Just weeks after the World Motor Sports Council ratified the 2021 F1 calendar, it has already undergone a radical reshuffle. The season will now begin in Bahrain in March and end in Abu Dhabi in December.
Update: Australian and Chinese Grands Prix 2021 postponed, Imola returns again amid shakeup.
Updated 08:30 12th January. The 2021 F1 calendar has already undergone a significant shakeup, just a matter of days into the new year, after it was announced that both the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix would move to dates later in the calendar. It was announced today (12th January) that the first and third races of the season, Melbourne’s Australian Grand Prix, and Shanghai's Chinese Grand Prix have been postponed from original dates on 21st March and 11th April, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The postponement would mean a gap in the F1 calendar of over a month, between the now opening round in Bahrain on 28th March and the yet-to-be-confirmed replacement for the cancelled Vietnam Grand Prix on 2nd May. With the announcement of the delays to two races, it was also confirmed that the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, at the historic Imola circuit, will return for a second year to plug the gap. Imola hosted an emergency race in 2020 to help fill the disrupted season, and was popular with fans, after challenging the drivers with its more old school layout, despite proving slightly tricky for racing. No announcement has been made yet about what race will take place on the empty May date, but speculation is mounting that Portimao in Portugal will also step back in as it did in 2020.
The postponements have led to a major shakeup in the calendar, with the Australian race moving from opening round to antipenultimate, setting a date for 21st November. Although the Chinese Grand Prix is listed as postponed, it currently has no place on the rescheduled 2021 calendar, with F1 bosses understood to be reluctant to increase an already race-packed schedule.
To fit the changes, the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has been pushed back by one week to 5th December, while the Brazilian Grand Prix has been brought forward by one week to 7th November, creating a triple-header in the Americas with the United States and Mexico. The season will now end in Abu Dhabi on 12th December.
2021 F1 Calendar
Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain International Circuit
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola.
Spanish Grand Prix (TBC)
Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona
Monaco Grand Prix
Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Baku City Circuit
Canadian Grand Prix
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montréal
French Grand Prix
Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet
Austrian Grand Prix
Red Bull Ring, Spielberg
British Grand Prix
Hungarian Grand Prix
Belgian Grand Prix
Dutch Grand Prix
Italian Grand Prix
Russian Grand Prix
Singapore Grand Prix
Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore
Japanese Grand Prix
United States Grand Prix
Circuit of the Americas, Austin
Mexican Grand Prix
Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City
Brazilian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix
Melbourne Park Circuit, Melbourne.
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
How many F1 races will there be in 2021?
There are 23 races in the 2021 F1 season. The first race will now be held in Bahrain on the 28th March 2021. The final race of the season will take place in Abu Dhabi on 12th December 2021. There were two raced in Bahrain in 2020's COVID-19 effected schedule, with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton winning the race on the 'normal' F1 layout before Sergio Perez took a sensational first ever F1 win on the shorter outer loop. The F1 championship has been decided three times in Abu Dhabi, the first in 2010 with the title going to Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull, the second to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in 2014, and the third, arguably the most exciting, to Nico Rosberg in 2016 for Mercedes.
Which tracks could join the 2021 F1 calendar?
Five circuits joined the 2020 F1 calendar to help bring up the numbers after a mass cancellation of events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was hoped by many fans that some may return and, although not on the original calendar, at least one already has, with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola taking place in April. Portimao's exciting track in the Algarve region of southern Portugal is expected to follow soon.
Eifel Grand Prix
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix NOW CONFIRMED
Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola
Portuguese Grand Prix
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimao
Turkish Grand Prix
Tuscan Grand Prix
Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, Tuscany
Will any new Grands Prix take place in 2021?
There are two new Grands Prix in 2021. The first is a race that should have been held in 2020, the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. The last F1 race in the Netherlands was in 1985, won by McLaren’s Niki Lauda. The second new F1 race in 2021 will be held in Saudi Arabia, a night race to be held around the city streets of Jeddah.
The Vietnamese Grand Prix, which was rumoured to be planned for April 2021, will not go ahead and has been removed from the calendar.
Talks have long been held between F1 owners Liberty Media and a group hoping to host a second US race, on a street circuit in Miami, but it appears this won’t happen in 2021.