Start, Singapore, 2019

Singapore Grand Prix cancelled, second US race among possible alternatives

2021 Singapore Grand Prix

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The Singapore Grand Prix will not take place for the second year in a row due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The race’s cancellation was confirmed in a statement issued by the promoters on Friday.

“We understand that our fans were looking forward to another edition of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix” said the deputy chairman of Singapore GP Pte Ltd Colin Syn.

“To cancel the event for a second year is an incredibly difficult decision, but a necessary one in light of the prevailing restrictions for live events in Singapore.”

“We would not be able to deliver a full event experience [that] fans have come to expect over the years, while safeguarding the health and safety of our fans, contractors, volunteers and staff,” he added. “Ultimately, we have to be responsible, cautious and prudent as safety is our number one concern.

“We are grateful for the support of Singaporeans, stakeholders and local businesses who have helped contribute to the success of the night race. Needless to say, we look forward to the safe return of Formula 1 racing against the spectacular Marina Bay skyline.”

Start, Albert Park, 2019
2021 F1 calendar
No tickets for this year’s race, which was due to take place on October 3rd, had been put on sale. The promoter said all ticket holders for the 2020 race who deferred their attendance to this year will receive full refunds.

RaceFans understands Formula 1 is considering a number of possible replacements for the race. One option begin considered, in order to ensure the 2021 F1 calendar retains all 23 scheduled rounds, is an extra race in the United States of America.

A second US race would most likely take place at the Circuit of the Americas, which is already due to hold one round on October 24th. The additional round would take place a week before that. This solution would involve moving Japan’s round of the championship forward by a week into the slot originally held by Singapore.

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Another alternative could see the Chinese Grand Prix, which was originally due to take place in April before it was cancelled, being reinstated to the calendar in place of Singapore’s round. This could also involve an exchange of dates with Japan’s race.

A further possibility could see the race move to Turkey, which held a round of the world championship last year. The Istanbul Park circuit was previously slated as a replacement for the cancelled Canadian Grand Prix this year, but was pulled from the calendar after the British government imposed new travel restrictions on the country.

Concluding F1 races of 2021

RoundCountryCircuitDate
15RussiaSochi Autodrom26th September
16SingaporeSingapore3rd October
17JapanSuzuka10th October
18USACircuit of the Americas24th October
19MexicoAutodromo Hermanos Rodriguez31st October
20BrazilInterlagos7th November
21AustraliaAlbert Park21st November
22Saudi ArabiaJeddah Street Circuit5th December
23Abu DhabiYas Marina12th December

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2021 F1 season

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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79 comments on “Singapore Grand Prix cancelled, second US race among possible alternatives”

  1. Not sure whether it was reported here, but I did see mention today that the Dutch GP has informed F1 only fully vaccinated people can ‘attend’ (ie. also goes for drivers and teams and everything), so that might be a bit tricky too.

    1. @bosyber More on that coming in tomorrow’s round-up

      1. Ah, so that report I read was overblown then, good to know @keithcollantine; saw yesterday evening that my yearly contribution was paid, keeps being a good spend, thanks!

    2. @bosyber

      Zandvoort will run in September and the vaccination plan is that by that time everyone who wants the vaccine will have had their second shot. The Brits are well ahead of the Dutch, so they should be done even sooner.

      1. @aapje, admittedly, I might be a bit down on that bc. I had my first vaccine shot in March, but bc. it was during the few days Germany allowed Astra Zeneca for under 60, I had to then wait 12 weeks for 2nd (now changed to two days later and Moderna; upshot AZ+rDNA seems to work particularly effective), which will be some two weeks from now, meaning I need to get test to go places until 1st of July :)

        Having said that, I do wonder about Ferrari then – but, I suspect all teams will had time to get shots; esp. as they might need them for several of the asian rounds too. Journalists could be the ones losing out, potentially.

        1. @bosyber

          The waiting time between the two shots is much longer for Astra Zeneca. Some Dutch elderly got upset because they had to wait very long for the second shot, while younger people who got their first shot later, got the second shot before them.

          It seems that Pfizer and Moderna are producing and delivering very well now, so in The Netherlands we seem to have almost completely switched over to those. We are using Janssen (which requires only one shot) for groups for whom it is hard to get in at the right time for the second shot, like the homeless and the military.

          1. Indeed @aapje, having immunosuppressors due to kidney transplant I too got earlier vaccine (though wife who works as kindergarten teacher got invitation 1 day earlier, went w. Pfizer so had to wait a month but then had 2nd dose two weeks later, ie. weeks ago), I mean I shouldn’t really bother with it too much because in the end we are vaccinating millions (are we over a billion already?) in a historically short amount of time, but only human :)

          2. @bosyber

            The first shot seems to provide the most significant benefits in that the chance of serious complications or death goes down a lot, so getting that early is the most important.

          3. Yep indeed @aapje, which is why I went with AZ, for which I could get a shot two days after, rather than having to wait at least another month. I still think that was the safest choice, but with these ‘free access when you are fully vaccinated’ EU-wide policies appearing, can’t help but feel a bit miffed about it, despite that. Okay will now shut up about it, off topic and don’t want to be a downer on what really is quite a succesful health project for humanity!

  2. Pedro Andrade
    4th June 2021, 15:03

    What about… not having a race at all? Running two races at the same track again in what is the longest running season ever is a bit too much. Even if we go to China or Turkey, all this racing is diminishing the exclusiveness of F1. Race weekends used to be special because you had a race every now and then, and I can’t imagine what this must be like for team personnel. How can they even hold families if they spend every weekend jumping around the world? Please cap this at 20-max races per season…

    1. That is the sensible solution. Completely agree F1 has lost some of its lustre for racing every other weekend.

      1. It’s a disgustingly bold cash grab from Liberty. They aren’t even quiet about how cash hungry they are.

        I miss Bernie.

        1. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

          Liberty is by no means perfect, but are much better than the later year Bernie years, in my opinion.

          1. Agreed. I am flabbergasted at people wanting NO race. Are you kidding me? This is my favorite sport, the more the better. If you don’t wanna watch it, don’t watch it, but us fans want to see drivers on track.

          2. It’s better with Liberty.

    2. No one is forcing you to watch any of the races.

  3. I guess going to Turkey would mean moving things around so it isn’t USA-Turkey-Japan (or is it the other way around?), do I get that correctly. Seems otherwise logistics are going to be quite tricky.

    1. Russia – Turkey – Japan – America wouldn’t be too bad

      1. @paeschli Travel-wise, Turkey-Russia-Japan would be more ideal.

        1. Turkey is currently on the UK Red list. There could be a lot of travel problems for staff and drivers based in the UK (most of them…) and I don’t think it is a serious contender. Pity.
          The COTA option is not ideal and there’s little else on the horizon. As long as they don’t suggest a second race at Sochi….

          1. @mrfill True, UK would have to remove Turkey from that list for Istanbul Park to be a viable option.

    2. Japan wont happen either, there already is a rising opposition to Olympics.

    3. Turkey track is painfully boring. Bring back Mugello.

  4. Just leave it off. 23 races are way to many. Cap at 19 max. I feel like the FIA are seriously diminishing the sport with too many races.

  5. Mercedes probably relieved after seeing how things went in Monaco and how they are going in baku.

  6. Has to be a third race at the Red Bull Ring.

    1. You are only able to book either 2, 4 or 6 events at that venue.

    2. Helmut Marko agrees.

  7. Toto Wolff & Stefano Domenicali were guests at the Mugello’s MotoGP race last weekend.
    Just a coincidence?

    1. @thegamer23 Yes. Mugello is financially disadvantaged against some other circuits.

  8. I would certainly not prefer a second COTA, there are so many more interesting US tracks. I guess they lack the appropriate license but just imagine Watkins Glen, Sonoma, Laguna Seca, Daytona Road Course, Road America or Mid Ohio.

    1. You guessed right. All of the mentioned tracks do not have the necessary Grade One license.
      Only Indy seems to be available. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_racing_circuits_by_FIA_grade

  9. A second race at COTA would mean 5 races on 5 weekends – No, thank you! Completely unrealistic.
    I think it’s either Istanbul or Shanghai. Istanbul is pretty close to Sochi and likewise is Shanghai to Suzuka, though I’d rather see them race at Istanbul.
    Anything else isn’t really an option, for logistic reasons.

    1. @srga91 you are not quite correct. If they did as suggested above and moved Japan race forwards to the Singapore weekend to hold an extra race in the U.S., there would then be a one week gap. However, then followed by 4 races in 4 weekends to follow i.e. Oct 17th, 24th, 31st, Nov 7th. And even taking into account the one week gap 6 races in 7 weekends.

      I really cannot see the team falling for this. It’s madness.

      1. @phil-f1-21 Brazil is very likely to get cancelled again too.

        1. Which is what I’ve said for months…

      2. @phil-f1-21
        That’s exactly why it’s a bad plan to host another round at COTA. Even four races back to back are more than teams and their staff can handle. F1 should just let it go and not replace this spot on the calendar at all.

    2. @srga91 An additional Suzuka race on the Singapore GP weekend would definitely work logistically as would Fuji Speedway on that weekend, LOL. Shanghai, I’m not sure because of alleged custom issues, while Istanbul Park would cause some back-and-forth travel because its location is west of Sochi rather than east.

      1. @jerejj
        I actually didn’t think of Fuji. Yes, that sounds even better (if Japan lifts traveling restrictions and that’s far from certain).

        1. @srga91 Good point on Japan’s travel restrictions, as those could still force another Japanese GP cancellation in a worst-case scenario. This would, of course, mean neither Suzuka nor Fuji.

  10. Do another race in Suzuka or even Fuji on the Singapore GP weekend. These are my top preferences. Sochi Autodrom-Suzuka-Suzuka or Sochi Autodrom-Fuji-Suzuka triple. I’d rather have either of these two than an additional COTA race. Istanbul Park between Sochi Autodrom and Suzuka is unviable as it would create unnecessary back-and-forth travelling, but maybe November between Mexico City and Jeddah if both Interlagos and Melbourne get cancelled. Shanghai on consecutive weekends with any track isn’t an option if what I understood once is true concerning custom logistics.

    1. My first thought was also Fuji. It just makes sense.

      But then, Liberty are clearly keen on more American events, so it would be quite the convenience for them to have two there.
      Still, if that’s the preference, I’d rather they went to Indy for one of them.

      1. @S An additional COTA race is unviable as long as the Brazilian GP isn’t officially cancelled because otherwise, four consecutive weekends of F1 racing. Definitely out of the question.

    2. Besides all of these, travel entry restrictions could, at worst, also force Japanese GP cancellation since they, to my understanding, are somewhat similar to Australia’s.

      1. Japan is even more strict than Australia at the moment.
        But I suspect the Olympics will give them a very good idea of what level of risk is acceptable.

  11. What about Sepang, Malaysia as a replacement? However I’ve no idea what their Covid situation is currently.

    1. @Jaspar Would be very viable logistically between Russia and Japan.

    2. Malaysia is currently in full lockdown so Sepang is very unlikely

  12. Can there be a race at Brickyard?

    1. @pinakghosh Somewhat unideal for climatic reasons. Definitely riskier than COTA.

  13. Personally I think the best option is to leave a race out and have 22. But then I guess others might still be cancelled. China is the obvious place to go for either before Suzaka or swapping with it.

    I don’t know enough about COTA. Is it possible to have two different layouts for 2 races?

    1. @phil-f1-21 Yes, but the other layout option pretty much takes away the best overtaking place.

  14. Two races at Suzuka would be a dream to watch. Although I don’t know if this could even happen.

    1. @krichelle I agree, but yes, the probability is another matter, given Japan’s entry restrictions + how viable hosting two events in the same season would be for Suzuka, financially.

  15. Very happy with this. I hope they have enough time to replace it with a real race track (Nürburgring, are you available?)

  16. Contrary to many other commenters, I admire Liberty’s stance of trying to make it to 23 races. Reason: There are inevitably going to be several cancellations later in the year and there would be no time to arrange new races at that time. The number of 23 will go anyways go down to 19-20 as I strongly feel several races towards the end of the season are at risk (Mexico and Interlagos: Simply not practical to go racing in the middle of super-crowded cities. Saudi Arabia: Will the track be ready? Will the Kingdom find enough laborers in this situation to come and prepare the track? Melbourne: Minimal vaccination done so far, circuit in the middle of the city as well, potential quarantine rules for teams. Japan: Potential visa and quarantine requirements).

    Don’t forget that the B.1.617 variant of coronavirus is yet to spread much outside of India, which it eventually will. The existing vaccines produce lesser antibodies against this variant (60-70%). There is also another hybrid variant at large in Vietnam.

    With all these unknown factors, 23 races is simply infeasible, Liberty knows that but won’t publicly acknowledge it.

    But if Liberty doesn’t even try to find alternates now, instead if ending up with a 19-20 race season, we may end up with an even shorter season than 2020!

    1. Add that Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (as well as Brazil and Turkey) are currently redlisted by the UK due to COVID. If either is still redlisted when their race is due, then insurers will not cover the seven UK-based teams to attend either, meaning insufficient cars starting the weekend for the FIA to plausibly let those events run. At that point, 8 races are under threat (since the Singapore replacement options don’t include a country where reasonable confidence exists for handling the race), leading to a potential 15-race calendar… …if no unknown threats make an appearance (such as a problematic strain in a country whose race is not yet at risk). TV requires 15 races to pay out the full fee, which explains why F1 is so keen to replace all the races…

      Hacing said that, Australia is plausible if a sensible attitude is taken i.e. let the Brazil race fall (as is likely due to low vaccination rates and vaccine availability) and use that for the quarantine window. The rest depend on luck rather than just judgement.

      1. Brazil and Mexico are vaccinating relatively rapidly, with 8% of the population per month give or take. Even at the current pace by October, they’ll be more or less where the UK is now. Same with Bahrain and UAE, which will very likely be fully vaccinated by late summer. Vaccines have also proven to be very effective in real-world results against P.1 and B.1.351 with an even greater 4- to 8-fold reduction in antibody levels vs. the Kent strain, so I doubt Covid will be an (large) issue by then.

        1. Mexico is hoping to have half-vaccinated all adults (that is to say, one dose for everyone) by race day. So far, it’s provided 30 million doses (between 21 million people), compared to a population of 130 million (23%). That’s a rate of about 4.5% a month (because it started in late December 2020). Therefore, we are looking at a 41% half-or-full-vaccination rate of total population* by race day if current pace continues (suggesting that hope is well-founded). It’s supply-dependent, though a significant part of the supply appears to be waiting on regulatory approval for CureVac, so there may be a sudden big jump between now and race day. Without that bonus supply coming in, I am doubtful of there being enough half-vaccinated Mexicans to protect the race.

          Brazil started vaccinating later (halfway through January 2021), and has so far half-or-fully-vaccinated 20.3% of its people. At that rate, race day half-or-full-vaccination rates are likely to be around 38%. For various reasons, the immunisation rates fluctuate more in Brazil than Mexico, so there is less certainty about this number.

          The UK is on 53.6% fully-vaccinated (77% at least half-vaccinated) at the moment, and is considering not opening up races to spectators quite yet (the original plan was to have full capacity by the time the British GP happens next month), but isn’t considering cancelling sporting events. The UK was holding some sporting events behind closed doors pretty much regardless of community transmission numbers, and allowing elite sports to travel anywhere until about 6 weeks ago (which is why Brazil and Mexico arguably have a bigger problem getting F1 specifically into their countries now than last year, despite the COVID-19 situation probably being better in 2021 than 2020).

          * – COVID can be caught and spread by children, something which caught out the UK particularly last autumn.

      2. @alianora-la-canta Realistically, the mandatory 14-day isolation for arrivals would have to get lifted entirely as otherwise, F1 teams would have to be on the road for a while, even with two race-free weekends preceding Melbourne.

        1. @jerejj 14-day isolation followed by a race week is no longer than a triple-header, plenty of which are happening this season – and considerably less intense as an experience.

          1. @alianora-la-canta In Melbourne’s case, the time spent travelling would be longer because the teams would travel there straight from Mexico (or COTA if an additional race replaced AHR), so they’d be on the road from when they leave for COTA until post-Australian GP weekend returning to Europe. Definitely impractical.

          2. @jerejj I have my (COVID-19 and travel-restriction-related) doubts as to whether either of those is feasible. So they’d be on the road just for Australia.

  17. This would be a great time to have back to back races in Japan adding Fuji raceway as a ‘pacific’ GP, long straight would make great battles compared to the boring bleak dark 90 degree fest in singabore.

    Its a grade 1 track so its ready to race on also the track is in a similar time zone to Singapore so wont screw up scheduling and it is a welcome break from the million backup European races last year .

    I want 2021 to be proper world championship and not a repeat of the 2020 “F1 European championship(!)”

    Extra bonus is that the Japanese attendance is always high and they are a courteous welcoming people so make the deal F1 and track owner Toyota!

    1. Except for the fact that a vast majority of Japan residents don’t want the Olympics to go ahead there, let alone a F1 race.

      I suspect that is another of the races that may well be cancelled this year along with Melbourne, Brazil and even possibly Mexico & US.

      Certainly if a race in Japan were to go ahead it would be without fans.

      1. The advantages of Japan allowing F1 in over the Olympics (which is out of their hands now, anyway) is that F1 doesn’t occur in a major city (neither Suzuka or Gotemba (Fuji) are major populations centres).
        Also the F1 circus is far smaller than the Olympic one, all F1 staff should be vaccinated by then (or could be), and certainly will be capable of staying within a contained bubble.

        It’s much easier to put on an F1 event or two than an Olympic Games, and an F1 event has a far smaller impact on the host country.

        As for spectators – Super Formula and Super GT have both been running this year with healthy crowds. Although, their recent 4th wave has had an effect, causing some postponements and relocations.
        Still, F1 wouldn’t be there for another 4 months…

        1. @S The issue isn’t event size, but the 14-day quarantine requirement for arrivals from which, F1 definitely wouldn’t get exempted.
          Super Formula and Super GT are national series, so apples to oranges comparison.

      2. @dbradock I’m not worried for COTA, but more so for Abu Dhabi, because UAE is on UK’s red list.

    2. @ccpbioweapon I’d also be happy about Fuji, but you’re slightly incorrect on timing. Yes, only an hour ahead of Singapore, but remember that Singapore is an evening race, so an afternoon in Europe. Japan races take place in the afternoon, thus falling into the morning hours in Europe.
      Nevertheless, the Japanese GP is likely to get cancelled again because of Japan’s entry restrictions, so I’m not hugely hopeful.

  18. Sam Crawford
    4th June 2021, 19:37

    Go to Malaysia, you know it makes sense

    1. @Sam Crawford Malaysia is apparently in full lockdown, so unlikely.

  19. Because of what Toto said?

  20. Vincent Gagnon
    5th June 2021, 3:47

    Funny think is, Canada was finally catching up with the vaccine and Montreal will be up to reopen for international event end august… already signed for two of them in volunteering!

    This weekend was supposed to be our weekend, and we are in the best situation about the Covid since the start of that shit. We even can see each other in our house in Montréal city.

    the hard core of volunteering event can be up to help organizing one grand prix in a hurry in october if needed, pretty sure of it. We are already talking about it between us. Just saying…. but i doubt the FIA will do it.

    Reply moderated
    1. Vincent Gagnon October is unfavorable for F1 for climatic reasons.

    2. Me too, because Canada tends to get outbid by other venues.

  21. Will the cars even be able to run at COTA w the super bumpy surface/uneven substrate?

    1. Through gritted teeth, yes.

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