Formula 1, MotoGP forced to cancel Australian races

Formula 1 and MotoGP have been forced to cancel planned events in Australia this year due to ongoing travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) confirmed today (Tuesday) that the F1 race would not go ahead following discussions with the series and the Victorian Government. Melbourne’s Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit (pictured) had been due to stage the race from November 18-21.

The Australian Grand Prix traditionally serves as the opening race of the F1 season but this year’s race was postponed until November in the hope that the COVID-19 situation would improve later in the year. The race was also cancelled last year.

Tickets for this year’s grand prix had not yet gone on sale and the AGPC said it will continue to work with F1 and the Victorian Government regarding calendar timings for the 2022 event.

F1 expressed its disappointment at the news but remains confident it can deliver a 23-race season in 2021. F1 said it has a “number of options to take forward” to replace the Australian Grand Prix and will work through these in the coming weeks.

MotoGP, meanwhile, has added a new race in the Algarve to fill the spot left by the Australian Grand Prix, meaning that Portugal will stage two MotoGP events this season. MotoGP has also brought forward its Malaysian Grand Prix by a week following the withdrawal of Australia.

MotoGP’s Australian Grand Prix had been due to take place at Phillip Island Circuit near Melbourne.

AGPC chairman Paul Little said: “We’re deeply disappointed that for a second consecutive year, both MotoGP and Formula 1 fans won’t be able to see the world’s best riders and drivers compete at the wonderful Phillip Island and Albert Park Grand Prix Circuits.

“We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations.

“I would like to reassure our motivated and professional staff, suppliers and partners, as well as the Victorian tourism and major events community that we will work tirelessly to deliver these iconic events in 2022.”

F1 was also recently forced to cancel this year’s Singapore Grand Prix due to ongoing safety and logistic concerns brought about by the pandemic.

Image: Planet Labs, Inc./CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size