Formula 1 has confirmed that the originally scheduled Grand Prix events based in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Over the last few months, F1 has been arranging a revised schedule ahead of its Austrian Grand Prix opener on 5 July, with the opening eight European races already confirmed.
An F1 spokesperson stated: “As a result of the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, we and our promoters in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have taken the decision to cancel their races for the 2020 season.
“These decisions have been taken due to the different challenges our promoters face in those countries. In Singapore and Azerbaijan, the long lead times required to construct street circuits made hosting the events during a period of uncertainty impossible and in Japan, ongoing travel restrictions also led to the decision not to proceed with the race.
It is expected that the competition will host between 15-18 races, however, F1’s venue destinations are slowly decreasing with more circuits becoming unavailable for the 2020 campaign. Nevertheless, despite these setbacks the competition organisers seem optimistic that a complete schedule will be announced before July’s first event.
The spokesperson continued: “At the same time we have made significant progress with existing and new promoters on the revised calendar and have been particularly encouraged by the interest that has been shown by new venues in hosting a Formula 1 race during the 2020 season.”
According to BBC Sport, F1 is exploring the option of hosting the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal around September, with the move likely expected to place the Sochi Russian Grand Prix in October. Additionally, there is uncertainty over the viability of hosting races in the United States, Mexico and Brazil due to the severity of COVID-19.
Yesterday, F1’s motorsports chief Ross Brawn provided extra context as to how planning and preparation is going leading up to the competition’s opener, highlighting that negations still remain positive.
Brawn said: “We have lots of different options and we’re very confident we’re going to have a great second half of the season.
“There is a contingency to have an extended European season with another one or two races if needed. I think Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will be the backstop of the season from what we can see at the moment. That gives us 10. We’ll find at least five or six good races in the middle.”
Other European destinations, such as Italian tracks Mugello and Imola, alongside Portimao in Portugal, and Hockenheim in Germany are all understood to also be under consideration.