Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix is facing postponement amid concerns over coronavirus.
Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit has become the traditional curtain raiser for the F1 campaign.
But the race, pencilled in for March 21, looks unlikely to go ahead due to a series of strict travel restrictions put in place by the Australian government.
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The restrictions mean members of F1’s travelling circus would be subjected to a fortnight of quarantine upon their arrival.
Media reports suggest organisers are now looking for a date later in the season.
F1 has not commented on the reports.
The UK’s PA agency understands a formal announcement is likely to be made later this month.
Australia’s absence from the schedule would see the season start in Bahrain on March 28.
Last year’s race in Australia was cancelled after a British mechanic from McLaren tested positive for coronavirus following his arrival in Melbourne.
The sport commendably went on to navigate a 17-round season in just 23 weeks, with Lewis Hamilton clinching a record-equalling seventh world championship.
It is hoped that the race in Melbourne could be moved to the second half of the year, with F1 bosses still hopeful of completing a record-breaking 23-race schedule.
The Australian Open tennis major has already been delayed because of COVID-19.
Organisers told players they must arrive in Australia by the middle of January to serve 14 days of self-isolation.
They will then stay at selected hotels in a biosecure environment.
© DPA 2021