Australia Hopes to Preserve Early System One Slot After Robust Reboot

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File crowds on the Australian Grand Prix have been a fine addition for organisers after a two-year hiatus on account of COVID-19 however the place the race sits within the System One calendar stays up within the air. Albert Park has historically hosted the championship’s opener however was slotted in because the third cease this yr after a Center East doubleheader in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. An estimated 419,000 folks flocked to Albert Park over the four-day race week from Thursday to Sunday, outstripping the earlier report attendance of about 401,000 when Melbourne’s lakeside circuit first hosted the Grand Prix in 1996.

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Whereas the crowds underlined a Netflix-fuelled resurgence of curiosity in F1, drivers have been cool on the race’s scheduling as a standalone week earlier than the collection continues in Italy.

“Simply coming to Australia for a single race is sort of painful for everybody,” mentioned Purple Bull driver Sergio Perez, runner-up to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on Sunday.

“All of us wish to come right here, however there are methods we will enhance and in equity to F1, Australia hasn’t been on the calendar for the final (two) years.

“I’m positive that going ahead they’ll take a look at it.”

Whereas Mercedes’ George Russell mentioned Albert Park’s earlier scheduling as a season-opener was “cool”, drivers is probably not prepared to shift from the brand new association, which has had Bahrain internet hosting the primary race after pre-season testing within the Gulf nation.

“It really works effectively in the meanwhile as a result of we’re doing the winter testing in Bahrain, it is sensible to remain there,” mentioned Perez.

Australia’s future scheduling might rely on the proximity of different races in its East Asian timezone.

After a three-year absence on account of COVID-19, China is slated to return subsequent yr, with Shanghai renewing its contract with F1 by to 2025.

Shanghai’s normal April slot could be a pure tie-up for Australia in an early season Asian swing, although the Chinese language authorities’s strict “zero-COVID” method might make the race untenable if sustained into 2023.

Shanghai is presently locked down because it battles China’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 because it emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.

System One returns to east Asia in early-October with a swing by Singapore (Oct. 2) and Japan per week later.

Shifting Australia to hyperlink up with Singapore and Japan in a late-season swing subsequent yr could also be another choice if Shanghai have been to drop out once more.

Nevertheless, that isn’t a palatable possibility for native organisers, the Australian Grand Prix Company (AGPC).

“We’ve confirmed that we will have success each opening the season and coming in after a few races,” AGPC boss Andrew Westacott advised Reuters on Monday.

“The time for System One in Australia is early within the season.”

Whereas Westacott famous a standalone race in Melbourne was unpopular with F1 groups, he mentioned the collection’ growth into new markets meant that they had “higher get used to” heading to totally different areas.

“The drivers have gotten to cease whinging in some respects,” he mentioned.

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