2021 F1 Australian Grand Prix cancelled, along with Phillip Island MotoGP round


A slow vaccine rollout has been blamed for the decision to cancel the F1 Australian Grand Prix and MotoGP Phillip Island round in 2021

Flags above a Melbourne grandstand ahead of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix


The Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled for the second year in a row, along with MotoGP’s Phillip Island round, as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Local politicians blamed the slow rollout of vaccines for the decision to axe the Melbourne race, due to be held on November 21, a month after MotoGP was set to race in Australia.

A statement from Formula 1 promoters said that the Grand Prix would be replaced by one of a “number of options”. A second round in Portimao will fill the space in the MotoGP calendar.

The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix was initially due to take place in May before being moved to November, due to Australia’s current strict limits on international travellers.

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In comments published by ABC in Australia, the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events in the state of Victoria, Martin Pakula, said that he could not offer the F1 and MotoGP any certainty over this year’s event.

“I take no issue with the fact that those organisations needed that assurance this week,” he said. “They need to plan and they need to have contingencies in place.

“And given the very low national two-dose vaccination numbers and given the decision of the National Cabinet on Friday [to halve international arrivals], we are simply not in a position to give F1 management or MotoGP the sorts of guarantees and assurances and comforts that they need this week.

“This is the reality of the pandemic”

“This is the reality of the pandemic – but until we get much higher vaccination rates we cannot return to more normal settings.”

Albert Park played host to farcical scenes last year, as fans queued outside for the start of Friday practice, even though the race had been cancelled at the very last minute, and some drivers had already left the country, following positive Covid tests in the paddock.

This year should have been a reboot, on a revised circuit layout designed to improve overtaking opportunities, but tickets had not yet gone on sale as a result of the uncertainty.

“We understand this is not the news MotoGP and Formula 1 fans wanted to hear,” said Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) CEO, Andrew Westacott.

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“I would like to extend my thanks to the Victorian Government, Formula 1 and [MotoGP promoter] Dorna Sports for their unwavering resilience and support during this challenging period, and for their ongoing commitment to these two great events.

“There are bound to be ongoing challenges with Covid-19, but I want to reassure fans that while there is sadness and disappointment amongst our wonderful AGPC staff there is a tenacity and determination to make sure the next episodes of MotoGP at the island and Formula 1 at the new Albert Park layout are sensational showcases of how we do things in Victoria.”

F1’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, said that a decision on Melbourne’s replacement would come in the next few weeks. “While it is disappointing we won’t be racing in Australia this season, 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,” he said.

“We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded.”