August 18, (THEWILL) – The authorities at Formula 1, who initially confirmed that the 2021 Japanese Grand Prix will be held as scheduled in the year’s calendar of GPs, has rescinded that confirmation and announced the cancellation of the race due to rising infection rates of the coronavirus in the country.
The mid-October event at the Suzuka circuit will no longer be held as race organisers cited “ongoing complexities” that have resulted in the decision to cancel. This will make it the second straight year that COVID-19 fears will hinder Formula 1 events in the Asian country.
An official statement from Formula 1 that contained the announcement to cancel the Japan race stated: “Following ongoing discussions with the promoter and authorities in Japan the decision has been taken by the Japanese government to cancel the race this season due to ongoing complexities of the pandemic in the country.
“Formula 1 is now working on the details of the revised calendar and will announce the final details in the coming weeks. Formula 1 has proven this year, and in 2020, that we can adapt and find solutions to the ongoing uncertainties and is excited by the level of interest in locations to host Formula 1 events this year and beyond.”
According to the calendar of races, the Suzuka circuit Japan GP was supposed to finish a three-week triple header, coming after races in Russia and Turkey as the Turkish Grand Prix had been rescheduled to take the place of the cancelled Singapore Grand Prix. If it had been held, the Japanese Grand Prix was set to be the 17th race of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.
As THEWILL reported, Japan has continued to see an upward trend in infection cases amid a summer explosion and a slow vaccine rollout process that forced the country to host the Olympics without spectators. Recently, a senior adviser warned that the country is in a “disaster” situation at this stage.
Shigeru Omi, who advises the government on the pandemic remarked: “If infections continue to surge at the current pace, we won’t be able to save lives that could otherwise be saved. This is already happening. The situation is like a disaster.”
Organisers of the Summer Olympics and government officials have persistently ruled out any connection between the spike in cases and the recent Tokyo Olympics especially given their robust monitoring and testing procedures. Yet, the news will continue to cause concern with the Paralympics due to start on August 24 and last until September 5.
The cancelled Japan GP means that the next Grand Prix will be at the famous Spa circuit in Belgium, with the race on August 29. At the moment, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton leads the Drivers’ Championship by eight points after seizing the initiative to overtake the former lead, Max Verstappen of Red Bull.