With the 2020 racing season approximately a month away from concluding, the 2021 Formula One World Championship provisional schedule has been released with a number of Grand Prix events set to return in an expanded calendar following a one-year absence.
A total of 23 Grand Prix events in 23 nations are currently on the schedule for next season, with the season set to commence in late March and conclude in early December.
Following a one-year absence, the F1 competition is set to return to Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Australia, for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 21.
Along with Australia, the Grand Prix events in China, Monaco, Azerbaijan, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Singapore, Japan, the United States of America, Mexico and Brazil are set to return in 2021.
The Grand Prix events in Austria, Hungary, United Kingdom’s Silverstone, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Bahrain/Sakhir and Abu Dhabi are also set to remain on the 2021 calendar following the 2020 season.
The Vietnamese Grand Prix, which was originally scheduled to make its debut in 2020 but was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been dropped from the 2021 racing calendar and will not occur following the arrest of a key official responsible for the race due to corruption charges. Though the charges were not related to racing, the country will shift its focus on other government issues.
The following Grand Prix events that have occurred and were introduced to the 2020 schedule (Styrian, 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Tuscan, Eifel, Portuguese, Emilia Romagna, Turkish and Sakhir) will not occur next season since they were featured to fill in as many Grand Prix events in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Grand Prix is currently scheduled to occur on April 25 at a circuit that is yet to be announced.
The 2021 F1 season will conclude at Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 5.
The release of the 2021 F1 calendar comes amid the sport’s bizarre 2020 season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that delayed the start of the season from March to July and resulted with the schedule being revised to a total of 17 Grand Prix events, with the season set to conclude in mid-December at Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The 2020 season also marked the 70th anniversary of the first Formula One World Championship season, which occurred in 1950.
An F1 statement was made following the release of the 2021 schedule:
“The plans for 2021 have involved extensive dialogue with all promoters and their local and national authorities at a time of ongoing fluidity related to the global pandemic. Formula 1 and the FIA put in place robust health and safety measures to allow the revised 2020 season to restart and run effectively.”
“Our hosts for 2021 are reassured by our safe return to racing this season and confident that the plans and procedures we have in place will allow us to return to a level of normality for the 2021 season.”
“As we have said before, we expect fans to return for the 2021 season and for the calendar to look similar to the originally planned 2020 season. We will continue to work closely with our promoters and partners and look forward to the start of the season on the 18th March 2021 in Australia.”
Chase Carey, Chairman/CEO of Formula One, also released a statement regarding the 2021 schedule:
“We are pleased to announce the 2021 Formula 1 provisional calendar after extensive conversations with our promoters, the teams and the FIA. We are planning for 2021 events with fans that provide an experience close to normal and expect our agreements to be honoured.”
“We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognise the need to move forward and manage the virus. In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward.”
New to the 2021 Formula One schedule is the inaugural Grand Prix event at Jeddah Street Circuit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that is scheduled to occur on November 28. The event, which announced its entrance to the F1 calendar on November 5, will serve as the penultimate event of the season.
“We are delighted to see Saudi Arabia become part of the schedule and are equally excited to return to the venues we hoped to race at in 2020,” Carey added. “We want to thank all our promoters and partners for their ongoing enthusiasm and collaboration and look forward to giving our fans an exciting season on the track.”
The full 2021 Formula One schedule is as follows:
1. March 21: Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne)
2. March 28: Bahrain Grand Prix (Sakhir)
3. April 11: Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai)
4. April 25: TBD (TBD)
5. May 9: Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona)
6. May 23: Monaco Grand Prix (Monaco)
7. June 6: Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Baku)
8. June 13: Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal)
9. June 27: French Grand Prix (Le Castellet)
10. July 4: Austrian Grand Prix (Spielberg)
11. July 18: British Grand Prix (Silverstone)
12. August 1: Hungarian Grand Prix (Budapest)
13. August 29: Belgian Grand Prix (Spa)
14. September 5: Dutch Grand Prix (Zandvoort)
15. September 12: Italian Grand Prix (Monza)
16. September 26: Russian Grand Prix (Sochi)
17. October 3: Singapore Grand Prix (Singapore)
18. October 10: Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)
19. October 24: United States Grand Prix (Austin)
20. October 31: Mexico City Grand Prix (Mexico City)
21. November 14: Brazilian Grand Prix (Sao Paulo)
22. November 28: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (Jeddah)
23. December 5: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Abu Dhabi)
In addition to the provisional Formula 1 schedule, the provisional schedules for Formula 2 and 3 have also been revealed, with each series to hold three races per weekend. The F2 provisional schedule will feature eight rounds in eight nations while the F3 provisional schedule will feature seven rounds in seven nations. Both series will not race during a Grand Prix weekend as part of new cost-cutting measures with the decrease of the costs of engine lease, some spare parts, logistics and freight. In addition, the F2 cars used in 2021 and the 2019 F3 car’s specs will remain unchanged for the 2021 season.
The F2 series will race at Sakhir, Bahrain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Baku, Azerbaijan; Silverstone, United Kingdom; Monza Italy; Sochi, Russia; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi next season. The F3 series will race at Barcelona, Spain; Le Castellet, France; Spielberg, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium; Zandvoort, Netherlands; and Austin, the United States of America in 2021.
All provisional schedules for each series are awaiting subject for approval by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.