Formula One cancels three major Grands Prix due to coronavirus pandemic

The Japanese, Singapore and Azerbaijan Grands Prix have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese Grand Prix, which was set to be held at Suzuka, cannot take place due to the country’s ban on the majority of international travellers, while the races in Singapore and Baku will not go ahead as their street circuits cannot be constructed while the crisis continues.

The Australian and Monaco Grands Prix were cancel earlier this year as the and despite attempts by organisers to get the season back on track the races in Japan, Singapore and Azerbaijan will not be feasible this year.

Competition organisers are still aiming for a championship consisting of between 15 and 18 races, with the season originally set to feature 22 events.

An F1 statement read: “We have made significant progress with existing and new promoters on the revised calendar and been particularly encouraged by the interest that has been shown by new venues.”

Japan and Singapore are two of the most prestigious and popular races on the calendar.

Azerbaijan pays one of the highest fees of all races and the Baku street track, with its super-long pit straight, has become known for its incident-packed grands prix.

F1 is now looking at an increasingly Euro-centric calendar this year, but the sport is still confident of fulfilling its aim of holding a World Championship with 15-18 grands prix despite the postponement or cancellation of the first 10 events of the original 22-race schedule.

Back-to-back British Grands Prix will take place at Silverstone in August, and BBC Sport has reported that two races are likely to be held at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit later in September.

The Belgian and Italian Grands Prix will complete the European part of the season on their original dates of 30 August and 6 September.

The Russian Grand Prix is scheduled for after the European events. However, the US, Mexico and Brazil events are more uncertain because of the high rates of infection in those countries.There is a ban on major events in Texas, where the US race is currently set to take place in October, though the state is slowly reopening.

Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for his handling of the pandemic.The state of Sao Paulo has recorded high numbers of daily deaths this week, and crime is worsening in the city.

The Abu Dhabi and Bahrain Grands Prix could still take place in the Middle East and organisers have said that they are willing to host two races at each of the tracks if required.