Formula 1’s 2021 calendar featuring a record 23 grands prix has been ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
The world championship has added a new race in Saudi Arabia – subject to circuit homologation – and the returning Dutch Grand Prix, which had to be cancelled this year, to create what should be the longest season in its history.
A planned 22-race season in 2020 was set to be the new record but the calendar ended up being heavily revised to 17-race schedule with strict protocols because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement regarding next year’s calendar from the World Motor Sport Council congratulated “the entire Formula 1 community for the remarkable achievement of completing 17 events in the wake of the global pandemic”.
Despite ongoing struggles around the world to contain the virus, F1 is pressing on with plans to return to a full season next year.
Its proposed 23-race schedule has been rubber-stamped by the FIA, although it is still not actually completely set.
Vietnam’s intended April 25 slot is still presented as a ‘to be confirmed’ race. It will not take place in Hanoi following the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of a senior figure connected to the grand prix.
Ex-Hanoi mayor Nguyen Duc Chung was sentenced to five years imprisonment last week.
Two unexpected 2020 venues have been linked with taking that vacant place on the schedule: Portugal and Turkey.
The Portuguese Algarve circuit held its first grand prix this year (above), while Turkey’s Istanbul track returned to the calendar for the first time since 2011 (below).
Brazil’s F1 race will remain at Interlagos on a new long-term deal following formal confirmation of the initial five-year contract previously reported by The Race in lieu of the planned new circuit in Rio de Janeiro failing to gain the necessary environmental licence to begin construction.
The Brazilian GP will officially be called the Sao Paulo Grand Prix to reflect the city funding the race rather than it being a federal project.
Meanwhile, a contract for the reprieved-for-2020 Spanish Grand Prix, which will benefit from the return of Fernando Alonso, and Carlos Sainz Jr’s move to Ferrari, is yet to be signed but is expected early in the new year.
Confirmed 2021 F1 calendar
March 21: Australia
March 28: Bahrain
April 11: China
April 25: TBC (Portugal/Turkey linked)
May 9: Spain (subject to contract)
May 23: Monaco
June 6: Azerbaijan
June 13: Canada
June 27: France
July 4: Austria
July 18: Britain
August 1: Hungary
August 29: Belgium
September 5: Netherlands
September 12: Italy
September 26: Russia
October 3: Singapore
October 10: Japan
October 24: USA
October 31: Mexico
November 14: Brazil
November 28: Saudi Arabia
December 5: Abu Dhabi
The WMSC council also approved sweeping changes to Formula 2 and Formula 3, which will now race on separate weekends with three races per event.