Tagged in: formula 1

Australian Grand Prix cancelled for second year in succession

The Australian Formula One grand prix has been cancelled for a second consecutive year, with Melbourne now set to lose its prestigious season-opening status.

The multi-million dollar race had already been rescheduled from March to November before it was scrapped altogether on Tuesday, while the October Australian MotoGP will also not go ahead at Phillip Island.

The 2020 Australian GP at the Albert Park street circuit was called off at the last moment at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula stated Formula One and MotoGP management needed assurances this week that Australia was unable to deliver on.

He said the country’s low vaccination rate and the Federal government’s recent decision to slash international arrivals had forced their hand. The motorsport organizations have a set of conditions for each race and that could not be managed if drivers and their crews were required to quarantine.

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“Formula One and MotoGP required assurances and undertakings and guarantees this week about the conduct of those events,” Pakula said on Tuesday.

“There’s a few months to go, but they need to plan, and they need to have contingencies in place.

“Given the very low national two-dose-vaccination numbers, and given the decision of National Cabinet on Friday, we’re simply not in a position to give F1 management or MotoGP the sorts of assurances they require.

“Some 1600 visitors in November, with the bespoke quarantine arrangements needed … really makes it extremely difficult for us to give those organisations the guarantee they require.”

Formula One already has a race programmed in Brazil for November 5-7, leaving little time for a two-week hotel quarantine before November 19-21 when the Melbourne event was scheduled, while there was no wriggle room with the final two races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in early December.

Australia is not alone with Singapore and Canada both cancelling their races for a second year due to safety and logistic concerns connected to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pakula said he had spoken with Formula One boss Stefano Demetocarli and there was an expectation the event would go ahead in 2022.

Pakula said April was a prospective date, meaning Melbourne would lose its prestigious season-opening status.

Bahrain jumped in to host round one this year when the Australian event was rescheduled and will be rewarded with hosting the race in 2022.

“We’ve been talking April with F1 for some time, ” Pakula said.

“As you know this year other events went into that first and second slot and I think F1 are keen to continue with those events.”

Pakula downplayed losing the first race on the calendar, saying there were always changes and the later date suited Melbourne.

He said he didn’t have figures available on the economic impact of surrendering the fixture for a second year.

Formula One and the Victorian government have a contract to run the race in Melbourne until 2025 while the MotoGP is contracted to 2026.

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Ferrari, McLaren and Williams commit to F1 until 2025

Ferrari, McLaren, and Williams have all committed their futures to Formula 1 by signing the latest incarnation of the Concorde Agreement.

The Concorde Agreement is essentially a commercial contract that defines significant commercial aspects of a team’s involvement in F1.

By signing the agreement all three teams have committed themselves to the championship until 2025.

“F1 has taken another important stride on the road to a sustainable, strong future with the new agreement,” stated McLaren CEO, Zak Brown.

“This is the right deal at the right time for the sport, its owners, its teams and, most of all, the fans.

“A more equitable sport is better for everyone: greater balance in the sharing of revenues among all the teams and clearer, simpler governance that cuts through vested interests and puts the sport first.

“This agreement will only make the F1 constructors collectively stronger in the long term.” Louis Camilleri, Ferrari CEO, added: “We are pleased to have signed up again to what is commonly known as the Concorde Agreement, which will regulate F1 for the next five years.

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“It is an important step to ensure the stability and growth of the sport.

“We are very confident that the collaboration with the FIA and Liberty Media can make F1 even more attractive and spectacular, while preserving its status as the ultimate technological challenge.”

The latest incarnation of the Concorde Agreement, which has essentially been in place since the early 1980s, marks arguably the greatest change in its history.

Key among the changes is a more equitable distribution of prize money, helping close the financial gap between those at the front and back.

“The new Concorde Agreement represents a major step forward, for both Formula 1 and Williams,” reasoned Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of Williams Racing.

“As one of the sport’s longest running teams, we are pleased to see the future direction of Formula 1 confirmed for the next era of racing.

“Our expectation, aligned with Liberty Media, is that this next era will be characterized by closer and more exciting racing as a result of the new platform of regulations, which include more equitable revenue distribution and a first ever cost cap for our sport.

“The Agreement is a major milestone in the development of Formula 1, and also represents a significant opportunity for Williams to continue on our journey back towards the front of the grid.”

All seven remaining teams are estimated to sign the agreement, the deadline for doing so having been pushed back from last week.

Then, Mercedes stated that it was not ready to sign the document, though that position changed over the course of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. The Concorde Agreement came into being in an effort to end the ‘FISA-FOCA’ war that waged between the FIA (FISA) and teams (FOCA) in the early 1980s.

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