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F1 news 2020, Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton replacement, George Russell, Sakhir Grand Prix, Bahrain GP

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Williams driver George Russell will step into Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes this weekend in Bahrain after being chosen to replace the COVID-stricken seven time world champion.

Fresh from winning at the same track last weekend, Hamilton tested positive for the virus on Tuesday (AEDT) causing him to miss the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend.

When this happened at Force India this season with Sergio Perez, former Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was drafted in to replace him for two races.

However, Mercedes has instead opted for Russell, who has had a long-standing association with the team having joined the junior programme in 2017.

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Formula 1 2021: Race schedule, Australian Grand Prix, postponed, dates, Bahrain, moved to spring, Lawrence Stroll

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The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix will be postponed to the final months of the year, with Bahrain to host the season opener instead, according to Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll.

The boss of the team formerly known as Racing Point told Reuters the official announcement would be made soon.

“Melbourne has been – it’s not officially announced but it will be – not cancelled but postponed. We will go there sometime in the fall (autumn) and the first race will be Bahrain,” Stroll said.

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With the Canadian billionaire referring to the northern hemisphere seasons, that would see the Australian Grand Prix held between September and November.

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Australian Grand Prix set to be postponed

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Formula One great Alan Jones says only a “bloody miracle” will allow the Australian Grand Prix to go ahead in March and that a rescheduled 2021 Melbourne race is “better than nothing”.

An Autosport report has suggested that the opening round of this year’s Formula One competition, scheduled for Melbourne on March 21, will be postponed because of Australia’s tough travel restrictions and fears over the emergence of a new strain of COVID-19.

The March 28 race in Bahrain is reportedly now set to become the season-opening contest, with an August date now being mooted for the Melbourne race.

Jones, only one of two Australians to win the World Drivers’ Championship, said the public’s health had to be the priority, and that the season would run the risk of being “compromised” if the Melbourne race opened the year’s program in March.

“I have always loved the idea of Australia hosting the first round, because we’re the first ones to see new driver-car combinations, new regulations put into place … we’re very fortunate that we’ve able to host the first round,” Jones said.

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F1 news, Australian Grand Prix 2021: Melbourne event could be postponed, tickets

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The Australian Grand Prix is unlikely to kick off the Formula 1 season due to the country’s tough COVID-19 border restrictions.

Autosport reports that the Melbourne-based race – set to start the season on 21 March – will now be pushed back to later in the year.

Construction of the temporary track in Albert Park must start before the end of January, while tickets are yet to go on sale for the event.

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The report claims that Australia’s tough border laws and enforced hotel quarantine have led to F1 bosses exploring the option of rearranging the race for later in the year.

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