The F1 Australian Grand Prix will this year be postponed to 21 November, two weeks after the Melbourne Cup. Traditionally held in March, the event launches the international F1 racing season.

The Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula, said the decision reached between the state government, Formula 1 management and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation was sensible one because of the difficulties posed by the COVID pandemic.

The minister said that the postponement of four-day Grand Prix event at Albert park was a sensible decision that would mean more Victorian race fans could come as well as potentially inter-state and overseas visitors to the event.

The minister said the event would be subject to prevailing health conditions and advice from the Chief Health Officer, with infection prevention and control at the centre of all decisions regarding the race.

“This is the right decision and we thank Formula 1 management for their co-operation in setting a new schedule for the 2021 season. The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is one of the great events in the world and we’ll make sure it can be run safely and successfully in November,” Mr Pakula said.

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“The move means there will be a greater chance of welcoming fans from Victoria, interstate and around the world.”

Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said: “The virus situation remains fluid, but we have the experience from last season with all our partners and promoters to adapt accordingly and safely in 2021.”

Quarantine and other aspects of the Grand Prix will be considered at a later date.