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Australian F1 Grand Prix and MotoGP canceled due to COVID-19
- Updated: July 6, 2021
MELBOURNE: The Australian Grand Prix has been axed for the second year in a row with the 21st round of the Formula 1 championship a victim of the country’s tight border controls, organisers said on Tuesday (Jul 6).
“We regret to announce that the 2021 Australian Grand Prix has been canceled due to restrictions and logistical challenges relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” organizers said in a statement on the Nov 21 race.
The Australian round of the MotoGP world championship, scheduled for Phillip Island on Oct 24, was also canceled for the second successive year.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel complications and logistical restrictions mean it has not been possible to confirm the viability of the event at this time, and it will therefore not feature on the 2021 calendar,” organisers said.
Organisers hit roadblocks over Australia’s requirement for overseas arrivals to undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
The Formula 1 race had already been pushed back from its traditional season-opening slot in March to Nov 21, after the Brazilian Grand Prix and before the inaugural race in Saudi Arabia.
Cancellation means two years without a race at Melbourne’s Albert Park after the 2020 edition was dramatically called off just before the opening practice session.
It follows the Singapore Grand Prix, scheduled for Oct 3, also being cancelled over COVID-19 worries.
The MotoGP circuit also skipped Australia last year due to the pandemic.
While Australia has been among the world’s most successful countries in containing the coronavirus, Melbourne has struggled through several lockdowns.
Crowds are now back in sports stadiums in the city, but concerns remain high with Sydney currently in lockdown as it tackles an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Victoria state premier Dan Andrews earlier suggested the cancellation was likely given low rates of local vaccination and a reduction in international flights to Australia.
“The timing doesn’t quite line up, and that makes it very, very challenging,” he said.
“We work very closely with all of our partners, particularly F1 and indeed the MotoGP as well. But some things are possible in a pandemic and some things are really hard.”