(UPDATE: Formula One postponed the 2021 Chinese Grand Prix in February)
The Chinese Grand Prix becomes the second 2021 Formula 1 race imperiled by the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after reports that the season-opening Australian Grand Prix might also face postponement. The possiblity was first reported at Motosport.com.
“We have been in contact [with F1] via conference call almost every week,” Yibin Yang, race promoter at Juss Event told media that included a reporter from Motorsport.com. “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 Chinese Grand Pix is currently scheduled for April 10 as the third race on the calendar after the season opener in Australia on March 21 and the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 27. China was set to be part of a pair of races in Asia before the Vietnam Grand Prix, originally scheduled on April 25, was canceled.
The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix was one of 12 races canceled due to the pandemic, which means that track has not hosted a race since 2019 when Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished first and second for Mercedes.
By reorganizing the calendar and hosting multiple races at several venues in Europe and Asia, Formula 1 managed to get 17 including two races in Bahrain.
Motorsport.com is reporting that Portimao and Imola, which stepped in as Round 12 and 13 of 2020 respectively, are the most likely venues to absorb the two lost dates.
But multiple factors could make rescheduling the 2021 Chinese GP difficult. According to the promoter, moving all international events to the second half of the year would stress the capacity of host city Shanghai. The 23-race Formula 1 calendar is also full, although there is a one-week gap between the Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 10 and the United States Grand Prix on Oct. 24.