This year's Singapore, Azerbaijan and the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix have been called off because of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of the fixtures stated on Friday.
Formula One has already canceled four of the other races that include the showcase Monaco Grand Prix in May and published a revised and shortened provisional schedule for the restart in Austria on July 5.
"As a result of the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, we and our promoters in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have taken the decision to cancel their races for the 2020 season," Formula One said in a statement. The long lead times required to construct the Singapore and Azerbaijan street circuits made hosting those events impossible, it added.
COVID-19 Affecting Formula One
Singapore Grand Prix organizers said "prohibitions imposed on access and construction of the event venue" had forced the cancellation of the spectacular night race. "Apart from the closure of the event venue, other challenges include ongoing mass gathering and worldwide travel restrictions," they added.
Singapore has nearly 39,000 COVID-19 cases, one of the highest tallies in Asia due to mass outbreaks in cramped migrant worker dormitories in the city-state. "In Japan, ongoing travel restrictions also led to the decision not to proceed with the race," said Formula One.
Japan's round of the MotoGP championship, which was due to take place on Oct. 18 at Motegi after the F1 race at Suzuka on Oct. 11, had already been canceled due to the expected extension of a travel ban. "We have made significant progress with existing and new promoters on the revised calendar and have been particularly encouraged by the interest that has been shown by new venues in hosting a Formula One race during the 2020 season," the F1 statement said.
The second race in Italy has been mooted for Ferrari-owned Mugello or Imola, once home of the San Marino Grand Prix, while Germany's Hockenheim and Portugal's Algarve circuit in Portimao are other possibilities. Sochi in Russia could host two races. "We are confident in our plans to have between 15-18 races by the time our season concludes in Abu Dhabi in mid-December and expect to publish the finalized calendar before we start our season in Austria," said Formula One.
(With agency inputs)