As tickets for the newly-announced Styrian Grand Prix go on sale, fans begin to return to the race tracks and there’s growing optimism for some races later in the season. Here’s a round up of the latest F1 calendar news.
Turkish Grand Prix indefinitely postponed
In April, Formula 1 announced that the Turkish Grand Prix would replace the Canadian Grand Prix on the 2021 calendar. However, the situation in Turkey has since changed, with the country added to a ‘red list’ of travel destinations in countries which F1’s teams are based. The result is that the Istanbul Park race has been indefinitely postponed. There may yet be hope for Turkey to rejoin the calendar later in the season, especially given the uncertainty surrounding races in the Americas.
Austria to host double header – tickets now on sale
To keep the calendar at 23 rounds – as is one of F1’s key aims in 2021 – an extra race at the Red Bull Ring has been added on 27 June. It has already been confirmed that both races will take place with fans in the grandstands. Tickets for the new Styrian Grand Prix are now on sale.
There are some travel complications regarding Austria at the moment, with the country having banned direct flights from the United Kingdom as of the start of June. This should not be too much of a concern, given that the majority of teams will be travelling to the Red Bull Ring direct from the French Grand Prix.
French Grand Prix date change
As a result of the calendar changes listed above, the French Grand Prix will now take place on June 20, one week earlier than previously planned. All tickets for the original date remain valid.
An unfortunate consequence of the calendar reshuffle is that Romain Grosjean will no longer perform demonstration laps with Mercedes over the French Grand Prix weekend. While Grosjean will still complete a private test with the team, the demo run has been aborted due to the Frenchman taking part in the IndyCar race at Road America on the rescheduled race weekend.
No fans in Portugal, 1,000 in Spain, 7,500 in Monaco
May’s three Formula 1 races went ahead with varying crowd numbers. The Portuguese Grand Prix took place behind closed doors, as had been expected for the Spanish Grand Prix, too. However, a last minute decision saw 1,000 circuit members attend on race day, watching from the main grandstand.
In Monaco, 7,500 fans were permitted into the grandstands on each day of the race weekend (excluding Friday, when the number was limited to 3,000). The grandstands ran at around 40% of their usual capacitcapacity, while most hospitality suites were closed.
W Series, Porsche Supercup & F3 confirm calendar changes
Three of Formula 1’s support series have changed their calendars in response to the latest change to the F1 schedule. While Formula 3 remains on the support bill at the French Grand Prix, the second season of W Series – which was due to start at Circuit Paul Ricard – will now hold its season-opener at the Styrian Grand Prix. The Porsche Supercup’s second race of the season – following the season-opener in Monaco – will also now take place at the Styrian Grand Prix. Read more about F1’s support series for 2021 here.
Sprint Qualifying timings announced
Formula 1 has revealed the session times for the 2021 British Grand Prix. The Silverstone race will be the first to feature Sprint Qualifying. On Friday, Free Practice 1 will start at the much later time of 2:30pm. It will be followed by the traditional qualifying hour – which we usually see on Saturday afternoon – at 6pm on Friday evening. The later time for this session is geared towards TV audiences in Europe.
With the grid set for the Sprint Race, Free Practice 2 will begin at midday on Saturday and will be followed by the first ever Sprint Qualifying race, starting at 4:30pm. The race will last half an hour. The British Grand Prix will start at 3pm on Sunday. There’s likely to be changes from usual times for the packed support bill over the weekend, which includes Formula 2, W Series and Porsche Supercup.
Silverstone adds Chapel grandstand for British Grand Prix
Silverstone have announced the addition of a new grandstand viewing area for the 2021 British Grand Prix. The new grandstand is situated at Chapel corner and will overlook the Maggotts and Becketts section of the track.
Tickets for the 2021 British Grand Prix – which is expected to go ahead with full attendance – are selling fast. Due to demand, Silverstone has added a brand new grandstand. The new numbered seating area will be located at the famous Chapel corner.
The Chapel grandstand offers views down from Copse corner and of the legendary Maggotts and Becketts complex. While the cars pass by at high speed in front of you at Chapel, you’ll also be able to see racing in the background through The Loop and down the Wellington Straight.
COTA reveal headline concerts
Grand Prix organisers at the Circuit of The Americas have revealed two headline acts who will perform over the 2021 United States Grand Prix weekend. Twenty One Pilots will headline on Friday evening, while Billy Joel will take to the stage on Saturday. Tickets for the United States Grand Prix are still available.
This month’s other F1 calendar news in brief:
- The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has extended its contract to stay on the Formula 1 calendar until at least 2024. The previous contract was extended through to 2023 in 2019. This year’s Baku race will go ahead without fans in attendance.
- Roger Penske, who became owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2019, has said that he has had “more than a couple” of conversations with Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali on the prospect of F1 returning to Indianapolis.
- A leading epidemiologist has suggested that plans for the Australian Grand Prix to go ahead in November may be helped by teams being allowed to serve part of their quarantine period in the United Kingdom, and forming a travel bubble. Organisers also say a double header of Melbourne races is unlikely.
- Belgian Grand Prix organisers are optimistic at the prospect of hosting the event with full capacity crowds later this year.
- Octane Racing Group – the company which promotes the Canadian Grand Prix – has been acquired by Bell Media. Fans who purchased tickets for the 2020 Canadian Grand Prix who opted to carry their tickets forward to this year now have the option to carry their tickets forward to the 2022 event.
- Lewis Hamilton’s 2010 Turkish Grand Prix winning McLaren car will be auctioned off at the 2021 British Grand Prix. The car will be taken out for demonstration laps ahead of the first ever Sprint Qualifying race while bidding takes place. It is expected to sell for upward of $5 million.
- Despite recent speculation about the event’s presence on the 2021 calendar, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum says that “all activities” will be able to take place from October onwards.
- The pit complex at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – the track which was supposed to host the Canadian Grand Prix this month – has become a vaccination centre. Cyclists and motorists are able to receive their first dose of the vaccine in a pit stop format!