Boss confident Australian GP will go ahead

Tue, 23 March 2021, 08:00

Mar.23 (GMM) Australian GP boss Andrew Westacott is confident the rescheduled Melbourne race will go ahead as planned in late November.

It was the government’s insistence of two-week quarantines for all international travellers that meant the 2021 season opener could not go ahead as originally scheduled this month.

But Westacott told Australia’s Nine Network that he is confident the new race date will work out.

“The short answer is yes, because if you look at the motorsport calendar for 2020, Formula 1 and MotoGP were able to operate 31 races across 14 different countries,” he said.

“What we’ve got to do, in consultation with the health authorities, Formula 1 and the government, is an arrangement where they will come into a separated bubble, with no interaction with the general public, to be able to operate between the hotel and the circuit only.”

But Westacott said he is not overly worried that even if the race is once again cancelled, Melbourne may lose its place on the annual calendar to another international host.

“We’ve worked very closely with the people at Formula 1 for a long time now to deliver a hallmark event,” he said. “That comes with a strong level of trust on both sides.

“But we can never take that for granted. If we’re not able to stage events in Melbourne for long periods of time, well, other cities become options.”

He also said that because football tournaments can safely take place in stadiums in central Melbourne, the grand prix can as well.

“The benefit we have is we have a park that’s 176 hectares in size, it’s 29 times bigger than the MCG and it’s primarily open-air,” said Westacott.

“From a general admission point of view, what we’re going to do is design the venue with designated zones and each zone will have a level of capacity that’s determined by the health authorities.”

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