Covid-19: F1 Australian Grand Prix called off for second year running

Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has been called off for the second successive year
Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has been called off for the second successive year.

The Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled for the second successive year. The Moto GP in Australia will also not take place due to Covid-19 preventive protocols.

It became logistically impossible for the race organisers to conduct the event after the Australian Government declined the request to relax the mandatory quarantine rule. The packed F1 and Moto GP calendars did not allow the drivers and riders to fulfil the mandatory quarantine rules on arrival in Australia.

The Australian GP had already been rescheduled from its original season-opening sport on March 21 tor November 21.

The 2020 Australian GP at the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne last March was called off at the last minute at the start of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

“It’s very disappointing that these much-loved events can’t proceed but this is the reality of the pandemic, but until we get much higher vaccination rates we cannot return to more normal settings,” Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula said after announcing the cancellation.

Victoria’s Sports Minister Martin Pakula said it was possible that situation might have improved by October but the government was not able to make a commitment on that now.

Australian GP was the 21st race on the 23-event calendar. Despite the cancellation of the event, the F1 organisers are optimistic that they will be able to complete all the 23 races.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that it would be hard for Melbourne to host the event given that vaccination rates are not at the “critical mass” needed.

“Running big international events is very challenging, but until that point [of vaccinations] we have to do everything we can to safeguard not bringing the virus in,” said Andrews.

The cancellation was confirmed by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) on Tuesday afternoon.

AGPC chairman Paul Little shared his disappointment that the events will be cancelled for the second year in a row.

“We’re deeply disappointed. We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations,” Little said.

The cancellation is a huge blow to Melbourne’s economy and Victoria’s tourism and sport events industry, but organisers and authorities are now looking towards 2022.