Victoria’s Minister for Sport Martin Pakula and Australian Grand Prix CEO, Andrew Westacott today confirmed that the 2021 Australian Grand Prix and MotoGP have been cancelled.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 situation, the slower than forecasted rollout of the Commonwealth vaccination program and caps on international traveler intakes to 50%, were cited as reasons why the two events were cancelled.
“We’re simply not in a position to give F1 management or MotoGP the sorts of guarantees and assurances and comfort that they need this week,” Mr. Pakula said.
“I understand that for motorsport fans and for major events fans this is very disappointing news but some 1,600 visitors in November with the bespoke quarantine arrangements needed in an environment where national cabinet has decided to half international arrivals and not look at different quarantine arrangements probably until the beginning of 2022 really makes it extremely difficult for us to give those organisations the sort of guarantees that they require.
“F1 needed absolute assurances that if they kept us in the calendar that the race would go ahead no matter what and arrangements like close contact definitions and how competitors and teams would be quarantined.
“It is not beyond the realms of possibility that by the time we get to October or November circumstances may have well of changed, vaccination rates might have gone through the roof and those are things that could be done but they are not things we can commit to on the 6th of July.”
The MotoGP was set to take place at Phillip Island on October the 24th while the Australian Grand Prix was to occur on the 21st of November at Albert Park.
This marks the second year in a row where both events have been cancelled, leaving many Australian motorsport fans disappointed.
In March last year, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix was cancelled just hours before the first practice was set to start after McLaren withdrew from the race after a team member tested positive for Coronavirus.
The Australian Grand Prix has been held at Albert Park since 1996 and will remain at that venue until at least 2025.
The Australian MotoGP is contracted to remain at Phillip Island until 2026 where it has been held since 1997.
Mr. Pakula remains confident that the Australian Grand Prix will go ahead in 2022.
While nothing has been confirmed Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, Paul Little said they are currently targeting April for next year’s Australian Grand Prix.
Therefore, there is a likelihood that Australia could potentially lose the prestigious first race of the F1 calendar.
“It’s unlikely to be the first race next year but that probably suits us,” Mr. Pakula said.
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Current Australian Formula One driver for McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo shared his disappointment following today’s announcement.
“It’s a huge disappointment for all of the drivers that we won’t be coming down to Australia in November, but we understand the reasons,” said Ricciardo.
“For me personally, I can’t wait to have the chance to race at home again, and it’ll be even sweeter when we do because it’s been so long. Fingers crossed things can change for 2022 and we get to see the awesome fans at Albert Park again and put on a good show for them.”
Australian MotoGP rider for Ducati Lenovo Jack Miller also echoed his disappointment.
“All us riders are really disappointed that we won’t be able to race at Phillip Island again this year –it’s a really tough thing for everyone, but we understand the situation and it’s the correct decision,” said Miller
“Everyone in the paddock loves to come to Australia and I always feel proud of my home country when we get to host MotoGP because everyone loves that track and that event so much. So, fingers crossed things can change for 2022 and we can ride at one of the best tracks in the world and in front of the awesome fans there.”
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