The 2021 Japanese Grand Prix has been scratched from the Formula One calendar for the second year in row.
Organizers announced on Wednesday that the Japanese government decided to cancel the race due to complexities surrounding the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Japan hosted the Olympic Games this summer which saw a high level of protests from locals concerned about the rising number of cases, and this may have weighed on the decision.
The Japanese race, held annually at the Suzuka circuit, was due to run in mid-October as the third race in a triple header including the Russian Grand Prix and special Turkish Grand Prix. It now joins races originally scheduled for Australia, Canada, China and Singapore that have also been canceled this year.
Despite the cancellations, F1 organizers remain hopeful of hosting a record 23 races this year. Special races in Italy, Portugal and Austria have already been held to fill in for canceled races. There will also be the aforementioned Turkish race.
The organizers are working on a revised calendar which they plan to announce in the coming weeks.
F1 is currently in its summer break and will resume on August 29 with the Belgian Grand Prix.