Although the first eight races of the year are set, F1 is still trying to figure out how to sort out the rest of the calendar and work out which races are most likely to be able to go ahead.
Unfortunately, that also means getting rid of some existing races in order to free up calendar weekends, rather than simply hoping they’ll be fine, only to realise that racing there isn’t possible. Azerbaijan had already been postponed, but now it’s been straight-up cancelled for this year – as have Singapore and Japan. A statement from F1 explains:
“As a result of the ongoing challenges presented by Covid-19, we and our promoters in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have taken the decision to cancel their races for the 2020 season.
“These decisions have been taken due to the different challenges our promoters face in those countries. In Singapore and Azerbaijan the long lead times required to construct street circuits made hosting the events during a period of uncertainty impossible and in Japan, ongoing travel restrictions also led to the decision not to proceed with the race.
“At the same time we have made significant progress with existing and new promoters on the revised calendar and have been particularly encouraged by the interest that has been shown by new venues in hosting a Formula 1 race during the 2020 season.
“We appreciate this is still a time of uncertainty and complexity around the world and will continue to ensure we proceed with the 2020 season in a cautious and flexible way. We have detailed and robust safety plans in place to ensure we begin our season in the safest possible way.”
As much as it sucks to lose these three superb races from this year, they’ll be back in future seasons. And on the plus side, it opens the door for some more unusual, non-F1 circuits to take their places (Mu-gel-lo! Mu-gel-lo! Mu-gel-lo!).