Sports

Singapore Grand Prix cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions

Azerbaijan and Japan GPs are also called off, but F1 still eyeing 15-18 races

The Singapore Grand Prix has been officially cancelled, organisers announced on Friday (June 12), with about three months to go before the event.

The decision was widely expected as restrictions to curb the transmission of Covid-19, both locally and internationally, made it tough for the night race to be held.

Race promoter Singapore GP (SGP) said it could not go ahead with preparations due to prohibitions on access and construction of the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Such works would normally have started in May, and they will not have enough time to complete it before the Sept 20 race.

Organisers also faced other challenges such as a ban on mass gatherings and restrictions on international travel. It is unclear if these measures will be eased by then.

SGP deputy chairman Colin Syn said in a statement: “The last few months have been extremely challenging on all fronts, and we have now made this difficult decision which Formula 1 and our stakeholders accept we have had to take.

"Ultimately, the health and safety of our contractors and their workers, spectators, Formula 1 crew, staff and volunteer marshals is our number one priority and we thank everyone for their patience and unwavering support thus far.

"While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to host the race this year, we look forward to welcoming fans to the race next season and wish the Formula 1 community well as it starts its season in July.”

Singapore Tourism Board (STB)'s director for sports, Ong Ling Lee, said the STB supports the joint decision by Singapore GP and Formula 1 to cancel the night race, as this "safeguards the health and well being of participants, fans and all Singaporeans".

She added: "Since 2008, the F1 race has generated benefits for both Singapore and the F1 franchise, with many local businesses actively involved in race preparations and operations. We take pride in our track record of hosting the first and only F1 night street race for the past 12 years, and we look forward to its return next year.”

SGP will provide ticket-holders with automatic refunds within 30 business days, or if preferred, an option to roll over their ticket to next year’s event.

Ticket-holders will be contacted with more information on the next steps. Ticket-holders who purchased via SGP’s authorised ticketing partners should contact them for refunds.

Formula One also issued a statement, saying that besides the Singapore event, the Azerbaijan and Japan races have also been cancelled due to similar challenges.

Like Singapore, Azerbaijan also needs a long lead time to construct its street circuit, and it is unable to do so in time due to restrictions, while Japan faces travel curbs.

The revamped F1 season starts on July 5 in Austria, with seven other races in Europe. The motorsports body still expects to have 15-18 races this season, adding that it expects to issue the full calendar before the season opener.

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