COVID-19: Formula One cancel Turkish Grand Prix due to travel curbs

Max Verstappen held off Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to win at Silverstone for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
The ongoing 23-race F1 season for 2021 had to be re-jigged with the Turkish GP cancelled next month. Image Credit: AP

Kolkata: The Formula One Turkish Grand Prix, scheduled on June 11-13, has been cancelled in view of several countries imposing travel restrictions to Turkey due to rising COVID-19 cases. A re-jigging of the schedule, however, ensures that there will be 23 races throught the season as announced earlier.

‘‘The promoter has requested that we look at the potential opportunity for the race to be rescheduled later in the season if possible, alongside China who made the same request earlier this year,’’ a Formula One statement said.

‘‘We can confirm that there will now be two races in Austria, back to back, with the first race, the Styrian Grand Prix, taking place on June 25-27 and the Austrian Grand Prix taking place on its original date on July 2-4. As a result of this change, the French Grand Prix will move one week earlier to June 18-20, with all tickets for the event valid for the earlier date.

‘‘We are grateful to the Turkish promoter for their support in recent days and the recognition that the current travel situation made the race in June impossible. We are equally grateful to the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region and French Grand Prix promoter for their flexibility, and the Austrian promoter for their enthusiasm to host a second race at short notice following the huge success of the two races in Austria in 2020. The current COVID-19 situation remains fluid and we will continue to monitor the situation with the promoters and teams, but Formula 1 has again shown it is able to deal with these challenges and adapt swiftly to reduce the impact on the season. We are also delighted that we are beginning to see fans returning to our races with up to 40% capacity in Monaco next weekend,’’ the statement said.

Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said: “We were all looking forward to racing in Turkey but the travel restrictions in place have meant we are not able to be there in June. Formula 1 has shown again that it is able to react quickly to developments and find solutions and we are delighted that we will have a double-header in Austria meaning our season remains at 23 races.

“I want to thank the promoter and authorities in Turkey for all of their efforts in recent weeks and want to thank the promoters in France and Austria for their speed, flexibility and enthusiasm in accommodating this solution. We have had very good conversations will all the other promoters since the start of the year and continue to work closely with them during this period.”