

Other changes

To enable the Australian Grand Prix to be held in Melbourne this fall, F1 executives have agreed with other promoters to change the schedule.

Thus, the Brazilian Grand Prix is brought forward by a week (November 7), while Saudi Arabia will present its inaugural event on December 5 rather than November 28.

The season will end in Abu Dhabi, but a week later than planned, on December 12.

Strict measures

The postponement of the Australian Grand Prix is no surprise. This country has put in place strict measures to gain access to its territory, including around two-week quarantine that F1 and all its stakeholders were not ready to accept.

The first major tennis tournament, which was due to start on January 18 in the same region of Melbourne, has also been postponed by three weeks.

Qualifying rounds are currently held in Doha, Qatar (men), and Dubai, United Arab Emirates (women). Players who advance to the main draw will then travel to Australia for a mandatory quarantine.

In March 2020, the Australian Grand Prix was canceled just hours before the start of the first free practice session on Friday when spectators had already moved to the entrance to the site.

Vulnerable Canadian stopover

Despite the pandemic, F1 still hopes to meet its schedule of 23 stages in 2021, which would be a record.

On the other hand, given the current situation, and particularly in some countries severely affected by COVID-19, we could reduce the number of races.

In this regard, one can seriously wonder if the Grand Prix of Canada will indeed take place on the scheduled date of June 13. This stopover must be contested just one week after the Baku event in Azerbaijan and two weeks before the French Grand Prix.

Will the F1 authorities agree to cross the Atlantic for a single race and then return to the Old Continent?

Especially since the vaccination process, in the best case scenario, will certainly not be completed before the end of the summer.

No in camera

Montreal cannot afford to organize a Grand Prix behind closed doors or in front of bare stands, as François Dumontier has repeatedly said. Unless you are financially compensated by the American company Liberty Media, owner of F1.

Before being forced to cancel his race last year, the promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix had expressed the desire to postpone it until the fall. However, this project did not materialize.

However, by consulting the very busy calendar, we have to admit that it will be difficult to do so in 2021. F1 has indeed scheduled three events in September and four in October, if they are obviously maintained.

F1 teams will have just three days of winter testing, from March 12 to 14, half as many as last year, to prepare for the next season. And unlike in years past, the Bahrain circuit has been preferred to that of Barcelona.

www.journaldequebec.com

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