The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) in conjunction with the Victorian Government, Formula 1 and Dorna Sports today announced the 2021 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix (AGP) and 2021 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (AMGP) are cancelled due to restrictions and logistical challenges relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The AGP was due to be held at the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit from 18-21 November, while the 2021 AMGP was scheduled to be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit from 22-24 October.
Tickets for both events had not gone on sale.
AGPC will continue to work with Formula 1, Dorna Sports and the Victorian government regarding the 2022 calendar timings for both events.
AGPC Chairman, Paul Little, said the corporation is “deeply disappointed” that the events have been cancelled for the second consecutive year. “We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations.”
“I would like to reassure our motivated and professional staff, suppliers, and partners, as well as the Victorian tourism and major events community that we will work tirelessly to deliver these iconic events in 2022,” said Little.
AGPC CEO, Andrew Westacott, said the cancellations were disappointing but the corporation is now focussed on the future.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the Victorian government, Formula 1 and Dorna Sports for their unwavering resilience and support during this challenging period, and for their ongoing commitment to these two great events.
“There are bound to be ongoing challenges with COVID-19, but I want to reassure fans that while there is sadness and disappointment amongst our wonderful AGPC staff there is a tenacity and determination to make sure the next episodes of MotoGP at the island and Formula 1 at the new Albert Park layout are sensational showcases of how we do things in Victoria,” said Westacott.
Formula 1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali, said the organisation is confident it can deliver a 23-race season in 2021.
“We have a number of options to take forward to replace the [round] left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix. We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded,” said Domenicali.
Dorna Sports CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, said the organisation is looking forward to returning to Phillip Island in 2022.
“Unfortunately, we will have to wait another year to return to Victoria, but we very much look forward to seeing the Australian fans in 2022 and staging another fantastic event together – this time with two home heroes, Jack Miller and Remy Gardner, on the premier class grid when we return,” said Ezpeleta.
Australian Formula 1 great and AGPC board member, Mark Webber, was also disappointed by the cancellation.
“I’m shattered that we can’t hold a Formula 1 event in Australia for another year. It’s a real shame as we’re world class at pulling these types of events off as an organisation,” said Webber.
Australian five-time 500cc MotoGP champion and AGPC board member, Mick Doohan, was similarly dejected.
“I’m totally devastated that we’re not hosting the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix again this year at Phillip Island, especially with the form we’ve got with Jack Miller in MotoGP and Remy Gardner in Moto2, who could have been in a position to win the championship overall at Phillip Island,” said Doohan.
Australian Formula 1 McLaren driver, Daniel Ricciardo, is optimistic about the AGP’s return.
“It’s a huge disappointment for all of the drivers that we won’t be coming down to Australia in November, but we understand the reasons. For me personally, I can’t wait to have the chance to race at home again, and it’ll be even sweeter when we do because it’s been so long. Fingers crossed things can change for 2022 and we get to see the awesome fans at Albert Park again and put on a good show for them,” said Ricciardo.
Australian MotoGP Ducati Lenovo Team rider, Jack Miller, said the riders are understanding of the need to cancel the AMGP.
“All us riders are really disappointed that we won’t be able to race at Phillip Island again this year – it’s a really tough thing for everyone, but we understand the situation and it’s the correct decision.”
“Everyone in the paddock loves to come to Australia and I always feel proud of my home country when we get to host MotoGP, because everyone loves that track and that event so much. So, fingers crossed things can change for 2022 and we can ride at one of the best tracks in the world and in front of the awesome fans there,” said Miller.