The Australian Formula One Grand Prix and MotoGP are set to be cancelled on Tuesday for a second straight year because of the coronavirus pandemic, AFP understands.
Organisers planned to stage the races in October and November, but have hit roadblocks over Australia’s requirement for overseas arrivals to undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
An official announcement by Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief Andrew Westacott is expected later Tuesday, AFP has learned.
The Formula One race had already been pushed back from its traditional season-opening slot in March to November 21, after the Brazilian Grand Prix and before the inaugural race in Saudi Arabia.
Cancellation would mean two years without a race at Melbourne’s Albert Park after the 2020 version was dramatically called off just before the opening practice session.
It follows the Singapore Grand Prix, scheduled for October 3, also being cancelled over Covid-19 worries.
The MotoGP circuit also skipped Australia last year due to the pandemic but it was scheduled to return to Phillip Island on October 24.
While Australia has been among the world’s most successful countries in containing the coronavirus, Melbourne has struggled through several lockdowns.
Crowds are now back in sports stadiums in the city, but concerns remain high with Sydney currently in lockdown as it tackles an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Victoria state premier Dan Andrews earlier suggested the cancellation was likely given low rates of local vaccination and a reduction in international flights to Australia.
“The timing doesn’t quite line up, and that makes it very, very challenging,” he said.
“We work very closely with all of our partners, particularly F1 and indeed the MotoGP as well. But some things are possible in a pandemic and some things are really hard.”