With Melbourne Out, What Comes Next?

With the F1 Australian GP being cancelled, Kristina Agresta looks at the potential replacements for the race.

Written by Kristina Agresta

July 7, 2021

Today it was announced that for a second year in a row, F1 will not be racing in Australia due to the ongoing COVID restrictions. This news was devastating for a lot of Australian fans after the race had already been delayed this year.

F1 is still dedicated to their grueling 23 race calendar and have to find a circuit to replace Melbourne if they’d like to stick to it. Last season circuits like Mugello and Imola replaced cancelled races, but because Australia is so late in the season the climate in Europe won’t be right for racing. This means F1 will have to look to tracks with warmer climates like in the Southern Hemisphere, but these come with their own host of problems.

Fans have started campaigning for the return of the Malaysian GP as it is a fan favorite that hasn’t been on the calendar since 2019. However, the problem with Malaysia returning is that the grade 1 license for the track is expired so it might be too late for them to start the process. There are also still concerns about COVID and the restrictions of the Malaysian government. Most likely we will not see the return of the circuit until 2022, ruling it out for this year’s replacement race. 

“…we are confident we can deliver a 23 race season in 2021 and we have a number of options to take forward to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix,” said Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

Another option that was offered up earlier in the season when it was speculated that Australia would be cancelled is a doubleheader at COTA, like the Red Bull Ring. Circuit of the Americas is already hosting the US GP so they would have the infrastructure to host two weekends in a row. The climate is perfect for racing conditions during that time period and with the new and growing influx of American F1 fans, the extra exposure would be good for the sport.

The final option given was the Bahrain Outer Circuit. This configuration was last used at the Sakhir GP in December of 2020. Fans are hesitant about this option given how much it has been used in the past 8 months. There were two Grand Prix there during the 2020 season, pre-season testing took place on the track, and the season opener for F1 and F2 was there as well. Should Formula 1 take this option, this would put the Bahrain track at 4 Grand Prix over a 12 month period. The outer circuit hosted one of the most talked about races last season and it may not live up to expectations.

Ultimately the decision is up to F1, but personally as an American fan it would be great to see two races in the US.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristina developed her love of motorsport through years watching Top Gear with her dad every night. She specializes in Formula One and it’s feeder series F2, F3, and F4. Her favorite teams are Williams & McLaren and supports Prema & ART Grand Prix in feeder series. Outside of motorsport Kristina spends her time supporting the Washington Football Team and studying film. You can find her on Twitter as @agrestaP1.

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