Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll has reportedly affirmed suggestions that the Australian Grand Prix will be postponed until late 2021. Bahrain will likely play host the opening round of the Formula One season in March. The announcement comes as COVID-19 restrictions tighten in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Formula One organisers are yet to confirm the changes, but the media in and around the race has flagged the event in response to the increasing of restrictions. In a virtual meeting with Formula One’s new chief executive Stefano Domenicali on Monday, the teams agreed to change the location of the inaugural race. Going so far as to agree, in principle, to move the pre-season testing from Barcelona (Circuit de Catalunya) to Bahrain.
“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,” said Stroll, according to Reuters.
After last seasons race calendar conundrum, Formula One will look to smooth this years schedule. Bahrain will act as an early-season ‘bubble’, as it looks to play host to pre-season testing and the first race. The schedule is likely to appear similar to last season, with many venues such as Bahrain hosting multiple race meetings.
“I do believe we’re in for a difficult two or three months. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. I think the first few races will be slightly challenging,” he said via Reuters.
Though the mighty return of Riccardo might not happen until October or November, Stroll remains optimistic about the situation. “I think the worst is behind us and we’ve learnt through last year how to proceed with this year,” he said.
An official decision is likely to come this week, as AGP’s chief executive, Andrew Westacott, returns from leave.