Photo: FIA

Pandemic Ousts Baku, Singapore and Suzuka from F1 Calendar

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Arguably the three most intriguing Formula 1 grand prix circuits on the calendar becomes the latest blow to the 70th season due to the pandemic. The FIA announced Friday morning that those intriguing tracks were the Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japanese Grand Prix, with the latter meant they won’t be heading to the “Land of the Rising Sun” for the first time since 1986.

“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,” a statement from F1 regarding the three races being canned.

This makes the sport’s ideal schedule of having 15-18 races as complicated than it already is, but F1 are fully onboard of continuing working hard with the FIA to get the world championship campaign to wrap up at Abu Dhabi in mid-December and finalize the remaining calendar before the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix July 5.

“Following the announcement earlier this month confirming the opening eight races of the Formula 1 calendar, Formula 1 is working with all partners to finalise the remaining calendar for the season. We are confident in our plans to have between 15-18 races by the time our season concludes in Abu Dhabi in mid-December and expect to publish the finalised calendar before we start our season in Austria.”

Not only F1 and the FIA are working on finalizing its calendar, where there’s a chance other circuits not originally on the 2020 calendar with Imola (a track F1 last raced there in 2007) and Hockenheim (dropped after 2019) being front running contenders, but assuring everyone remains safe and healthy on what’s been a trying season.

“As part of the discussions to finalise our calendar we have maintained close dialogues with our promoters and authorities and continue to monitor the specific and varying COVID-19 developments in each country. At all times we will ensure the safety of the Formula 1 community and the communities we visit is the number one priority.”

“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.”

For now, only the first eight rounds of the F1 campaign were confirmed two weeks ago with Austria’s Red Bull Ring being the site of the opening two rounds July 5 and July 12.

Followed by a trip to the Hungaroring July 19 before heading to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix for another double race weekend August 2 and August 9.

Finally, the final three races that were confirmed were the Spanish (August 16), Belgian (August 30) and Italian (September 6) Grand Prix.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media and a three-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography with ambitions of having his work recognized.