F1 eyes Bahrain double-header if Portugal can’t happen

Formula 1 chiefs are weighing up the possibility of starting the 2021 season with a double-header in Bahrain if the coronavirus situation scuppers its plans for a race in Portugal.

F1 eyes Bahrain double-header if Portugal can’t happen

The current schedule is for the season to start in Bahrain on March 28, with a race at Imola scheduled to follow on April 18.

That would then be followed by a race on May 2 – which was at a venue ‘to be confirmed’ but was widely expected to take place at Portimao in Portugal.

However, hopes of that happening are fading with the country facing a fresh coronavirus outbreak amid growing concerns in Europe over the spread of variant strains of the disease.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is due to hold lengthy talks with various race promoters over the next few days to try to better gauge the situation before making a decision about how the season will start. While he is hopeful that the current dates can still work, and he is adamant Imola is not under threat, Domenicali has said that contingency plans are ready to be rolled out if necessary.

One of the options is for Bahrain to host two events back-to-back at the start of the season, with the Imola race then being moved back a week.

Speaking to selected media including Motorsport.com, Domenicali said about the calendar situation: “There is a TBC date there, and if it will be Portugal, it will be written as Portugal.

“The reason why it's not written Portugal, is because the situation is still not closed yet. As soon as we can, we will be able to announce something – and that will be in the next days, not in the next two months.

“I've got personal meetings during this weekend to understand what is the state of the situation, and one of the possible plan Bs, for sure, could be a double race in Bahrain. But this is one plan and nothing is confirmed. We're focusing to try to keep the calendar as it is.”

Read Also:

Despite ongoing uncertainty over the development of coronavirus around the world, Domenicali remains hopeful that F1 can still pull off a full 23-race calendar.

“Everyone was thinking that this year would have been easier if you imagine the situation, and it is not,” he said. “We are totally confident that we can achieve the number of races that are on the calendar.

“It's a challenge, but we are confident that, with the relations we have, this can really happen. But as you can imagine we are fluid and flexible to be ready with other possibilities.

“We have already a different plan – B, C, D, A in place in case – and the things that are fixed today can be different tomorrow. That's why we are in contact with all the organizers every day.”

shares
comments

Related video

Mazepin set to race under neutral flag after CAS ruling

Previous article

Mazepin set to race under neutral flag after CAS ruling

Next article

F1 planning Bahrain summit to discuss driver behaviour

F1 planning Bahrain summit to discuss driver behaviour
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021