Australia’s state of Victoria on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the 2021 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and Australian MotoGP citing low rates of vaccination that has made it impossible to stage the events.
The F1 Grand Prix, normally held in March in Melbourne’s Albert Park, was initially postponed to November in the hope that the state would be ready for an international event by then, reports Xinhua.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that it would be hard for Melbourne to host the event given that vaccination rates are not at the “critical mass” needed.
“Running big international events is very challenging, but until that point [of vaccinations] we have to do everything we can to safeguard not bringing the virus in,” said Andrews.
The cancellation was confirmed by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) on Tuesday afternoon.
AGPC chairman Paul Little shared his disappointment that the events will be cancelled for the second year in a row.
“We’re deeply disappointed. We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations,” Little said.
The cancellation is a huge blow to Melbourne’s economy and Victoria’s tourism and sport events industry, but organisers and authorities are now looking towards 2022.
“We are getting to work on plans for 2022 immediately and can’t wait to welcome the world’s best drivers and riders and all motorsport fans back to Albert Park and Phillip Island,” said Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula.
Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo said: “It’s a huge disappointment for all of the drivers that we won’t be coming down to Australia in November, but we understand the reasons.
“For me personally, I can’t wait to have the chance to race at home again, and it’ll be even sweeter when we do because it’s been so long. Fingers crossed things can change for 2022.”