Formula One on Friday canceled the Singapore Grand Prix for the second year in a row because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The street course race in Singapore under floodlights had been scheduled for Oct. 3.
Singapore has largely relied on tight entry restrictions and contact tracing to keep infections low during the pandemic. Organizers said they would not be able to deliver “a full event experience fans have come to expect over the years, while safeguarding the health and safety of our fans, contractors, volunteers and staff.”
“We understand that our fans were looking forward to another edition of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix,” said Colin Syn, deputy chairman of the Singapore GP. “To cancel the event for a second year is an incredibly difficult decision, but a necessary one in light of the prevailing restrictions for live events in Singapore.
The pandemic has already caused numerous changes to the 2021 calendar. The season-opener in Australia was postponed from March to November and the Canadian Grand Prix set for June 13 was canceled. Two other races in China and Turkey were postponed indefinitely.
As speculation mounted earlier Friday about Singapore’s imminent removal from the schedule, reports indicated F1 might schedule a second event in the United States this season. The series is scheduled to race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 24.
The 2021 Singapore Grand Prix was scheduled to race Oct. 3 between the Russian and Japanese grand prix. The current schedule has a two-week window between the Oct. 10 race in Japan and the Oct. 24 race in Austin. After the Texas race, F1 travels to Mexico City the following week.
COTA Chairman Bobby Epstein told The Associated Press discussions of a second race in the U.S., or a second race at COTA, are “paddock rumors.”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted F1 from 2000 to 2007 and new track owner Roger Penske wants the series back at the speedway. Penske told AP “we’re not in any position at the moment” to host F1 in 2021.
Indianapolis last weekend hosted 135,000 spectators for the Indianapolis 500 for the largest sporting event in the world since the start of the pandemic.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Formula One held consecutive races at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, Silverstone in England and the Bahrain International Circuit. In each case, the season calendar was arranged to allow two weeks at each track.