Formula 1 announced today the 17th round of the 2021 championship, set to be held at Suzuka Circuit in Japan, has been canceled over "ongoing complexities" related to the COVID-19 pandemic. F1 has yet to confirm whether it will move the mid-October race to a different location, or simply drop it from the calendar altogether.
Cancelation of the 2021 Japanese Grand Prix marks the second time in a row the event has been canceled over COVID-19 concerns. A statement from F1 places the call on authorities rather than any sanctioning body or organizer:
"Following ongoing discussions with the promoter and authorities in Japan the decision has been taken by the Japanese government to cancel the race this season due to ongoing complexities of the pandemic in the country," F1 said.
Seeing as how the Japanese Grand Prix was supposed to take place just one week after the Turkish Grand Prix, it's possible F1 could decide to simply keep all of the teams in Turkey and hold a double-header, as it's done in places like Bahrain in the past. Alternatively, the sanctioning body could find an available track in nearby Europe to race on. Qatar and Bahrain are two of the locations on standby, according to Motorsport.com.
"Formula 1 is now working on the details of the revised calendar and will announce the final details in the coming weeks," F1 said. "Formula 1 has proven this year, and in 2020, that we can adapt and find solutions to the ongoing uncertainties and is excited by the level of interest in locations to host Formula 1 events this year and beyond."