July 7, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier
Australia’s global Formula 1 racing event has been cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic. The MotoGP event at Phillip Island has also been cancelled.
Speaking about the cancellation yesterday, Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula attributed the cancellation to Australia’s low vaccination numbers and the halving of the international arrivals cap by National Cabinet.
“Some 1,600 visitors in November with the bespoke quarantine arrangements needed in an environment where National Cabinet has decided to halve international arrivals and not look at different quarantine arrangements probably until the beginning of 2022 really makes it extremely difficult for us to give those organisations the sort of guarantees they require,” Pakula said.
“Quite legitimately, Formula one and Moto GP required assurances and undertakings and guarantees this week about the conduct of those events.
“There’s a few months to go but they need to plan, they need to have contingencies in place and given the very low national two dose vaccination numbers and given the decision of National Cabinet on Friday, we’re simply not in the position to give F1 management or MotoGP the sorts of guarantees and assurances and comfort that they need this week.
“I fully expect that these events will occur in 2022 – we’re aiming for an early season F1 event next year,” he said.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) Chairman, Paul Little AO, said it was “deeply disappointing” that Australia wouldn’t be able to deliver the two events for fans this year.
“We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations.”
“I would like to reassure our motivated and professional staff, suppliers and partners, as well as the Victorian tourism and major events community that we will work tirelessly to deliver these iconic events in 2022,” said Little.
Meanwhile AGPC CEO Andrew Westacott talked up the events in 2022.
“There are bound to be ongoing challenges with COVID-19, but I want to reassure fans that while there is sadness and disappointment amongst our wonderful AGPC staff there is a tenacity and determination to make sure the next episodes of MotoGP at the island and Formula 1 at the new Albert Park layout are sensational showcases of how we do things in Victoria.”
The MotoGP event was to be held October 22-24 and the Formula 1 Grand Prix from November 18-21, 2021.
Image source: Australian F1 Grand Prix Facebook page