Formula 1: Japanese Grand Prix gets canceled amid COVID-19 cases
The 2021 Japanese Grand Prix has been canceled amid a rise in coronavirus cases in the country. The Japanese GP was due to be the 17th of 23 races to be held in this season's circuit. Earlier, races in Australia, China, Canada, and Singapore were called off this season. The Turkish Grand Prix was initially canceled but was later reinstated. Here's more.
Formula 1 said the decision was taken by the Japanese government in wake of the pandemic. "The decision has been taken by the Japanese government to cancel the race this season due to ongoing complexities of the pandemic," said Formula 1. "Formula 1 is working on the details of the revised calendar and will announce the final details in the coming weeks."
2021 Formula 1 sees Lewis Hamilton lead the show with an eight-point lead over Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Hamilton has 195 points and has won four races so far. The Briton has sealed eight podium finishes. In the Constructors Standings, Mercedes have a 12-point advantage over Red Bull (291). Mercedes have 303 points, with four wins and 14 podiums in total.
"Formula 1 has proven this year, and in 2020, that we can adapt and find solutions to the ongoing uncertainties and is excited by the level of interest in locations to host Formula 1 events this year and beyond," added Formula 1.
Japan has extended COVID-19 emergency lockdown as cases have risen. According to a report in Reuters, the nation announced new measures covering seven more prefectures to counter a spike in coronavirus infections that is threatening the medical system. Japan is currently witnessing the fourth wave as restrictions will now last until September 12. On Tuesday, Tokyo announced 4,377 new coronavirus cases.
According to a report in AFP, from July 1 to August 8, the Tokyo 2020 organizers said they identified 430 positive cases in a population of 52,000 overseas participants and athletes, besides Japanese volunteers, and security personnel. Most positive cases were among residents of Japan. They were largely staff or contractors, with 29 athletes and 25 media personnel also testing positive.
The next F1 race will be held in Belgium this month-end, with race day on August 29. The race will be held at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Hamilton had won the 2020 Belgian GP, finishing ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and third-placed Verstappen.