Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japanese Grands Prix cancelled as coronavirus wrecks F1 plans

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The Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japanese Grands Prix have been cancelled due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japanese Grands Prix have been wiped off the 2020 schedule as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on this year’s F1 campaign. The start of the 2020 season has been pushed back until July 5 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Races in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Holland, Spain, Monaco, Azerbaijan, Canada and France have all been called off – with just the trip to the Circuit de Catalunya rescheduled on the revamped eight-round calendar.

F1 bosses have now been forced to accept there’ll be no racing in Baku, Singapore or Suzuka this year, with the plug pulled on the respective Grands Prix entirely.

A statement released on Friday morning said: “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.

“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.

“We appreciate this is still a time of uncertainty and complexity around the world and will continue to ensure we proceed with the 2020 season in a cautious and flexible way. We have detailed and robust safety plans in place to ensure we begin our season in the safest possible way.”

F1 last week announced an initial eight-race calendar for 2020, starting with a double-header in Austria in July.

A streamlined F1 circus will then make its way to Hungary, before a two Grand Prix stop at Silverstone in the UK.

Trips to Spain, Belgium and Italy will follow, with Chase Carey and his counterparts then looking likely to tag on a couple more European races.

Hockenheim, Imola, Mugello and Portimao have been mooted as potential venues, despite none of them featuring on the original 22-race calendar for 2020.

F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn is expecting the 2020 campaign will end in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, with the season set to be extended into December.

The former Benetton, Ferrari, Brawn GP and Mercedes chief has dismissed talk a reduced calendar will lead to an invalid championship.

“It will be a pretty exciting championship with a reduced number, so I think it will be a valid championship,” Brawn said. “The best guy will win. We’ll go to a great range of tracks and it will be as valid a championship as any other.”

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