Less than a week after the calendar flipped to 2021, the NTT IndyCar Series schedule has been altered once again. Three weeks ago the street race at Long Beach was changed to the season-finale. Today, the series announced that the season-opening street race in St Petersburg has been pushed back to April. Due to the ongoing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grand Prix of St Petersburg is now set to run on April 25.
The move does not come as a surprise, as city officials and workers will need ample time to set the stage and prepare for the event. With today’s announcement, the season will now begin on April 11 at Barber Motorsports Park. The race will still air on NBC and the season will now begin five weeks later than originally planned. The full press release from today is below.
[NTT IndyCar Series Press Release]
INDYCAR officials have announced the 2021 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is being rescheduled for Sunday, April 25 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The move creates a condensed, action-packed early-season schedule for 2021.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to the Streets of St. Petersburg after Josef Newgarden’s thrilling win last October, which culminated with Scott Dixon’s sixth series title. NBC will remain as the television home of this year’s race on the tight, demanding street layout.
“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.”
Due to the move, Barber Motorsports Park becomes the host of the season opener as the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will raise the curtain on the 2021 season.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will mark the 18th NTT INDYCAR SERIES event in the Sunshine City. The traditional season opener since 2011 and a fan favorite on the INDYCAR schedule, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg received a three-year title sponsorship extension from Bridgestone Americas, Inc. last October.
“We appreciate the officials at INDYCAR for their support in setting a new date for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and also to Mayor Kriseman and his team at the City of St. Petersburg for identifying a time when it will be conducive for more fans to attend,” said Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of GSSP, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “We are grateful to keep the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the springtime window and also maintain the live national broadcast coverage of the race on NBC.”
An updated listing of green flag times for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will be announced at a later date.