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Motor racing F1 returns to Turkey after cancellation of Singapore race

The Turkish Grand Prix is back on this year’s Formula One calendar for the second time after the race in Singapore had been cancelled.

“We hope to see another fantastic race again in one of the best tracks in the world,” F1 president Stefano Domenicali said on Friday.

The Istanbul Park circuit takes the place of the canceled night race on the Singapore street circuit on October 3. 

Singapore dropped out June 4, with F1 citing “safety and logistic concerns” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey was originally a stopgap replacement for another canceled race in Canada but was cut last month and replaced with a second race in Austria when Britain introduced tougher travel restrictions on Turkey.

Most F1 teams are based in Britain.

READ MORE: Istanbul poised to host 8th Turkish F1 Grand Prix

Bypassing quarantine requirements

It will be the ninth edition of the Turkish Grand Prix. 

The race was held every year from 2005 through 2011 and was resurrected last year when other events were called off amid the pandemic.  Lewis Hamilton won the 2020 race.

Turkey’s race at the Istanbul Park circuit will slot in a week before the Japanese Grand Prix, which remains scheduled for Suzuka on October 10, and one week after the Russian round in Sochi.

Turkey is on the British government’s “red list” of countries which require 10 days of hotel quarantine for returning travellers.

By staying in Japan for a few extra days, Formula One can bypass that quarantine requirement, however, assuming Turkey remains on that list in October.

READ MORE: Formula 1 returns to Istanbul after nine years

Strict safety protocols

The Turkish race will come after the Tokyo Olympics, with some 100,000 people from all over the world expected to enter Japan for that event.

Japan’s MotoGP race at Motegi, which was scheduled for the first week in October, was cancelled this week due to travel complications and logistical restrictions but Formula One expects its race to go ahead.

“After discussions with other promoters we are confident that we will be able to travel to the following race under our strict safety protocols,” it said in a statement.

Formula One is operating under strict protocols, with teams in “bubbles” and frequent testing for Covid-19 of all personnel and media.

More than 44,000 tests have been carried out this year with 27 positive cases, representing a rate of 0.06 percent.

The sport said a significant proportion of the travelling community had been vaccinated, with all having the opportunity to get shots before the end of the European summer.

Turkey returned to Formula One last year, for the first time since 2011, as a replacement venue on a shortened 17-race schedule.

READ MORE: F1 season to start in Bahrain as China Grand Prix on the back burner

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