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F1's calendar conundrum after Japan cancellation

F1's calendar conundrum after Japan cancellation

F1 News

F1's calendar conundrum after Japan cancellation

F1's calendar conundrum after Japan cancellation

F1 faces uncertainty over the remainder of the season after the cancellation of yet another grand prix.

The Japanese Grand Prix was cancelled on Wednesday [August 18] to reduce the number of races now scheduled to 21 of the promised 23.

With F1 insisting on a 23 race calendar and the loss of the Australian Grand Prix from its already rearranged November slot, the sport already had a mountain to climb to find viable options to meet its targeted number of events.

So what stands in the way of fulfilling such a target?

Covid issues threaten to reduce calendar further

The loss of Japan from the calendar puts the Turkish Grand Prix in doubt once more.

F1 was slated to return to Istanbul Park in the earlier stages of the season as a replacement for the cancelled Canadian Grand Prix but was forced to miss out due to its red-listing by the UK government on the Covid-19 travel list.

Whilst this listing remained for the new slot between Russia and Japan, the trip to Suzuka would have taken away the need for those returning to the UK to quarantine in a hotel upon arrival.

Not only would quarantining stop work from being done and keep F1's workforce away from families, but the cost of every person staying in a hotel would also be an unnecessary financial strain in a cost cap era.

Turkey isn't the only race to be threatened with concerns remaining over the Americas stint on the calendar. The US, Mexican and Brazilian events are all still on the calendar but the Covid situation remains unstable.

All in all, there is a chance the calendar could lose up to four more events depending on how each nation's situation evolves.

Which tracks could step in?

As we discussed at the time of the Australian Grand Prix cancellation, F1 will be limited on its choice of circuits to replace grands prix to bump the number of races back to 23.

With the events set to be held across October and November, European tracks that helped out last season may be a risk given weather conditions.

The Eifel Grand Prix lost a day of running due to adverse weather so that would be a gamble to return so late in the year, the same could be said of Mugello.

A first grand prix at the Losail circuit in Qatar would need a lot of political wrangling given the presence of Bahrain and the UAE on the calendar, whilst other Asian venues like Malaysia and a reinstatement of China would come down to the Covid situation.

That leaves the possibility of double-headers at the season-ending Saudi Arabian and Abu Dhabi events. How willing F1 would be for this eventuality remains to be seen.

The task F1 has to ensure the calendar is set is not enviable but it must happen soon. With such an exciting title battle raging on between Mercedes and Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, we cannot be left in a position of second-guessing how many races remain.

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