FORMULA One scrapped all four of this season’s races in the Americas due to the Covid-19 pandemic yesterday and added three European rounds, including old favourites Imola and the Nuerburgring, to the calendar.
While previously scheduled Grands Prix in Canada, Texas, Mexico and Brazil were cancelled, Formula One said in a statement that Portugal’s Portimao will host a race for the first time.
“Due to the fluid nature of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, local restrictions and the importance of keeping communities and our colleagues safe, it will not be possible to race in Brazil, USA, Mexico and Canada this season,” it said.
The cancellations take the tally of races axed from the original 2020 calendar to 11.
The other casualties of Covid-19 are Australia, France, Monaco, the Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan.
The revised schedule now has 13 rounds, with Formula One aiming for a reduced championship of between 15 and 18 with final races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in mid-December.
Fifteen Grands Prix is the minimum needed to fulfil television contracts.
China’s postponed race in Shanghai is also expected to be cancelled but Vietnam remains in play and there has been talk of returning to Malaysia’s Sepang.
Formula One, whose commercial rights are held by US-based Liberty Media, said it looked forward to returning to the Americas next season.
The US on Thursday passed more than 4 million coronavirus infections since the first US case in January, according to a Reuters tally.