Turkish GP Could Return to 2021 F1 Calendar

Published 04/01/2021, 4:33 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey -Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Ozan Kose


If we asked fans to vote for their favorite race of the 2020 F1 season, chances are that the Turkish GP will take the spoils. For it served an all-time wet weather classic, with cars sliding around and the final outcome changing every lap.

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Fortunately for us F1 fanatics, this Grand Prix is all set to make its return to the calendar this year. That is, if we are to believe the words of our Brazilian counterparts, UOL.

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

In a record-breaking 23 race calendar, the Turkish GP was not originally part of the plans. However, the uncertainty that has arisen due to the COVID pandemic has brought it back into contention. Similar to last year, it is a stand-in for the other more traditional race weekends.

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The FIA has already canceled the Chinese GP, whilst postponing the usual season-opener in Australia to November. The next round in Imola serves as the stand-in, as does the race in Portimão that follows it 14 days later.

The Canadian GP is the first race outside of Europe after Bahrain. And it is unlikely to be held in June as it requires the teams to undergo a 14-day quarantine period. So, Istanbul is the prime candidate to replace it this summer as it has more flexible restrictions.

More uncertainties in the second half of the 2021 F1 season

The governing body’s headache does not end there. As the second half of the season sees races held outside of Europe and middle-east, it is a huge challenge for them. Last year, there were no race weekends in places like Japan, Mexico, Brazil, America, and Singapore.

The South American leg is of even more concern to the FIA as the pandemic situation is worse there. While Japan has closed its borders currently, Singapore does not allow entry of anyone who has recently been to Great Britain, which headquarters of most teams like Williams, McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes, and Aston Martin.

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Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Race winner Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference with second placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and third placed Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Another alternative track that’s been proposed is the outer layout of the Bahrain International Circuit. Named the Sakhir GP, it served up a thriller last with Sergio Perez taking a roller-coaster victory.

So, the fans need not worry about a shortened calendar as the FIA has backups in place. But let’s hope with better vaccination programs, we can overpower the virus and witness a seamless season ahead.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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