F1 Considers Second 2021 Race for U.S. Following Singapore Grand Prix Cancellation
Singapore’s loss could be a gain for the United States.
More to the point, with the announcement that the F1 Singapore Grand Prix has been canceled for 2021, an opening has popped up that could mean a second race in 2021 for the United States.
Formula 1, which is determined to get in 23 races, continues to struggle with its calendars because of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in multiple countries. It is far more difficult this year than last because of the constantly-shifting rules and the paperwork involved in moving the F1 circus from country to country.
“We thought that this year would be tough at the start of the year and then get easier as the situation improved,” said F1’s sporting director Steve Nielsen, “But the reality is that it is getting more and more difficult.”
This is because of the different variants that mean that countries are protecting their borders from foreign visitors. Most of the races now and being run only thanks to government exemptions.
The one place where restrictions are more limited is he United States, where things are returning to normal more rapidly than elsewhere, even if deaths are still running at more than 500 a day. In Australia, for example, the whole state of Victoria (where Melbourne is located) was locked down last week because of 60 cases. You can all it over-reaction if you like, but Australia’s death total in the last 15 months has been only 910 people.
However, it means that the rescheduled Australian Grand Prix and several other races probably won’t happen. F1 is particularly worried about Australia, Brazil and Japan. And there are also question about Mexico. There are races in China and Turkey waiting in the wings to step in if gaps appear, but that still will not get the sport to 23 races.
In Baku, site of this weekend’s F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix there were rumors that we might see two races this year in the United States, as a result of the ongoing problems. One suggestion is that F1 could go to Indianapolis and use the road course, while another idea is to have two races back-to-back at Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali would not confirm nor deny the stories.
“We’ll see what happens,” he says. “Things are changing all the time.”
The F1 United States Grand Prix at Austin is scheduled for Oct. 24. Singapore was slated for Oct. 3. Japan is currently scheduled for Oct. 10.
Oct. 17 is currently an open weekend on the F1 schedule.
The appetite to go to Indy is not great in F1 circles. It is not a destination city in the same way as Miami or Las Vegas, but if there is the possibility to have a race and there is money to pay for it – there are no free races this year – then F1 will certainly look at it.
The sport is keen to embrace those who have had their interest in F1 sparked by the Netflix Series “F1 Drive to Survive” and want to know more about F1. This new interest is being seen in F1 viewing figures in the U.S., which are on the rise.
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