3 RACES THAT PROBABLY WON'T HAPPEN (AGAIN)
Cancellations are rife right now as the sport continues to navigate its way across the globe.
As Formula 1 successfully manoeuvred its way across the Middle East and Europe, uninterrupted and according to plan, there was a sense of control within the sport. And whilst hopes of last year's "mystery box" tour remaining in last season, it looks as though we're in for another year of curiosity as to where we'll end up.
In the last few weeks we learned of Canada's cancellation, with the slot quickly filled with Turkey, only to be swiftly reversed due to the rising number of Covid cases there. With the ever-changing outlook, I thought I'd share 3 more races that are unlikely to go ahead in 2021.
Japan When is it due to take place? October 10th Japan's Grand Prix will depend on the success of the Olympics (scheduled for July & August). Whilst Japan have increasingly insisted on a travel ban for non-residents, it's hoped that if the Olympics - which will see the largest number of foreign visitors since before the pandemic - is able to take place without causing a surge in new cases then Japan could open itself as planned to Formula 1. However, a recent spike in new cases in major cities has put Japan back in a State of Emergency, and with only a small amount of the population vaccinated it's becoming more and more unlikely that we'll have a return to Suzuka. It would be hugely disappointing if this happens, given that Suzuka's traditional high speed circuit is one of the highlights of the entire calendar.
"Many of these potential cancellations would come at a time when F1 usually says goodbye to Europe altogether before travelling to the far corners of the world. Now, it's increasing likely that a return to Europe is the only way to provide potential replacements."
Brazil When is it due to take place? November 7th Brazil continues to be on many countries' red lists for international travel including the UK, where the majority of F1 teams reside. November feels far away but remembering that we're only half way through a year where many presumed we'd be past this pandemic is a stark reminder of how fast these events approach. Sadly a long-awaited return to Interlagos looks set to be even longer.
Australia When is it due to take place? November 21st Yes, Australia. The one country that (from the outside) seems to have everything under control. Melbourne's race is usually pencilled in for March as the season opener, but from this season's inception the Australian Grand Prix was pushed, presumably, to happen as late in the season as was possible. The dependancy here will be down to the FIA's ability to negotiate bringing in hundreds of personal into the country at a time where there are mandatory 14-day quarantines in place for all travellers. Even major tournaments like The Australian Open couldn't bypass the measures set out by the Australian government, and only time will tell if the fortress that is Australia will be open in time.
The F1 calendar is deliberately planned to accommodate trips further from home. Many of these potential cancellations would come at a time when F1 usually says goodbye to Europe altogether before travelling to the far corners of the world. Now, it's increasing likely that a return to Europe is the only way to provide potential replacements. What will be challenging is the back-to-back races that are deliberately far from home (for example, Singapore & Japan are on consecutive weekends), and will require significant coordination from teams and the FIA to ensure teams can travel safely from the other side of the world in time and ready for another race.
So whilst the next 10 races appear to be assured, the final part of the season remains vague. Whilst I do see myself as a fan of puzzles, this calendar is one conundrum that I'll leave to FIA.