Desperate for win: Sebastian Vettel, in the pit lane surrounded by mechanics at last week’s Russian Grand Prix where he came third, must win in Japan to keep his title hopes alive. Picture: REUTERS
Desperate for win: Sebastian Vettel, in the pit lane surrounded by mechanics at last week’s Russian Grand Prix where he came third, must win in Japan to keep his title hopes alive. Picture: REUTERS

Mumbai — The 2021 Japanese Formula One Grand Prix has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic for the second successive year, race organisers said on Wednesday.

The cancellation of the race, scheduled for the weekend of October 8-10 at the Suzuka circuit, follows the abandonment of Singapore’s October 1-3 night race.

“Following ongoing discussions with the promoter and authorities in Japan the decision has been taken by the Japanese government to cancel the race this season due to ongoing complexities of the pandemic in the country,” Formula One said in a statement.

“Formula One is now working on the details of the revised calendar and will announce the final details in the coming weeks.”

Japan recently hosted the Olympic Games in Tokyo without the presence of spectators, while the Paralympic competitions, scheduled from August 24 to September 5, will also be held without fans in attendance.

Formula One is operating under strict health protocols, with teams in bubbles and frequent testing for Covid-19 of all personnel and media.

The cancellation of the Suzuka race could spell trouble for the Turkish Grand Prix, which was added to the calendar as a replacement for Singapore’s cancelled race. The race at the Istanbul Park circuit was slotted in a week before Suzuka and one week after the Russian round in Sochi but there could be more reshuffles to the calendar.

Turkey is on the British government’s “red list” of countries, which require 10 days of hotel quarantine for returning travellers. By staying in Japan for a few extra days, Formula One could have bypassed that quarantine requirement.

“Formula One has proven this year, and in 2020, that we can adapt and find solutions to the ongoing uncertainties and is excited by the level of interest in locations to host Formula One events this year and beyond,” the governing body said.

Reuters

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