SINGAPORE: This year's edition of the Singapore Grand Prix has been cancelled, it was announced on Friday (Jun 12).
This decision was made due to "continuing nationwide restrictions on construction and business activities" brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, said race promoters Singapore GP in a press release.
"While there are still more than three months to go before the scheduled race on Sep 20, we regret to announce that we will be unable to proceed with the race due to the prohibitions imposed on access and construction of the event venue required for a street race to be held in the city," it said.
"Confirmation of the cancellation will also give certainty to our fans, ticket holders, and commercial partners."
Apart from the closure of the event venue, other challenges included ongoing restrictions on mass gatherings and worldwide travel, added Singapore GP.
"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 added.
"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."
TWO OTHER RACES CANCELLED
It was also announced on Friday that the 2020 races in Azerbaijan and Japan would be cancelled.
"These decisions have been taken due to the different challenges our promoters face in those countries," said Formula 1 in a separate press release.
"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."
Formula 1 added that it remains "confident" in plans to have between 15-18 races by the time the season concludes in Abu Dhabi in mid-December and it expects to publish the finalised calendar before the start of the season in Austria on Jul 3.
The delayed championship, which was due to get going in Australia in March, has had to cancel or postpone a string of races due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last few months have been extremely challenging on all fronts, and we have now made this difficult decision which Formula 1 and our stakeholders accept we have had to take," said Singapore GP's deputy chairman Colin Syn.
"Ultimately, the health and safety of our contractors and their workers, spectators, Formula 1 crew, staff and volunteer marshals is our number one priority and we thank everyone for their patience and unwavering support thus far. 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."
Singapore GP will provide existing ticket holders with automatic refunds within 30 business days, or if preferred, an option to rollover their ticket to next year’s event, said the race promoter.
“The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) supports the joint decision by race promoter Singapore GP Pte Ltd and Formula 1 to cancel the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2020, as this safeguards the health and wellbeing of participants, fans and all Singaporeans," said Ms Ong Ling Lee, who is the STB's director of sports.
"Since 2008, the F1 race has generated benefits for both Singapore and the F1 franchise, with many local businesses actively involved in race preparations and operations," she added.
"We take pride in our track record of hosting the first and only F1 night street race for the past 12 years, and we look forward to its return next year.”
The last edition of the race, which was held in September 2019, saw Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel take the chequered flag ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc.