Grid, Singapore, 2019

Official: F1 cancels races at Suzuka, Baku and Singapore

2020 F1 calendar

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Formula 1 has cancelled three races as a result of the pandemic.

The grands prix at Azerbaijan, Suzuka and Singapore not go ahead this year.

Singapore’s race would have been the first non-European race of the year. F1 is understood to be considering a race at Italy’s Mugello circuit or a second event at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia as a replacement.

The Singapore race promoters said making the logistical arrangements to hold the event has become impossible due to the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic.

“We regret to announce that we will be unable to proceed with the race due to the prohibitions imposed on access and construction of the event venue required for a street race to be held in the city,” they said in a statement.

“Apart from the closure of the event venue, other challenges include ongoing mass gathering and worldwide travel restrictions. These and other measures were understandably put in place by the Singapore Government and the various authorities to prioritise safety and are targeted to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“With these limitations, which continue to remain in place, building and construction work of the circuit, which normally commences in May, have not been able to commence. We are therefore unable to complete the race circuit infrastructure in time for the race to take place.”

Nelson Piquet, Williams, Suzuka, 1987
F1 won’t race in Japan for the first time since 1986
Singapore Grand Prix deputy chairman Colin Sym said cancelling the race had been a “difficult decision” for the organisers.

“Ultimately, the health and safety of our contractors and their workers, spectators, Formula 1 crew, staff and volunteer marshals is our number one priority and we thank everyone for their patience and unwavering support thus far. While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to host the race this year, we look forward to welcoming fans to the race next season and wish the Formula 1 community well as it starts its season in July.”

The Baku promoters said the fifth running of their race had been cancelled “as a direct result of the continuing uncertainty caused by the global coronavirus pandemic and comes after extensive discussions with the Government of the Azerbaijan Republic as well as Formula One World Championship Ltd and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile”.

“Following the initial postponement of this year’s race in March, we have explored every opportunity to find a way to stage the race weekend in 2020 in a safe and responsible manner and in such a way that would prioritise the health of all involved while still putting on a great show for fans across the world. However, it has now become clear that this is no longer feasible within the current timeframe.”

The cancellation of Suzuka’s round means there will be no Japanese Grand Prix on the F1 calendar for the first time since 1986.

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How the original 2020 F1 calendar has changed

1Australian Grand PrixMar 13-15Cancelled, will not be rescheduled
2Bahrain Grand PrixMar 20-22Cancelled, seeking replacement date
3Vietnam Grand PrixApr 3-5Cancelled, seeking replacement date
4Chinese Grand PrixApr 17-19Cancelled, seeking replacement date
5Dutch Grand PrixMay 1-3Cancelled, will not be rescheduled
6Spanish Grand PrixMay 8-10Moved to Aug 14-16
7Monaco Grand PrixMay 21-24Cancelled, will not be rescheduled
8Azerbaijan Grand PrixJun 5-7Cancelled, will not be rescheduled
9Canadian Grand PrixJun 12-14Cancelled, seeking replacement date
10French Grand PrixJun 26-28Cancelled, will not be rescheduled
11Austrian Grand PrixJul 3-5Confirmed, will also hold second event on Jul 10-12
12British Grand PrixJul 17-19Moved to Jul 31 – Aug 2, holding second race on Aug 7-9
13Hungarian Grand PrixJul 31-Aug 2Moved to Jul 17-19
14Belgian Grand PrixAug 28-30Confirmed
15Italian Grand PrixSep 4-6Confirmed
16Singapore Grand PrixSep 18-20Cancelled, will not be rescheduled
17Russian Grand PrixSep 25-27To be confirmed
18Japanese Grand PrixOct 9-11Cancelled, will not be rescheduled
19United States Grand PrixOct 23-25To be confirmed
20Mexican Grand PrixOct 30-Nov 1To be confirmed
21Brazilian Grand PrixNov 13-15To be confirmed
22Abu Dhabi Grand PrixNov 27-29To be confirmed

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Official: F1 cancels races at Suzuka, Baku and Singapore”

  1. Why not also officially cancel the Vietnamese and Canadian GPs at the same time since these two (especially the latter) have also been more or less clear-cut ones for a little while already, LOL?

    1. Shame for the Japanese GP, though, but a single-year hiatus isn’t the end of the world. Until next year when F1 cars get unleashed for the sector 1 Esses, 130R, etc.

    2. Rumour has it that Canada is in the fray again for an October date.

      1. @Señor Sjon – Not going to happen. Montreal is too cold for F1 in October.
        @alianora-la-canta – Similar to above. Past the halfway point of September, it gets colder and colder, and also the logistical-aspect given its location makes it unfeasible to put in there. There simply isn’t room for a solitary North American circuit between Monza and or Mugello(/Monza II) and Sochi. If having two races at Sochi Autodrom would make it hard for Mugello to join because the logistics would clash, then there isn’t any more room in between for a place that much further away.

        1. It had races there before in that time frame. And what is too cold? F1 should also deal with 10 degrees and not always aim for sunny, 25-35 degree weather.
          1977 and before usually fall dates between August and October.
          1978: October 8th (first race on this track)
          1979: September 30th
          1980: September 28th
          1981: September 27th
          1982 and onwards around June

          The logistics… Canada is usually a strange venue for that. In the original calendar we flew from Baku to Canada for the race a week later. Two weeks after Canada, everyone is back in France. It is a bit of criss-cross logistics.

          1. @Señor Sjon There’s a reason June became the traditional month for Montreal’s race. The inaugural Montreal-race in the first-half of October featured 5 C as the ambient temp, only five degrees above zero. People (including those within the paddock) have tended to complain about having Circuit de Catalunya as the regular host for pre-season testing because of tending to be unideal for F1 temps-wise, and they’ve generally been around 15 degrees there in February, so Montreal later in the autumn is worse than Montmelo in February and March, as well as, has a higher chance for snowfall, LOL.

          2. @Señor Sjon The temps in the autumn are just a bit too inconsistent for it to be worth it.

        2. @jerejj 5 C isn’t an issue if the alternative is to have the championship declared invalid and prevent team payments (or to have a delay while the FIA decides whether to issue a waiver, thus potentially delaying the payments). Staff will tolerate some discomfort if there’s a good reason. In the late 1970s there was no good reason, which is why it moved in the first place. In 2020, there is good reason to have it in late September/early October for one year only.

          I’m more worried about the occasional risk of freezing that occurs once late October comes around. F1 can’t race if the track is frozen. (By “first non-European date”, I was thinking more like late September or very early October).

          1. @alianora-la-canta Yes, but the teams and drivers would have more problems with getting the tyres up to temperature in temps around and below 15 C than around 20 and further up in comparison. The latter half of September is too cramped for Montreal to realistically fit in with Sochi there possible twice, and potentially other European circuits, which, of course, are a priority over distant ones for logistical reasons, as well as, the possibility of a rescheduled Chinese GP.

          2. @jerejj The tyre problem is true, and a difficulty. But Canada needs to be a priority because otherwise there’s a high chance of there being no race in the Americas (continued mishandling in Texas and Sao Paulo would take out all three currently-scheduled rounds due to how the virus spreads), which would endanger F1’s ability to be classed as a World Championship, no matter how many rounds it has. (While the FIA can issue waivers, it would struggle to justify them for a series that wilfully refused to meet the criteria when it had ample opportunity).

    3. @jerejj With all these cancellations, I can’t help but feel there’s now an opportunity for Canada to be the first non-European date. Especially since that’s F1’s best shot at getting a race in the Americas, something it needs in order to not require a waiver for World Championship status (given that neither Africa nor Australia is likely to be able to fill in at this sort of notice).

  2. Baku no loss, shame about the other 2.

    1. I like Baku. Has produced some good racing, slipstream passing, the track looks amazing in the old city. One of the better ‘new breed’ tracks.

    2. @JC I disagree with you on that. I find losing Baku for this year more pity than losing Singapore. I’m most unhappy about losing Suzuka and least unhappy with Singapore out of these three.

  3. I’m not really optimistic about the American part of the season either. USA is a high risk country from a health perspective right now, just travelling there would put all the personnel in danger of getting Covid. And Mexico and Brazil, two races in the cities – given the current situation, I see very small chance of getting the F1 there. We will probably get two races at both Sochi and Bahrain and additional races at Mugello, Hockenheim, that should alongside Abu Dhabi make up for a 15 round season. Or or two more races would be welcome, but it doesn’t seem Brawn and Co. are pondering any other European options (Algarve or other tracks).

    1. @pironitheprovocateur Same here. Neither am I optimistic about the Americas-leg, especially the US and Brazilian rounds, although Mexico’s chances aren’t considerably great either.
      Hockenheim is less likely, though, the further into the autumn it gets. Only European circuits within the Mediterranean climate zone have ideal climatic conditions for F1 later in the autumn, so the likes of Mugello, Imola, Portimao, Jerez, and co., are more likely as potential replacements for the Americas-leg, as well as, re-visits to Montmelo and or Monza.

    2. From a political point, America and Brazil right wing governments will ignore covid.. and even demand f1 come and race. Reastically there is no chance F1 will go to those two countries. They should not go to Silverstone either, but that is f1 choosing poletics over health safety. They should come to new Zealand and western Australia for 3 months each, we are pretty much in the clear and would gladly host an f1 season

      1. @kpcart The governments can demand all they like, but if the insurance companies won’t cover people due to outsize risk of infection (which will start to kick in if some places get rid of the virus while others are in epidemic state), it won’t help. Neither will it help if people turn up, get infected, test positive and can’t race.

        Neither New Zealand nor western Australia has a Grade 1 circuit. Make one available, and I think Liberty will take the offer very, very seriously…

      2. kpcart as Alianora La Canta rightly points out, New Zealand is not remotely practical – it has a total of one Grade 2 circuit, with all other registered circuits being Grade 3 (i.e. most circuits in New Zealand aren’t rated for anything faster than a GT3 car). Similarly, as he notes, the only venue in Australia currently rated for F1 is Albert Park – again, everything else is Grade 2 or lower.

  4. Disappointing but not the least bit surprising. Racing outside Europe just looks impossible at the moment.

    If the priority is just to get as many races in as possible, all efforts should be focused on adding Mugello, Imola, Hockenheim, etc. There’s no chance of fans at any race in the next year, so what’s the point in going further than needed?

    That said, I can’t see Abu Dhabi giving up it’s undeserved season finale spot. It’ll take more than the worst global crisis in a generation to wrestle that honour away from them…

    1. @jackysteeg No realistic chance for fans attending races within this year, yes, but I’m more optimistic about next year in this regard.

    2. Which country does deserve an f1 race in your mind? Does Britain, with their disgusting history of colonisation, slavery, killing off far more people than nazis and killing off complete languages and cultures deserve 2 races this year? It is supposed to be a ‘world championship’. Does France with its disgusting history deserve any race ever? The more countries in f1 from all over the globe the better. Why do you think Abu Dhabi doesn’t deserve a f1 race?

      1. William Jones
        12th June 2020, 16:12

        My reading was that it was just the series finale spot that was undeserved, not a race at the venue – and I tend to agree overall – not that I think Abu Dhabi doesn’t “deserve” the finale, but I feel other track have a stronger claim to deserve it.

      2. Typically when I see this asked, the answer turns out to be “a less boring venue”. So substitute whichever venue you like that is sufficiently more interesting to warrant taking Abu Dhabi’s place as season finale.

      3. @kpcart

        England was also very aggressive in stamping out the slave trade, later on. People like you only see the negative parts of history and hate Western people.

  5. Shame to lose 3 good tracks, Baku has become one of my favourites but I can understand street circuit present numerous issues at the moment.

    Suzuka is a suprise but I imagine it will be a struggle with travel with a condensed season as well as general coronavirus restrictions.

    1. @glynh Suzuka’s fate for this year is essentially down to Japan banning people travelling from Europe (and the US) from entering the country before next March.

  6. Jeez!

    I was literally 2 clicks away from buying tickets to Singapore and Japan before this hysteria started in February.
    I was stopped only by my GF asking to wait several days before she can re-arrange her plans…

    I feel really bad for all affected by cancellations.

  7. Vietnam and China should also be cancelled in my opinion.

    1. @Dave The former most likely is indeed going to also join the group of cancelled events, while the latter is a bit more uncertain case.

Comments are closed.