Australia has announced today the cancellation of this year’s MotoGP and Formula One Grand Prix. The decision was motivated by the global surge in coronavirus cases.
In an attempt to contain the spread of the disease into their territory, Australian authorities have decreed a compulsory quarantine period for every foreign visitor, a requirement which the entourage of the World Championships simply can’t fulfil.
On top of that, there are the logistical difficulties inherent to taking such a big event to the other side of the world. The Austral nation will thus miss out on both the top two and four-wheel competitions for the second year in a row.
MotoGP Algarve GP
MotoGP organising bodies have reacted quickly to the news. The FIM, IRTA and promoters Dorna Sports, have, in fact, already announced that the Australian race will be replaced by another one in Portugal. This country will therefore repeat as a hosting country this season after having already celebrated the third appointment of the year.
The new event, which has been named the MotoGP Algarve GP will take place from the 5 to the 7 of November at the Portimao International Circuit for the penultimate round of the season ahead of the grand final in Valencia (12-14 November).
🚨 Se CANCELA el Gran Premio de Australia de #MotoGP 🏁
📆 En su lugar, el mundial volverá a Portimao para celebrar el GP del Algarve del 5 al 7 de noviembre
📆 El GP de Malasia se adelanta al fin de semana del 24 de octubre pic.twitter.com/o6bSispOv6
— DAZN España (@DAZN_ES) July 6, 2021
The cancellation has also triggered another reshuffle of the calendar. The Malaysian GP will now take place from the 22 to the 24 of October, a week after the Thai GP which is scheduled for the 15 to the 17 of the same month. Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has declared to Motorsports.com his sadness about the Australian resolution and his wishes for the Australian round to return to the calendar in 2022:
“Unfortunately, we will have to wait another year to return to Victoria, but we very much look forward to seeing the Australian fans in 2022 and staging another fantastic event together – this time with two home heroes, Jack Miller and Remy Gardner, on the premier class grid when we return”.
A message from @jackmilleraus 🇦🇺
— Australian MotoGP™ (@ausmotogp) July 6, 2021
In other hand, Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman, Paul Little, said: “We’re terribly disappointed that for a second consecutive year, MotoGP fans won’t see the world’s best riders compete at the wonderful Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, including Australians Jack Miller in the MotoGP class, and Remy Gardner, who is currently leading the Moto2 world championship. We’re also disappointed for our staff, suppliers and partners, as well as the Phillip Island community and associated tourism industry that relies on the economic boost which comes with staging the event.”
The Australian F1 GP 2021 also falls victim to the COVID pandemic
The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix has suffered the same luck. Its cancellation has not come as a surprise but still, it has dampened the spirits of everyone involved. Intense negotiations were attempted with local health authorities in an attempt for the teams to be allowed to bypass some of the most stringent border regulations.
One of the solutions on the table was the creation of a so-called bubble for everyone involved in the race at Albert Park, but this proposal was swiftly dismissed. Making the F1 entourage exempt from confining and deploying the necessary supervision to safeguard those bubbles would not have gone down very well with the general public.
Despite the serious disruption to the calendar and the current lack of a candidate to replace the event, F1 organisers insist they will attempt to maintain the 23- race-strong season calendar.
The Australian race, which was scheduled for November 19-21 at Albert Park in Melbourne, was set to be round 21 of 23.
A F1 spokesmas said: “We are disappointed that event can’t take place, but 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. We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded.”
Images of Australian GP: MotoGP.