Potential Options for F1 to Replace Japanese GP: Indianapolis, Indian GP Among Others

Published 08/20/2021, 7:31 AM EDT
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN: Sparks fly behind Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Sakhir at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


F1 recently affirmed that Suzuka will be withdrawing from the 2021 calendar, which will mark the absence of Japanese GP for the second consecutive season. But, what’s worrying is that there are bigger problems heading in the sport’s way.

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F1 are in a situation where there are uncertainties over many races amidst rising COVID-19 cases all over the world. Japan could be one of many races to back out, with Canada, Australia already on the list. Nevertheless, Formula 1 are adamant that their target is still to accomplish the record-breaking 23 races this season.

As of now, there aren’t many options to choose from as a replacement for the Japanese GP. But, take a look at the probable circuits that could pick up the vacant slot.

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Indianapolis

There is a substantial chance that Indianapolis could win a place in the ongoing F1 season for the first time since 2007. However, for it to receive approval, Turkey will remain the key playmaker. Turkey is currently under the red list of the United Kingdom.

Hence, the entire crew will have to quarantine for 10 days before heading for the next race. However, in this case, a quarantine is out of option, as the next race will commence on the very next weekend, hence holding a time frame of 4 days.

So, if in case Turkey follows Japan out of the calendar, which looks more likely with each passing day, Indianapolis will receive the green light to host an F1 Grand Prix.

Qatar Grand Prix

Losail International Circuit is the best option at the moment for F1, as they hunt for a Grand Prix to replace Suzuka. The 5km long circuit, situated north of Doha, has been an active host for several racing events including Superbike Championship and MotoGP.

The race will also take place under the lights, marking the season’s 3rd night race, following Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. Losail also offers a massive main straight.

There are hardly any COVID restrictions existing in the Gulf, which will provide F1 with much better freedom after quite an encapsulated phase in Europe. What’s more, with no quarantine required, the teams can head to the United States without any hassle.

As of now, Doha also remains the primary candidate to replace the Australian Grand Prix, scheduled for November.

Indian Grand Prix

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This is a fan-favorite circuit, and F1 are ready to host a race in India. Also, more drivers have shown their interest in returning to the Asian sub-continent for a race at the Buddh International Circuit.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 16, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton shakes hands with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after finishing first and second respectively in the sprint race qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

As of now, the option is the least feasible, especially due to the tax complications with the Indian government which was the primary reason why F1 backed out of India after 2013.

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But, with more circuits threatening to cancel the Grand Prix this season, F1 could be forced to approach India to keep the fans on their toes amidst the ongoing battle for the title.

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Rohit Kumar

1137 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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