[Formula 1] 2021 Japanese Grand Prix cancelled over county’s ongoing Covid-19 issues

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The Japanese Grand Prix in October has been cancelled due to the “ongoing complexities” of Covid-19 in the country.

After discussions with F1 and the Suzuka event’s promoter, the country’s government have taken the decision to shelve the October 8-10 event for the second successive year amid the pandemic.

F1 is understood to have been planning for such a scenario and have options to keep the calendar at the planned 23 races.

The cancellation of November’s Australian GP last month meant there was already one slot free on the schedule.

A finalised 2021 calendar is expected to be announced in the forthcoming weeks.

“Formula 1 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 1 events this year and beyond,” read an F1 statement.

What next for the rest of the 2021 season?

Eleven of the planned record 23 races for 2021 have already taken place. Twelve more were originally scheduled to follow in the space of 16 weeks up to and including the season finale in Abu Dhabi on December 12.

The F1 season resumes next week after its summer break with the Belgian GP, the first event of a triple header in Europe which also includes the returning Dutch GP at Zandvoort and then the Italian GP at Monza.

The cancellations of Australia and Japan mean only 10 of the remaining events are currently confirmed, while doubts remain over several more ‘flyaway’ rounds such as Mexico and Brazil – both of which are also currently on the government’s travel red list.

What does the rest of the F1 calendar currently look like?

DateGrand Prix
August 29Belgian GP
September 5Dutch GP
September 12Italian GP
September 26Russian GP
October 3Turkish GP
October 10Japanese GP
October 24United States GP
October 31Mexico City GP
November 7Sao Paulo GP
November 21Australian GP
December 5Saudi Arabian GP
December 12Abu Dhabi GP

That list also currently includes Turkey, which is scheduled to hold a race in Istanbul on October 3. But the possibility of different onward travel arrangements amid calendar reshuffles, rather than the need to return immediately to the UK to fulfill the quarantine period, mean F1 retain flexibility on venues and dates.

F1 is understood to continue to have interest from venues not currently on the 2021 calendar.

SKYSPORTS