Formula One has announced the cancellation of the Turkish Grand Prix next month. The race had been scheduled to take place on the weekend of 12-13 June but when Turkey was placed on the government’s red list for travel its position became untenable.
With seven of the 10 F1 teams based in the UK they would have been subject to the full 10-day hotel quarantine on their return, making preparation for the next round impossible.
Instead the sport, which is still aiming to hold a record 23-race season this year, has shuffled the calendar and added an extra race in Austria. The French GP scheduled for 27 June has been moved forward one week to 20 June and the Red Bull Ring will now host the Styrian GP on 27 June, followed a week later by the Austrian GP on 4 July. Last season the venue hosted the same two races as a double-header to open the truncated season.
The F1 chief executive, Stefano Domenicali, was optimistic that the changes demonstrated the sport’s ability to adapt in order to pursue its target of holding 23 meetings.
“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,” he said. “Formula One 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.”
The schedule change means the teams will have to take part in a triple-header with just one week off before the next round at the British GP. F1 was reluctant to let the slot go empty because of concerns that other races later in the season may yet be abandoned because of Covid-19. The scale of the outbreaks in Brazil and Mexico is of concern, as are travel restrictions in place in other countries including Japan, the US and Australia, with the latter already postponed once this year.
The season continues with the next round in Monaco next weekend, with Lewis Hamilton leading Max Verstappen by 14 points in the world championship.
Meanwhile, the British GP will host an evening qualifying session on the Friday of the race weekend this year, set to take place at Silverstone on 16-18 July. The traditional schedule has been adapted as the meeting becomes the first to test run the new sprint qualifying race on the Saturday. The sprint race, which will decide the grid for Sunday’s GP, requires a qualifying session to decide its grid and this will now be run on the Friday instead of second practice and will begin at 6pm.
It is hoped the later timing of the qualifying will allow more fans to attend on the Friday after work.