Supercars names 'drop dead date' for Australian GP

Supercars says it needs to make a firm decision on whether it will race on the Australian Grand Prix support bill by not later than September 1.

The Aussie series was forced to tweak its 2021 schedule when the AGP was pushed back to November, slotting a Sandown event into the original March date.

However it has always left the door open for the retention of its spot on the Albert Park undercard should the AGP go ahead on November as planned.

Those plans are complicated by a number of factors, the most pressing Australia's tough stance on its international borders and the complications that creates for the Formula 1 teams.

It's unlikely F1 drivers and crew from overseas will be able to enter Australia without serving two weeks of quarantine, prompting scepticism in Australia as to whether the event will go ahead.

And if it does Supercars needs enough warning to alter its transport plan around the Auckland SuperSprint that's set to take place in New Zealand a fortnight before the AGP.

As it stands the cars and equipment are set to be shipped across the ditch before the Gold Coast finale, however an AGP berth would require air-freighting the cars back.

According to Supercars the discussions with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation are ongoing, with September 1 having been nominated as the ultimate "drop dead date".

"We’re working through that with the AGP right now," said Supercars CEO Sean Seamer.

"We need to work through the freight plan to get back from New Zealand in time. Once [the AGP going ahead is] confirmed, we’re working with Gibson Freight to look at different options about getting back from New Zealand to that event and we’re hoping that we’ll have some clarity around that in the next five to six weeks.

"From a freight point of view, we definitely need to know no later than the 1st of September – but that’s the absolute drop dead if we need to make any adjustments to our freight planning."

Earlier this month a Victorian government spokesperson told Melbourne newspaper the Sunday Age that the "complex matter" of planning the AGP was ongoing.

That was in response to the Singapore race being called off due to border regulations.

“The decision by Singapore is not particularly relevant to our situation," the spokesperson told the paper.

“Planning for the grand prix is a complex matter involving multiple parties including the Grand Prix Corporation, Formula One Management and the Commonwealth government.

“The health of Victorians remains the key factor in all this and we’ll have more to say at the appropriate time.”

The AGPC did look into a biosphere model for Albert Park earlier this year, which would have required some local officials and organisers to enter a bubble and then complete full quarantine afterwards despite not technically leaving the country.

However the idea didn't get off the ground, which effectively forced the postponement to November in the hope that border restrictions may ease.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said over the French Grand Prix weekend that the category is still planning 23 races this season.

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