GULFWEEKLY: The Turkish Grand-Prix, scheduled for next month, has been booted off the calendar due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
While the June 13 weekend, when the Turkish round was set to take place, now remains free, the French Grand Prix moves a week earlier than originally planned to June 18-20 and a second race in Austria – the Styrian Grand Prix – has been added on June 25-27.
The 2021 season continues to have a record 23 races, as a new European triple-header of France-Styria-Austria over back-to-back weekends will help F1 fans race into the summer.
“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,” said Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, in a statement.
The statement added that the promoter in Turkey has requested that Formula 1 look at the potential opportunity for the race in Istanbul to be rescheduled later in the season if possible, alongside China who made the same request earlier this year.
So far this season there have been 17,000 PCR tests conducted in F1 with 15 positive Covid-19 cases – a rate of 0.1 per cent.
F1’s decision to ice the Turkish grand prix comes after the UK put the country on its red zone list, requiring teams that return to UK between grands-prix to spend two weeks in a hotel.
To avoid this quarantine, F1 teams would have been forced to travel straight to France and then Austria, resulting in staff being on the road for four to six weeks.
“Everything is possible but there is a limit of what you can ask people to do,” said Haas team principal Guenther Steiner.
“We need to be respectful, because the people are not going home for six weeks. I think that’s not fair.
“Last year it was already tough and this year, at the end of the year, it will be tough if we get all the races in, which hopefully we do.”
The next grand prix takes place this weekend in Monaco.