The 2021 Japanese Grand Prix, scheduled to take place in mid-October, has been cancelled by the Japanese government as result of uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
For the second year in a row, Formula 1 will not race at Suzuka following the cancellation of the 2021 Japanese Grand Prix by the local government. The Japanese Grand Prix was set to form part of a triple header of race weekends, with the Russian and Turkish Grands Prix preceding the Suzuka event on October 10.
Formula 1 says it has taken the decision “due to ongoing complexities of the pandemic in the country”, following discussions with the race promoter and authorities in Japan. The country recently hosted the Olympics without fans in attendance, and the Paralympics will also take place with no fans attending later this month. It appears running the Japanese Grand Prix as a closed event was not an option.
The Japanese Grand Prix is the fifth race to be cancelled in 2021, with China, Australia, Canada and Singapore also having had to call off their races. Meanwhile, the Turkish Grand Prix was scheduled to take place in June as a replacement for the Montreal event, but the race was cancelled before being reinstated onto the schedule at a later date.
Earlier this year, Suzuka signed a new contract to remain as host of the Japanese Grand Prix until 2024.
Revised second half of the 2021 calendar
Formula 1 has not yet announced plans to replace the Japanese Grand Prix on the 2021 calendar. With uncertainties surrounding other races in the second half of the season, it seems likely that there will yet be further changes to the planned schedule. Following the cancellation of the Suzuka race, a statement read:
“Formula 1 is now working on the details of the revised calendar and will announce the final details in the coming 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.”
While Turkey, Mexico and Brazil remain on the United Kingdom’s red list for travel – making races in those countries unlikely for the time being – organisers of the Brazilian Grand Prix (officially titled the Sao Paulo Grand Prix from 2021 onwards) have recently requested a date change for their race.
Plans for a double header of races at Circuit of The Americas in Texas may yet be thwarted by a rising number of coronavirus cases in the state. The United States Grand Prix is currently scheduled for October 24.
With weather conditions deteriorating across Europe in the autumn and into the winter, Formula 1 may opt to hold further races in the Middle East later in the season to bolster its 2021 calendar. A return to Bahrain International Circuit’s outer layout could be an option, as could a visit to Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Formula 1 managed to hold seventeen races in 2020.