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Australian Grand Prix officially cancelled again

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6th July, 2021
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Quarantine hub concerns have forced the cancellation of Australian Formula One grand prix for a second straight year.

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula and Australian Grand Prix CEO Andrew Westacott made the announcement at 3pm on Tuesday.

Earlier, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews all but confirmed its cancellation, saying running such large events is “very challenging” given Australia’s low vaccination rate and international travel restrictions.

“When you’ve halved the number of people coming into the country, when you’ve got 10 per cent of people vaccinated when you want and need 70 or 80 per cent to have had the jab, we’re not at that point,” Andrews said on Tuesday morning.

“The timing doesn’t quite line up, and that makes it very, very challenging.”

The 2021 race had been provisionally pushed back from its regular early-season timeslot to November in the hope COVID-19 restrictions would have eased by then.

The 2020 Australian GP at the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne was called off at the last moment at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of international arrivals are set to be slashed this month as part of a new coronavirus plan, increasing pressure on governments making allowances for athletes while Australians remain stranded overseas.

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The Australian Grand Prix Corporation presented a COVID-safe plan to the government, arguing the event could be run safely with the drivers and crews operating within a bubble.

Drivers and their large crews were reportedly reluctant to go into hard quarantine, which allowed international tennis players to compete at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Formula One already has a race scheduled in Brazil for Nov 5-7, leaving little time for a two-week hotel quarantine before the November 19-21 event in Melbourne.

Andrews said he was confident the tennis would be able to go ahead as scheduled with Australia’s vaccination rates vastly improved by then, while the quarantine situation could look very different for vaccinated visitors.

“The reason I am confident of that is that that’s exactly after the period I’ve just been talking about, where we hopefully hit that magic number,” Andrews said.

“Everyone who wants to be vaccinated, everybody who can be convinced to be vaccinated has been.

“At that point, that critical mass, then we’re not locking down anymore.”

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© AAP

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