Australian GP delayed, Imola confirmed in revised 2021 F1 calendar

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Formula 1 has confirmed the 2021 Australian Grand Prix, originally set for March 21, has been postponed to November amid other calendar changes.

Earlier this month, reports emerged claiming the event in Melbourne would likely be moved due to current Covid-19 restrictions in the country, which would require teams to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or operate in a small biosphere akin to the Abu Dhabi GP.

With neither an appealing option for F1 or race organisers, the race at Albert Park has now been provisionally moved to November 21, ironically returning to the late-season slot Australia previously held when the GP was held at Adelaide.

As a result, the Bahrain GP now becomes the opening round of the 2021 season on March 28, with talks also taking place between the team to move pre-season testing to the Middle East.

Also confirmed on Tuesday was Imola's inclusion on the F1 calendar for the second straight year.

Last year, the historic venue held its first race since 2006, as one of five tracks drafted in to fill the revised schedule.

And now the Emilia Romagna GP will return on April 18 as the second round of the 2021 championship.

“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,” new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali commented.

“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.

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“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.”

Domenicali's comments on the Chinese GP come after the promoter revealed a request to move the race from April to later in the year ala Australia this past weekend.

However, with speculation the Portuguese GP could be drafted in to fill the empty slot on May 2, it's uncertain if there would be space to add Shanghai back to the calendar.