Formula One has abandoned the addition of the Turkish Grand Prix due to take place in Istanbul on 11 – 13 June. The country was originally added to the calendar a fortnight ago, before the country was added to the UK’s red list meaning that anyone travelling to the country would need to self-isolate.
It has been replaced by the Styrian Grand Prix which will move into the French Grand Prix slot of 25 – 27 June, while the race at Paul Ricard will move back a week to the 18 – 20 June. This will be the seasons first triple header. The race will take place at the Red Bull Ring which will also hold the Austrian Grand Prix the weekend after.
The fate of the Istanbul race was thrown into doubt when the British government added Turkey on to a list of red zone countries that required all returnees to face two weeks of hotel quarantine.
With a majority of F1 teams being based in the UK, and no exemption for Grand Prix personnel, the hotel requirement meant it was unrealistic for the event to go ahead.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali 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.”
Organisers say that if the situation changes the Turkish Grand Prix could be re-added to the calendar later in the year. Currently, twenty-four races are scheduled, with Istanbul and the Chinese Grand Prix still awaiting rescheduling.
From the start of the year, Domenicali stressed this would not be a ‘normal season.’
F1 said in a statement that promoters in Turkey had “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”.
French GP promoter Eric Boullier has apologised to fans for any problems caused by the late change of date for his event, but was confident of a successful weekend. Saying, “This change of date has not weakened our passion and our raisin d’etre: to offer our public the best event possible.”
“We understand that this modification has an impact on the attendance of our spectators and partners and we are apologize about this. Our teams are already actively working to ensure that the rest of our event programme remains unchanged.”
A number of F1 insiders had hoped that the sport’s owners, Liberty Media, would not replace Turkey with another event.
However, there are doubts still about the Asian and Americas leg in the autumn, still the scale of the pandemic in Brazil and Mexico makes the races currently unviable. While travel restrictions have placed Singapore and Japan unviable
The calendar reshuffle means former F1 driver Romain Grosjean will no longer be able to do his demonstration run in a Mercedes F1 car at the French Grand Prix, as it clashes with the Indycar race at Road America in Wisconsin that weekend.