Formula 1 has cancelled the Japanese, Singapore and Azerbaijan Grands Prix due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The racing organisation had been trying hard to figure out a way to organise as many races as possible in 2020. But on Friday, they announced that it wouldn't be possible to conduct several races in such an uncertain global situation.
The racing event at Suzuka has been called off due to Japan's decision to ban international travellers.
On the other hand, races in Baku and Singapore couldn't be held because the respective street circuits couldn't be built in the current climate.
The recent cancellations mean that F1 has lost another three Grands Prix due to the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has already cancelled the season-opening race in Australia, the Monaco event, as well as the returning Dutch GP.
In a statement, F1 said, "These decisions have been taken due to the different challenges our promoters face in those countries. 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 with the race."
F1 was looking forward to the events in Japan and Singapore, given that they are two of the most popular and prestigious races on the calendar.
Earlier this month, the F1 had announced the opening eight races of a revised calendar for the 2020 season, beginning with the Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring in the first weekend of July.
Since then, F1 has been confident of conducting between 15-18 races by the time the season concludes in December in Abu Dhabi. The recent cancellations are a huge setback that could affect that plan.
It is expected that a new racing calendar for 2020 would be published officially before the season finally begins in Austria.
Suzuka happens to be one of the most challenging tracks that continuously tests the racers both physically and mentally, given its hot, humid, and bumpy conditions and the race's overall length. That particular event is also a significantly profitable one.
Azerbaijan, on the other hand, is among the highest payers of all races. Also, the Baku track is known for its thrilling races, courtesy of its super-long pit straight.
It's clear that F1 is currently looking at an increasingly Europe-centric calendar this year.