By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) -Formula One will make a second attempt to hold the Turkish Grand Prix this season after adding it to the calendar on Friday as a replacement for Singapore’s cancelled race in October.
Singapore’s Oct. 1-3 night race was cancelled this month because of immigration restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Turkey’s race at the Istanbul Park circuit will slot in a week before the Japanese Grand Prix, which remains scheduled for Suzuka on Oct. 10, and one week after the Russian round in Sochi.
Istanbul was listed in April as a replacement for Canada’s cancelled June grand prix only to drop off again weeks later due to travel restrictions, with a majority of the teams based in Britain.
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.
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%.
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.
“We are delighted to be coming back to Turkey to Intercity Istanbul Park circuit. We hope to see another fantastic race again in one of the best tracks in the world,” said chief executive Stefano Domenicali.
“We have shown that we can continue to adapt and there is huge interest in our sport and the hope from many locations to have a Grand Prix.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Alison Williams, Robert Birsel)