As has been discussed in and by Australian media, and in F1 media worldwide, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2021 has been pushed back to November of 2021. This brings forward the Bahrain F1 and for this year will be the season opener on March 28.
For Australians, the reshuffle adds the Melbourne F1 event to a space packed with international level motorsport. MotoGP’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island, the final round of the popular Australian Rally Championship, and the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships’ season finale at The Bend Motorsport Park (near Adelaide in South Australia) on 15-17 October, are the new preludes to the F1 over 18 to 21 November.
With works to the Albert Park street based circuit, just a couple of kilometres south of the Melbourne CBD, scheduled to begin in the coming weeks an early decision had to be made in the best interests of all parties.
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was thrilled to keep Australia in the mostly unchanged schedule was confident the season would run every round. “The global pandemic has not yet allowed life to return to normal, but we showed in 2020 that we can race safely as the first international sport to return and we have the experience and plans in place to deliver on our season. It is great news that we have already been able to agree a rescheduled date for the Australian Grand Prix in November and we are very excited that Imola will return for the 2021 season.” Domenicali explained.
His statement confirms rumours that Imola will indeed replace the scheduled China F1 in mid-April, and an as yet unnamed location for the third round.
Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca welcomed the new Australian Grand Prix date. “While Melbourne could not open the season in March, having a new date confirmed is a terrific outcome for all parties involved. The decision to keep Australia on the calendar underlines how important our race is to the Formula 1 Championship. While fans are used to seeing the cars on track on the streets of Albert Park in March of each year, we now have the honour of hosting an event at the business end of the season where the Championship fight could well and truly be decided.
“Congratulations to the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and the Victorian Government for working so hard to ensure that Formula 1 comes to Australia in 2021. November is also a vibrant and busy time in Melbourne and this event will certainly add to a busy motorsport and events calendar here in Victoria and across Australia. There is so much to look forward to later this year and to have two world-class Grands Prix running within a month of each other is a very exciting prospect for Australian motorsport fans.” he said.
The new date for the Australian Grand Prix, which is still subject to World Motor Sport Council approval, confirms Australia as the third last race of the 23-round season – the largest Formula 1 calendar in its 70 plus year history. It is currently scheduled to be run ahead of an as yet unconfirmed round in Saudi Arabia and the traditional finale at Yas Marina, both in December.
The team formerly known as Renault is now Alpine, and in an unexpected move, Cyril Abiteboul, perhaps most recently famous for his tattoo bet with Daniel Ricciardo, has abruptly left the team. After discussions at corporate level, it was been decided that Abiteboul would leave, with Director of Strategy and Business Development for the Renault group Laurent Rossi taking over as Alpine CEO, a role which involves taking charge of their F1 activities.
It appears that the goals the team set in 2016, as in a podium inside three years, and a title contender by 2020, which weren’t met, may have been the instigation for his departure as they weren’t met under his tutelage.
Rossi takes over as the Alpine CEO, a role handed to Abiteboul when the rebrand was announced. The 45-year-old joined the Renault group in 2000, spending nine years with the company before leaving and working with the Boston Consulting Group and Google, before returning to Renault in 2018.
Renault’s CEO, Luca de Meo, was put into that position in 2020 and flagged that changes would be happening, including the rebrand of the F1 team and how Renault would approach F1. It would seem that Abiteboul was part of those planned changes.
In better news, Romain Grosjean has shared the latest update on his burned hands. It seems that his surgeons are satisfied with progress, as Grosjean says there is no further need for his burns to be bound and dressed. Congratulations @RGrosjean!