Formula E has postponed the planned start of its 2021 season which was due to get underway in Chile.

A double-header had been pencilled in for the Santiago E-Prix at the Parque O’Higgins Circuit for 16-17 January to kick off the all-electric series’ seventh season but the event has been postponed following talks with the local authorities.

While no specific reason was given for the postponement, the recent surge of new coronavirus cases around the globe - including an outbreak of a new variant in the United Kingdom - is likely to have been a consideration behind what was already going to be a difficult logistical challenge to get equipment to South America in time for mid-January.

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Formula E said it hopes to rearrange the Santiago round for later in the first quarter of next year.

“In consultation with the Santiago municipality, the Santiago EPrix has been postponed,” Formula E confirmed in a statement.

“The races will no longer take place as a double-header on January 16th and 17th and we are working with the city to finalise dates on which to stage the races later in the first quarter of 2021.”

The postponement raises question marks over whether the next planned race in Saudi Arabia just a month later will be able to go ahead as planned.

Formula E’s 2019-2020 season was heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, with a total of seven rounds being cancelled before a condensed season finale featuring six races in nine days was organised in Berlin to conclude the campaign in August.

Ahead of its first season running under world championship status, Formula E conducted pre-season testing at Valencia earlier this month, with BMW Andretti’s Maximilian Gunether setting the pace on the final day of action in Spain.