Formula 1 has revealed the calendar for the 2021 season, with 23 Grands Prix on the provisional schedule for next year. The season will start in Australia in mid-March, finish in Abu Dhabi in early December, and feature the first-ever World Championship race in Saudi Arabia.
22 races have been named for next year and a 23rd slot has also been kept open in April should a replacement be found for Vietnam, which has been dropped from the planned schedule.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen the 2020 season reduced to 17 rounds and largely based in Europe but F1 are confident a more ‘normal’ campaign will be able to take place next year, with fans in attendance.
An F1 statement read: “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.”
F1 has never previously staged more than 21 races in a single season.
Australia, the sport’s traditional season opener, will open the new campaign on March 21 after being called off this year due to the pandemic.
The Melbourne event will be followed a week later by Bahrain, which returns to its usual early slot in the calendar after being moved to later this month as part of 2020’s revamped roster, and then a two-week gap to China.
Vietnam was due to stage its inaugural grand prix this year on the streets of Hanoi but the future of the event is now uncertain. The race was one of 12 to be pulled this year due to the pandemic but has been dropped from 2021 for political reasons in the country.
What would have been its position on the calendar as the fourth round has been left blank. It is understood that some of the venues which have stepped into the void this year – such as Imola, Istanbul Park, and Portimao – are in the running to take over the slot on April 25.
The British GP at Silverstone is scheduled for July 18 and avoids clashes with both Wimbledon and Euro 2021.
After an extra year’s wait, the much-anticipated return of the Dutch GP at Zandvoort will now take place at the end of the summer in early September, a week after Spa-Francorchamps in neighbouring Belgium.
Belgium and the Netherlands join with Italy to form the first of two consecutive triple headers. Russia, Singapore and Japan are also placed together on consecutive weekends.
With the American events back on the planned schedule, Brazil’s popular Interlagos has earned a reprieve to continue in 2021, subject to contract. A planned new venue being built in Rio de Janeiro has not yet received government permission to proceed.
Also, as announced last week, a new night race in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah will make its debut on November 28.
The night-time event will form a season-ending double header with Abu Dhabi, which will close the year on December 5.
Chase Carey, F1’s outgoing chairman, said: “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.
“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.”
Provisional 2021 F1 calendar
- 21 March – Australia (Melbourne)
- 28 March – Bahrain (Sakhir)
- 11 April – China (Shanghai)
- 25 April – TBC (TBC)
- 9 May – Spain (Barcelona)*
- 23 May – Monaco (Monaco)
- 6 June – Azerbaijan (Baku)
- 13 June – Canada (Montreal)
- 27 June – France (Le Castellet)
- 4 July – Austria (Spielberg)
- 18 July – United Kingdom (Silverstone)
- 1 August – Hungary (Budapest)
- 29 August – Belgium (Spa)
- 5 September – Netherlands (Zandvoort)
- 12 September – Italy (Monza)
- 26 September – Russia (Sochi)
- 3 October – Singapore (Singapore)
- 10 October – Japan (Suzuka)
- 24 October – USA (Austin)
- 31 October – Mexico (Mexico City)
- 14 November – Brazil (Sao Paulo)*
- 28 November – Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)
- 5 December – Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi)
*Subject to contract