Three more Formula 1 races that were originally due to be part of the 2020 season have been officially cancelled, championship organisers confirmed on Friday.
Events in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan have now fallen by the wayside due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning seven grands prix have been formally cancelled.
The city-based Azerbaijan and Singapore rounds cited the ongoing uncertainty regarding coronavirus and the long lead time needed for the construction of their respective venues, with travel restrictions proving an insurmountable hurdle in Japan.
Azerbaijan’s event was due to take place last weekend at the Baku City Circuit and tentative proposals for it to be rescheduled in September ultimately came to nothing.
Singapore was set to host its annual night race around its streets in September while Japan’s grand prix at the Honda-owned Suzuka Circuit was scheduled for the second weekend of October.
It will be the first time since 1986 that Formula 1 has not visited Japan.
Planned events in Australia, the Netherlands, Monaco and France have also been axed, while proposed grands prix in Bahrain, China, Vietnam and Canada remain provisionally postponed.
Formula 1 last week unveiled a revised opening portion of its 2020 schedule, taking in events in Austria, Hungary, Britain, Spain, Belgium and Italy across July, August and early September.
Championship officials are still planning the remainder of the calendar with the intention of holding at least 15 races in order to satisfy existing broadcast contracts.
It is understood that a significant number of the remaining ‘flyaway’ events are likely to be cancelled, with a revised calendar concentrating on further rounds in Europe, prior to the final grands prix in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, where multiple races could be held.
It is believed that, of the original 2020 rounds outside of Western Europe and the Middle East, Russia and China are the likeliest to happen, when the finances, logistics and coronavirus situation in different territories are taken into account.
Formula 1 is thought unlikely to venture to the Americas, where Canada’s round remains postponed and events in Austin, Mexico City and Brazil are listed, while officials in Vietnam are believed not to want a late-season race given how close it would be to their early-season 2021 grand prix.
Circuits not on the initial 2020 calendar, most prominently the Ferrari-owned Mugello, have emerged as viable contenders to replace the flyaway rounds, if they are scrapped.
Formula 1 confirmed on Friday that it hopes to publish its finalised calendar before the season begins and that it has “made significant progress with existing and new promoters on the revised calendar and have been particularly encouraged by the interest that has been shown by new venues in hosting a Formula 1 race during the 2020 season.”