Chinese GP promoter seeking 2021 F1 race postponement

The Chinese Grand Prix is set to become the second Formula 1 race to be postponed in 2021 as the promoter seeks a date change until later in the year.

Chinese GP promoter seeking 2021 F1 race postponement

Last year’s race in Shanghai was the first to be scrapped following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a further 12 races eventually being cancelled through the 2020 season.

F1 unveiled a more usual calendar for 2021 in November, listing 23 races, but is already set to postpone the planned season-opener in Australia due to the ongoing pandemic and global restrictions in place. Doubts had begun to emerge over the viability of the planned race in China on 11 April, but the promoter of the race has now confirmed it is seeking a postponement until later in the year.

Read Also:

“We have been in contact [with F1] via conference call almost every week,” Yibin Yang, the general manager of race promoter Juss Event, told local media including Motorsport.com on Saturday. “Despite the calendar being in place as usual, I think it’s hugely uncertain the F1 race would take place in the first half of the year, in April.

“We aim to swap it to the second half of the year, and we have formally submitted the request that we hope to move it to the second half of the year.”

The postponement of the race would open up a second free slot in April, along with the 25 April date originally intended for the now-abandoned Vietnam race. It is understood that both Imola and Portimao – host circuits on the revised 2020 schedule – are set to fill these gaps, having both been in contention to replace Vietnam and begin the European season.

It is understood that Portimao and Imola - host circuits on the revised 2020 schedule - are set to fill these gaps, having both been in contention to replace Vietnam and begin the European season.

Motorsport.com understands the current plan is for Portimao to host the Portuguese Grand Prix on 11 April, replacing China, while Imola will stage a race on 25 April in place of Vietnam.

A rescheduling of the Chinese Grand Prix would only add to the challenge F1 faces in the second half of the year, with Australia also set to seek a revised date slot.

There are currently just four free weekends between the end of the summer break and the Abu Dhabi season finale on 5 December, meaning to fit both Australia and China back in would require a number of changes. 

“Formula 1 has set out a 23 race calendar for 2021 and we fully expect to deliver that plan,” said an F1 spokesman when contacted by Motorsport.com for comment.

“We proved in 2020 that we could return to racing safely and have the plans and procedures in place to do so again and look forward to starting our season in March.”

Read Also:

China has not hosted any international sporting events since the outbreak of COVID-19, and has already cancelled both the planned Sanya Formula E race and some test events for the 2022 Winter Olympics that were scheduled for early this year.

Yang said that Juss Events – which also manages Renault F1 youngster Guanyu Zhou, and has involvement in other sports such as tennis and snooker – would have a challenge fitting all of its rescheduled events into the second half of the year.

“To move it to the second half of the year, it depends on the plan of the city government,” Yang said. “If we put all international events to the second half of the year, it will be over the capacity for the city. To host any event successively requires the mass public recourses, such as police and health departments.

“If we have to host all major events in the second half of the year, it will face a lack of public recourses, as well as the conflicts in terms of marketing between each other.”

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, the nation has kept cases comparatively low to many other nations, reporting a total of 87,364 cases and 4,634 deaths.

But it remains vigilant in implementing restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, with two recent lockdowns taking place in cities near Beijing following spikes in case numbers. China is also currently enforcing a 14-day quarantine for all international arrivals.

Expected revised 2021 F1 calendar

28 March 

Bahrain GP

11 April 

Portuguese GP

25 April 

Emilia Romagna GP

9 May 

Spanish GP

23 May 

Monaco GP

6 June 

Azerbaijan GP

13 June 

Canadian GP

27 June 

French GP

4 July 

Austrian GP

18 July 

British GP

1 August 

Hungarian GP

29 August 

Belgian GP

5 September 

Dutch GP

12 September 

Italian GP

26 September 

Russian GP 

3 October 

Singapore GP

10 October 

Japanese GP

24 October 

United States GP

31 October 

Mexico City GP

14 November 

Sao Paulo GP

28 November 

Saudi Arabia GP 

5 December 

Abu Dhabi GP

TBC – Australian GP
TBC – Chinese GP

shares
comments

Related video

How Mick Schumacher earned his Haas F1 chance

Previous article

How Mick Schumacher earned his Haas F1 chance

Next article

Wolff: Hamilton doesn't think world revolves around him

Wolff: Hamilton doesn't think world revolves around him
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Chinese GP
Author Luke Smith
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals Prime

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals

The tragic events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix changed Formula 1 forever. Here, 17 of the drivers who took part explain how they coped with the devastating deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021