FIA president Jean Todt does not expect Formula 1 to be able to carry out a “normal season” in 2021 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic decimated plans for the 2020 F1 season and forced the opening 10 races to be cancelled, but the series was able to successfully pull together a revised 17-round calendar of predominantly European-based races spanning between July and mid-December. 

F1 has announced a record-breaking schedule of 23 races for the upcoming 2021 season, though the start of the campaign is already set to be delayed with reports indicating that the Australian Grand Prix will be postponed. 

The Melbourne opener - which was abandoned altogether last year - is scheduled to take place on 21 March but is looking increasingly likely to be pushed back until later in the season, a move which could result in further changes to the current calendar. 

And Todt believes there could be more disruption to the planned schedule with global concern growing over the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19 which has forced the UK to enter a new national lockdown this week. 

“Unfortunately it's not over," Todt said at the FIA’s virtual end-of-season gala in December.

"It's not like the season is ending, we start from a white piece of paper because lockdown is still going to happen, confinement, the virus is there.

"There has been progress. We are expecting a vaccine, so it will be good for the population, good for the planet to be able to enjoy that.

"But I'm sure that over the next days we will hear quite a lot of potential changes on the different calendars, not only Formula 1 but on other calendars.

“So if I had to commit on a back to kind of normal, even if I feel it will be a different life behind the COVID-19 crisis, I think half of next year, in my opinion, will not be as we could have expected to have in a normal season.”

Todt is confident that the FIA and F1 would be able to deal with any necessary changes following the organisational success of its efforts in 2020 despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus. 

"I feel the 2020 season was a great season and with a lot of creativity," he added. 

"Who could have guessed one year ago when we met in Paris that we would have three grands prix in Italy, back-to-back races on the same circuit in Austria, in Silverstone, original racing in the Bahrain Grand Prix, in Turkey, so that is really a credit to Formula 1.

"I want to also highlight the role that was played by Chase Carey and his leadership of Formula 1, working with the FIA when you see what has been achieved to limit the people victim of COVID-19 in motor racing."