record 23 races but no Vietnam · RaceFans

by Nov 10, 20200 comments


Formula 1 has revealed a draft calendar featuring a record-breaking 23 races for next year’s championship, but the venue for one of the events has not been confirmed.

The Vietnam Grand Prix, which was supposed to take place for the first time in April this year but was cancelled due to the pandemic, is not among the events which have been confirmed on the 2021 F1 calendar. A vacant slot in April exists, but other venues are thought to be under consideration for this round.

These may include a number of tracks which were added to this year’s calendar when it was reorganised due to the pandemic, such as Istanbul Park, which will hold this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix. Other options include races at Imola in Italy or Algarve in Portugal. The German Grand Prix, which has again lost its place on the schedule, could be reinstated at either of the country’s two F1-grade tracks. Malaysia’s Sepang circuit, which F1 last raced at in 2017, is also considered a possibility,

The loss of the race in Vietnam is a blow to series promoters Liberty Media. The street circuit in Hanoi would have been the first all-new venue they had introduced to the schedule since purchasing the sport three years ago. That honour will now fall to Saudi Arabia, whose night race in Jeddah was announced last week.

F1’s postponed return to Zandvoort in the Netherlands will now take place in September rather than the race’s original planned date of May 2020. The race’s sporting director, former Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers, said: “This new date just after the summer has the advantage that the peak of the summer holidays is over, that there is a good chance the weather will be good, and the corona measures will be more limited. This is a great date for Zandvoort and the entire region.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Zandvoort, demonstration run, 2020
F1 will make a belated return to Zandvoort in 2021

With 23 races, the new schedule will be the longest in the history of the world championship. Plans to hold 22 rounds this year were thwarted by the pandemic, which forced a truncated calendar featuring just 17 grands prix.

Spain and Brazil are listed on the new schedule, despite their current race deals expiring at the end of 2020. The races are listed as being “subject to contract”. Circuit de Catalunya will continue to hold the Spanish Grand Prix, as it has done since 1991, while Brazil’s round will remain at Interlagos, as plans to move the race to Rio de Janeiro have been thwarted by objections on environmental grounds.

The record-breaking calendar includes two pairs of triple-headers. Belgium, Netherlands and Italy’s rounds will be held over three weekends after the summer break, then after a two-week gap Russia, Singapore and Japan’s races will run consecutively.

No race in Miami features on the calendar, despite the sport announcing last year it had reached an “agreement in principle” for a grand prix to be held in an area surrounding the Hard Rock Stadium. Local objection to the race has been strong: A group of residents launched a court case over the planned event last month.

Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey said the sport is “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,” he added. “In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward.”

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