Australian Racing Group and Bathurst Regional Council say the S5000 open-wheel race event could only have gone ahead if border restrictions were lifted and mandatory quarantine periods scrapped.

Former Formula One drivers Giancarlo Fisichella, left, and Rubens Barrichello joke around for photographers at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Thursday, March 12, 2020.
Former Formula One drivers Giancarlo Fisichella, left, and Rubens Barrichello joke around for photographers at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP)

The inaugural Bathurst International at Mount Panorama has been postponed until 2021 because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The announcement by officials on Wednesday means ex-Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello will have to wait until next year to race on one of Australia's most iconic layouts.

Barrichello, who won 11 Formula One Grand Prix races in an F1-record 322 starts — a mark equaled by Kimi Raikkonen last month in Russia — would have had to go into a 14-day quarantine in Australia before the November 12-15 series of races because of current restrictions for incoming international travelers.

The 48-year-old Brazilian driver was scheduled to drive in the S5000 open-wheel race. 

The S5000s are Australia's fastest racing cars and could have broken the lap record on the 6.2-kilometre (3.8-mile) layout which includes famous hills and sharp turns and is part of residential traffic when races are not being held.

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The track, first used for racing in the late 1930s, also hosts Australia's biggest domestic race each year, the Bathurst 1000, which is scheduled to be held October 18. Bathurst is in central western New South Wales state about 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Sydney.

The Australian Racing Group and Bathurst Regional Council say the event could only have gone ahead if border restrictions were lifted and mandatory quarantine periods scrapped.

ARG chief executive Matt Braid said it was an “impossible situation . . . it is obviously very disappointing to postpone the inaugural running of the Bathurst International."

Race officials had also hoped to attract ex-Formula One drivers Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso, although none of those drivers had been confirmed.

A date for next year's race has not been determined.

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Source: AP