Australian Grand Prix 2021 | New target date of November 21 set for Formula One event at Albert Park


Last year’s Australian Grand Prix was cancelled at the last minute after Formula One teams and hundreds of staff had already arrived in Melbourne.

As the potential impact of COVID-19 on Australia started to emerge last March, the event was abandoned just before practice on the second day of the meeting with fans queuing up outside Albert Park to get in. Crew members from Maclaren had tested positive earlier in the week and that forced officials to take drastic action.

News of the new race date – the final event of the season is scheduled for Abu Dhabi in early December – comes on the same day as the Victorian government and health authorities publicly revealed the quarantine arrangements for a 1200-strong cohort of tennis players and officials about to arrive in Melbourne on chartered planes for this year’s delayed Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

The government has pointed out that quarantine arrangements will be central to the race going ahead on the rescheduled date.

“The operation of the four-day Grand Prix event at Albert Park will be subject to prevailing public health conditions and advice from the Chief Health Officer, with infection prevention and control at the centre of all decisions,” the media release said.

“Quarantine and other aspects of the Grand Prix will be considered in due course.”

Last week Victorian Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville conceded that the question of whether F1 personnel were “willing to quarantine” in Melbourne was central to negotiations.

Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said: “It is great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix.

“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.”

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F1 news 2021, Renault, Cyril Abiteboul, Daniel Ricciardo, exit, new boss, Alpine, Formula One


Frenchman Cyril Abiteboul is leaving Renault, where he was Formula One team principal, the company announced on Monday in a press release.

Laurent Rossi, director of strategy and business development for Renault, will take over the motor sports unit which will be rebranded Alpine.

The Formula One team, which is based in Enstone in England, will replace its predominantly yellow livery with the red, white and blue of the French flag.

That leaves the responsibility for running the F1 team open and its executive director, the Franco-Polish Marcin Budkowski, could take over the reins.

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Coronavirus concerns push Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix to late 2021, says Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll


The Australian Grand Prix will be postponed to the back end of the Formula 1 season with Bahrain replacing it as the opening race in March, according to Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll.

The move, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine restrictions, has been widely flagged in the media but is yet to be confirmed by Formula 1 or local organisers.

“Melbourne has been — it’s not officially announced but it will be — not cancelled but postponed,” the Canadian billionaire told Reuters.

“We will go there sometime in the fall [northern autumn] and the first race will be [in] Bahrain.”

Formula 1 has been promoting on social media the existing 2021 schedule, which has the season starting with the Melbourne race on March 21.

However, there has been speculation that current restrictions requiring international arrivals in Australia to undergo a two-week hotel quarantine period would make it logistically difficult to get F1 teams and support staff in place in time to allow the race to proceed.

Earlier this week, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation said it was working closely with the Victorian Government and Formula 1 on “conditions and arrangements relating to the staging of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in 2021”.

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Last year’s race was cancelled just hours before the first Friday practice session was due to begin, due to coronavirus concerns.

Stroll was speaking ahead of the announcement of a new team title sponsorship with IT company Cognizant.

Crowds had to be turned away from Albert Park because of the last-minute cancellation of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.(ABC News: Patrick Rocca)

Formula 1 teams agreed to the change in a virtual meeting with Formula 1’s new chief executive Stefano Domenicali on Monday.

Sources said the same meeting also agreed for pre-season testing to move from Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya to Bahrain, without setting a date.

Last season’s race calendar had to be re-written due to the global pandemic, with an eventual 17 rounds in Europe and the Middle East and some circuits including Bahrain hosting two Grands Prix.

Stroll, also executive chairman of sportscar maker Aston Martin — which is returning to F1 as a constructor for the first time in 60 years in a rebranding of the Racing Point team — said he expected lingering difficulties.

“I do believe we’re in for a difficult two or three months,” said Stroll.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. I think the first few races will be slightly challenging.

“But Formula 1 management and the FIA, I really take my hat off to them to deliver 17 races as we did last year in 23 weeks, without really any major hiccups, in a very impressive manner.

“I think the worst is behind us and we’ve learnt through last year how to proceed with this year.”

Stroll and his son Lance, who drives for Aston Martin, both tested positive for the virus last year.

Reuters/ABC

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Formula 1 2021: Race schedule, Australian Grand Prix, postponed, dates, Bahrain, moved to spring, Lawrence Stroll


The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix will be postponed to the final months of the year, with Bahrain to host the season opener instead, according to Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll.

The boss of the team formerly known as Racing Point told Reuters the official announcement would be made soon.

“Melbourne has been – it’s not officially announced but it will be – not cancelled but postponed. We will go there sometime in the fall (autumn) and the first race will be Bahrain,” Stroll said.

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With the Canadian billionaire referring to the northern hemisphere seasons, that would see the Australian Grand Prix held between September and November.

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Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton receives a knighthood in the United Kingdom New Year’s Honours List


Motor racing great Lewis Hamilton has won just about every title and record there is in Formula One.

Now he has another, royal-appointed title to go along with his sporting achievements after the seven-times F1 world champion was awarded a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s Honours List published on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old this year became the most successful F1 driver of all time after equalling Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles and breaking the German’s record of 91 grand prix race wins.

The sport’s only black driver, who grew up in social housing as the grandson of immigrants from the Caribbean, Sir Lewis has also used his profile to campaign for diversity and speak out against racial injustice.

The Monaco resident’s presence on the overseas and international list, rather than a main one with many rewarded for service to public health in a pandemic, was seen as a reflection of his tax status.

The Daily Mail newspaper said Prime Minister Boris Johnson had “bent the rules” to get around the tax requirements for domestic awards.

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The citation referred to Sir Lewis’s sporting record and his “charitable and philanthropic contributions in the UK and overseas”.

Cinematographer Roger Deakins, famed for his work on movies such as “1917”, “Shawshank Redemption” and “Skyfall”, was also knighted on the same overseas list.

Hamilton’s supporters have long felt his achievements have not been sufficiently recognised at home and they expressed delight at the Mercedes driver joining a select group of sporting sirs.

“Lewis is a true giant of our sport and his influence is huge both in and out of a car,” said newly-appointed Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali, a former Ferrari team principal.

“What he has achieved is phenomenal, with still more to come.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff hailed Hamilton, who won his first title with McLaren in 2008, as the most successful British sportsperson of his era.

The knighthood, he added, showed that Hamilton — often seen as a polarising figure — was “now receiving the recognition he has earned during a career of unparalleled success in motorsport”.

“The UK can be very proud to have a champion and ambassador of the calibre of Sir Lewis Hamilton,” added Wolff.

One of the records that Lewis Hamilton has broken this year is the mark for career Formula One pole positions with 98.(AFP/DPPI: Florent Gooden)

Sir Lewis is the fourth F1 driver to be knighted after the late Australian Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and triple champion Jackie Stewart and the only one to have received the award while still racing.

Cycling’s Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 metres gold medallist Mo Farah, England cricketer Alastair Cook and twice Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray have also been knighted as active sportsmen.

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F1 news: Emma Kimilainen, X-rated photo shoot, motorsport, Shikaani Formula 1 podcast


F1 hopeful Emma Kimilainen has revealed that she once quit racing after her team told her to pose topless for a magazine.

The 31-year-old took a four-year hiatus from motorsport back in 2009 but has since become a star in the all-female W Series.

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Perez joining Red Bull

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Formula 1 2020, news: Lewis Hamilton, COVID-19, diagnosis, not great, how he’s feeling, Sakhir Grand Prix, rest of the season


Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, who was diagnosed with coronavirus this week, is struggling with the illness and is in doubt for next week’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said on Friday.

The seven-time champion won the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend and was ruled out of Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix after waking up on Monday with mild symptoms.

The 35-year-old is now in the process of isolating for 10 days according to the established protocols.

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Hamilton tests COVID positive

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Formula 1 2020, Sakhir Grand Prix, news: Practice results, George Russell, Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton replacement, timings


George Russell upstaged his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and impressed everyone else on Friday when he topped the times in both sessions of a record-breaking day’s practice at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Substituting for coronavirus victim seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, the 22-year-old Briton outpaced all of his rivals with a dazzling display of pace and poise on the high-speed short-lap ‘outer loop’ at the Bahrain International Circuit.

His time of just 54.713 seconds represented the briefest lap of the season and was well within the time set by Niki Lauda with the fastest lap pole time in Formula One, set at the 1974 French Grand Prix.

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Russell was only released by Williams on Monday, but showed no sign of nerves in Hamilton’s title-winning car, despite being notably taller than Hamilton and having to wear racing shoes a size smaller than usual to squeeze into the car.



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F1 2020, Sakhir Grand Prix Bahrain, qualifying results, Daniel Ricciardo, starting grid, race time in Australia, Renault, Formula One


Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he is “confused” by his Renault in what is the penultimate outing in it before the season ends and he heads to McLaren for the new season.

The Aussie, who has scored two superb podiums this season, has seen his red-hot form cool off somewhat in recent races.

He qualified for Monday morning’s (AEDT) Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain in P7 behind the likes of midfield rivals Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat, but wasn’t sure why the car wasn’t performing any better than that.

Teammate Esteban Ocon couldn’t even get his Renault into Q3 as he was forced to settle for 11th on the grid.

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