Melbourne's Albert Park has got the green light to host the third round of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship, with the Victorian state Government giving the Australian Grand Prix Corporation assurances of commitment to the event.
Australia hasn't hosted a Grand Prix since the race was held in early 2019, with the 2020 event called off at the last second in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was also no race in 2021.
There are extra reasons to be excited about the return to Albert Park, as the circuit has gone through extensive renovations to make it a faster, more flowing track with additional overtaking opportunities.
Scheduled in on the 2022 calendar, any fears that the race might not go ahead now appear to have eased, with Melbourne's Grand Prix set for 10 April.
"We've got a commitment from the Victorian Government that the event's going ahead," Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott told Australia's Speedcafe.com. "We've got a commitment from Formula 1 that they're coming here for Round 3.
"We're selling tickets like hotcakes, and we're 80 days away from the event. So everything is happening, everything is getting ready, and [I] can't wait to host the best drivers in the world, in new cars, on a new track."
COVID measures still in place
While the event will largely run as normal, Westacott explained that there are still going to be considerations in light of the ongoing pandemic.
"What I say is we'll be [close to] normal – we're going to have all new cars on track, we've got new entertainment and music across the four days," Westacott explained.
"There will be the need for everyone to be vigilant from a safety point of view and for attendees to be 100 percent vaxed, but we're in a massive park, it's predominantly outdoors, and we've been starved for major events.
"So we're working with the government to make sure that everything we do allows us to have maximum crowds."
Grand Prix cancellation "not on our radar"
With three months to go until the race weekend, Westacott was asked what could happen if COVID cases rose or another strain of the virus were to break out in the region.
"I am not even contemplating that," he said about the possibility of the race going behind closed doors. "I think Australia has moved on from that, and I think Victoria has moved on from that.
"You look at the current rates of cases and so on, I think we're beyond doing those sorts of things behind closed doors. There's been no evidence of any event throughout the country where you're having to do that without crowds.
"That's not even on our radar, it's not even been discussed, whereas last year, and the year before, that was often the norm. That's not even a consideration at the moment and I don't think ever will be."
Check out the changes that have been made to Albert Park in the video below:
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