- Formula One has released the provisional race calendar for the 2021 season.
- The calendar features a record 23 races pending contracts being signed for two events and details of a third finalised.
- The season should begin at Albert Park in March and finish under the lights of Abu Dhabi in December.
Formula One has announced a provisional 23-race calendar for the 2021 season, pending contracts being finalised for events in Barcelona and Sao Paulo. Another race weekend is pencilled in for the weekend of the 23rd-25th of April, and will hopefully complete the record-breaking calendar.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 season has of course been impacted rather heavily. Next year it is expected that the calendar will have a more familiar feel about it. The season will begin on the 21st of March for its 'tradtional' Melbourne start at Albert Park, and will finish under the lights of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina on the 5th of December.
There had been question marks over whether Barcelona would be on the calendar for next season, as well as the Brazilian Grand Prix being held at Sao Paulo, amidst rumours that the sport could visit a new circuit in Rio de Janeiro upon the Interlagos contract expiring. Fortunately it seems that both are likely to be retained going into next year.
The other event that stands out on the calendar is of course the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah, which was announced last week. The race is expected to be held on the Corniche, which is a coastal resort by the Red Sea, and should run along the seafront. The event will precede the season finale in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.
The Dutch Grand Prix will finally make its first appearance on the calendar since the 1980s at Zandvoort in September, forming part of a triple header between classics, Spa and Monza. Missing out on a slot on the calendar will be the Vietnamese Grand Prix, which was due to be held in capital city, Hanoi earlier this year. This of course means that F1's inaugural visit to the country may fail to come to fruition.
The rest of the provisional calendar is otherwise largely the same as the original one for this season. The biggest question that remains to be answered is of course about the identity of the 'TBC' event scheduled for the end of April. Seeing as it falls before Barcelona, it would be logical for the additional race to be held in Europe.
Given the success of events this year held at Portimao, Imola, Mugello and Nurburgring, could we hope for a return to one of them to mark the beginning of the 'European' season next year? To add a little fuel to the fire, the end of April is historically when the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola was held. Furthermore, President of the Emilia-Romagna region, Stefano Bonaccini has been quoted as saying he would like to see a "stable inclusion" of Imola on F1's calendar in years to come.
Let us know where you think we might end up, as we look ahead to the 2021 season.