Nominees are usually named in the last week of November or first week in December.
But Sportsmail understands candidates will be revealed in the week of the live show in Salford on December 19.
Lewis Hamilton took home the 2020 prize, and this year’s candidates are unveiled next week
The final F1 race takes place on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, with Hamilton level on points with Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.
Hamilton was crowned SPOTY last year and in 2014. He will be a leading contender if he wins a record eighth world title to surpass Michael Schumacher.
Emma Raducanu is odds-on bookies’ favourite to become the first female winner of SPOTY since equestrian rider Zara Phillips in 2006 after her victory at the US Open aged 18.
The shortlist had been limited to six candidates in the last three years but the BBC will expand it, as they have done previously in Olympic years. After London 2012, they named a shortlist of 12 and after Rio 2016, there were 16 nominees.
Emma Raducanu is tipped to become the first female winner of SPOTY since 2006
Tom Daley, Adam Peaty, Jason Kenny and Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey are likely to be included after golds in Tokyo.
Mark Cavendish — 2011’s SPOTY — is set to be shortlisted after his four Tour de France stage wins saw him match Eddy Merckx’s record of 34.
The BBC are braced for another backlash from Tyson Fury if, as expected, they name him as a candidate for knocking out Deontay Wilder and retaining his WBC world heavyweight title in October.
Last year, Fury asked to be removed from the shortlist saying he did not need ‘verification’ from awards. The BBC refused his demands but the boxer was not voted in the top three, to the relief of all involved in the show.
Tyson Fury threatened legal action if he is included on the Sports Personality of the Year list