Although the Formula 2 2021 calendar was only announced in November, there have been two alterations made to it already. The final two rounds will take place one week later than originally scheduled. That pushes the debut Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend to the 3rd-5th December. The season finale at Abu Dhabi will then be over the 10th-12th December weekend.
The changes come after Formula 1 has changed its schedule to include a postponed Australia later in its season. The Melbourne race was set to be the curtain-raiser. However, thanks to the nation’s strict COVID-19 measures, Formula One could not commit to the two-week quarantine period with the proximity to pre-season testing.
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The Australian Grand Prix has a slot pencilled in for November 21st. Should the pandemic not affect that, it would mean Melbourne will host two races within four months. Quite a turnaround after not holding an F1 event for what will be 32 months by the time November 2021 rolls around.
For Formula 2, the already long gap after Sochi, that we also saw in 2020, becomes even longer. From the season start to the season finish, there will be four entire months without a race; April, August, October, and November. With China looking to delay its F1 race, too, we wonder if more disruption is to follow.
The confirmation of the Australian Grand Prix delay coincides with the announcement that F1’s pre-season testing will take place at Bahrain, too. The Sakhir circuit previously held Formula One’s testing back in 2014. 2021’s test will be much shorter, though, at just three days across the 12th-14th March. The track will be well rubbered in by then as Formula 2 will hold its pre-season test from the 9th to the 11th of March, too.
Without Melbourne holding its traditional opening round of F1, Formula 2 will enjoy its return to racing with its big brother for a second successive season. The Austrian Grand Prix was round one for both F1 and F2 in 2020. Bahrain has that honour for 2021.
Elsewhere, though not a calendar change that will affect Formula 2, Imola is set to return for 2021, too, on April 18th. Yay?