Formula 1 set for 23-race calendar in 2021

Formula 1 is set to stage a 23-race calendar in 2021, featuring two triple-headers and adding Saudi Arabia as the Dutch Grand Prix moves to an autumn date.

Formula 1 set for 23-race calendar in 2021

After the 2020 schedule was heavily revised as 13 races were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, F1 has been clear in its plan to run a calendar next season that is closer to normal.

Teams were handed a first draft of the schedule in an F1 Commission meeting on Monday, featuring all 10 competitors as well as officials from F1 and the FIA.

Motorsport.com has learned the provisional calendar for 2021 features 23 races, adding a grand prix in Saudi Arabia to the existing 22 rounds that were planned for this year.

The 2021 F1 season is scheduled to start in Australia on 21 March, followed by the Bahrain Grand Prix one week later.

A two-week gap will follow before the Chinese Grand Prix on 11 April, with the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix set to be held two weeks after that.

One of the biggest changes from the planned schedule in 2020 is a shift of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort to an autumn date slot.

The race had been due to open the European season at the start of May this year, but will now form part of a European triple-header with the Belgian Grand Prix and the Italian Grand Prix after the summer break.

It means the Spanish Grand Prix returns to its traditional status as the first European race of the year, taking place on 9 May before Monaco on 23 May.

Azerbaijan will maintain its planned switch to a June slot from 2020, pairing up with the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, before the regular run of European events in France, Austria, Great Britain and Hungary, the latter hosting the final race before the summer break on 1 August.

The dates for the second half of the calendar remain fluid, but there is set to be a second triple-header formed by the races in Singapore, Russia and Japan.

Although the eventual 2020 calendar featured four triple-headers, including a run of nine races in 11 weeks to start the season, teams had warned running races on three straight weekends could not become the norm in the future.

F1 first attempted a triple-header in 2018, running races in France, Austria and Great Britain on consecutive weekends, but had agreement from teams not to do so again due to the pressures it placed on personnel.

By forming a triple-header with Singapore, Sochi and Suzuka, F1 has created an extra one-week gap in the calendar for the event in Saudi Arabia to join the schedule, with a street race in Jeddah planned for late in the season.

It will see F1 become the latest major international series to stage an event in Saudi Arabia following similar moves in Formula E - which has hosted its last two season openers in Diriyah - as well as sports such as boxing and football.

The race is set to mark a first move into Saudi Arabia for F1 amid plans to construct a new circuit in Qiddiya on the outskirts of Riyadh in the future.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is set to move to Rio de Janeiro for 2021, although the race is currently subject to pressure from environmental groups over the plans to build the circuit. 

Read Also:

Despite concerns about the viability of some events due to the uncertain nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, F1 has not officially informed teams of any potential back-up races as it hopes to stick to the planned schedule.

Pre-season testing is also set for a shake-up, with at least one test moving from Barcelona to Bahrain next March prior to the season opener in Australia.

shares
comments

Related video

How Ricciardo helped Renault rediscover its swagger

Previous article

How Ricciardo helped Renault rediscover its swagger

Next article

The Portimao lesson that could transform Barcelona

The Portimao lesson that could transform Barcelona
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Luke Smith
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
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