F1 Singapore Grand Prix is off, as COVID-19 restrictions make it 'impossible'

·3-min read
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car ahead of his teammate Charles Leclerc of Monaco as he on the way to win the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric To)
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel leading his teammate Charles Leclerc en route to winning the 2019 Formula One Singapore Grand Prix. (PHOTO: AP/Eric To)

SINGAPORE — This year’s Formula One (F1) Singapore Grand Prix has been cancelled, as restrictions on construction and business activities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it “impossible” to hold the annual race at the Marina Bay street circuit.

Race promoter Singapore GP said in a media release on Friday (12 June), following weeks of discussion with the F1 organisers, that it is unable to proceed with the race on 20 September due to the “prohibitions imposed on access and construction of the event venue”.

Apart from the closure of the event venue, other challenges include restrictions on mass gathering and worldwide travel, Singapore GP added.

“These and other measures were understandably put in place by the Singapore government and the various authorities to prioritise safety and are targeted to manage the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said in the media release.

“With these limitations, which continue to remain in place, building and construction work of the circuit, which normally commences in May, have not been able to commence. We are therefore unable to complete the race circuit infrastructure in time for the race to take place.”

F1 confirms cancellation, together with Azerbaijan and Japan races

F1 also released a media statement confirming the cancellation of the Singapore Grand Prix, along with two more scheduled races: the Azerbaijan and the Japanese Grands Prix.

“These decisions have been taken due to the different challenges our promoters face in those countries,” it said in the media statement.

“In Singapore and Azerbaijan, the long lead times required to construct street circuits made hosting the events during a period of uncertainty impossible and in Japan, ongoing travel restrictions also led to the decision not to proceed with the race.”

Health and safety the ‘No.1 priority’, says Singapore GP

Singapore GP deputy chairman Colin Syn said that, ultimately, the health and safety of the organisers’ contractors and their workers, spectators, F1 crew, staff and volunteer marshals is their number one priority.

“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,” he said in the Singapore GP media release.

Ong Ling Lee, Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) director (sports), also added in the media release that STB supports the decision to cancel the Singapore Grand Prix, as it safeguards the health and well-being of participants, fans and all Singaporeans”.

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

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

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