After reports circulated yesterday of impending schedule changes, IndyCar has confirmed that the start of the 2021 season will indeed be delayed.
Instead of the originally scheduled date of March 7, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take place several weeks later on April 25.
The move bumps the street race out of its traditional season-opening position, and sees the race from Barber Motorsports Park take up the honors of the opening round of the year on April 11.
There had been speculation that the race from Barber was going to be delayed for a week as well, setting up a triple-header of race weekends, but as of now there is no change to the Alabama race.
“It’s not surprising that an event of this magnitude, scheduled for the first week of March, is still subject to the implications of the pandemic,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said.
“We’re delighted we were able to work with Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration and Green Savoree Racing Promotions to find a more suitable date, which helps consolidate the beginning of our schedule and allows us to stay on NBC network television.”
The pandemic currently has too strong of a hold on the region to allow fans to attend, and the hope is that the delay will allow at least some fans the opportunity to see the race in person.
This is the second official schedule change already, with Long Beach being pushed from its April date back to the season finale in September. There have been no cancellations as of yet, and the plan is still to hold the entire 17-race schedule.