REPORTS: F1 Calendar Set for Major Disruptions Because of COVID

Published 08/06/2021, 4:30 AM EDT
SUZUKA, JAPAN – OCTOBER 13: Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and France during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)


Chaos is all set to strike the F1 community, with a huge uncertainty starting to prevail over the 2021 season’s racing calendar. Of course, despite fears, the first half turned out to be smooth sailing for the sport, as COVID-19 hardly caused any disruptions to the paddock.

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However, one can’t say the same over the approaching second-half, which will start from the end of August. The calendar looks peaceful until the Russian Grand Prix, but what follows the race at Sochi could be a tremendous headache.

Will the Turkish Grand Prix take place?

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Earlier this season, F1 replaced the Canadian Grand Prix with a race at Istanbul Park. However, the decision took a drastic turn; The Turkish GP was pushed to October, as the United Kingdom had just slotted Turkey under the Red list.

Meaning, the entire F1 crew would have to quarantine for 10 days before hitting the track, which will consequently bring the factory work to a complete standstill. The decision would have affected seven F1 teams, including Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Aston Martin, and Williams.

Months have gone by, and things have hardly changed. F1 has found no respite in Turkey’s case, with the country consistently remaining on the Red List. But, that could be the least of their headaches, with Japan keen on making things worse.

Japan’s exit set to unravel bigger problems for F1?

Suzuka will be hosting the final race of the season’s third triple-header, followed by Russia and Turkey, before heading into a two-week break and entering the American continent.

However, COVID-19 cases have shot up in Japan, and the questions around the country’s capability of hosting an F1 race have subsequently risen too, according to Auto Motor und Sport. The Tokyo Olympics were proof of that, with the Games being held in front of empty stands despite sold out tickets.

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FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the race and the world championship Pool via REUTERS/Clive Mason/Pool/File Photo

The only option F1 had was to replace Japan with a race in Austin, securing the first double race weekend for the United States. However, that seems far too impractical at the moment, with Turkey remaining on the quarantine list.

If F1 are to race in Turkey, the entire crew will have to quarantine for 10 days, which exceeds the one-week window before the scheduled race weekend in Japan or Austin.

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So, this could mean that the sport will pull out of a race in Turkey, and potentially even Japan, bringing the record-breaking 23-race season calendar down to 21. An official announcement is due in the coming days. So, let’s wait and watch how F1 plans on tackling the obstructions.

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Rohit Kumar

1178 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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