On Wednesday it was confirmed that the Canadian GP had been cancelled for the second year running because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, though the contract for the Montreal race has been extended by two years to 2031. 

Despite F1’s claims earlier this month that it remained in discussion with the Canadian GP promotor amid reports the race would be called off, it seemed inevitable it would not go ahead due to strict travel restrictions in the country. 

Any international arrivals into Quebec are currently required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine, with officials refusing to give F1 personnel an exemption via a bubble set-up like the one staff used to travel between Bahrain and Abu Dhabi last year. 

F1 2021 | Portuguese Grand Prix Race Preview | Mercedes vs Red Bull

Those restrictions ultimately proved an insurmountable hurdle for F1 given that the Canada round was due to complete a flyaway back-to-back with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. 

Instead, Turkey will again stand in as a short-notice replacement to fill the seventh-round slot vacated by Canada and act as a more convenient logistical solution for F1. 

Istanbul Park, which returned to the F1 calendar for the first time in nine years last November to host a behind closed doors race in which Lewis Hamilton was crowned a seven-time world champion, is hoping to welcome fans.

That is despite Turkey entering its first full lockdown of the pandemic to curb a surge in infections and deaths that has seen it hold the highest infection rate in Europe. 

So far, only the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix has hosted limited spectators and that was only for fans that had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

This weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix on 9 May will both take place behind closed doors, while Monaco is yet to announce whether fans will be present when it returns to the F1 calendar next month after the 2020 race was cancelled. 

Silverstone remains hopeful that ‘vaccine passports’ and easing restrictions in the UK will enable it to welcome a full capacity crowd for the British Grand Prix on 16 July, having confirmed it will be the first round to trial F1’s new Sprint Qualifying format. 

Are more races in trouble? 

F1 has planned a record 23-round calendar for 2021 that, as it stands, includes trips to Asia and the Americas after staging a predominantly European-based schedule last year. 

At the start of the year, Stefano Domenicali said that F1 would be adopting a “flexible approach” to its 2021 calendar due to the ongoing complications caused by the pandemic and revealed it has alternative races on standby if required. 

That flexibility has already been put to the test with Australia’s planned season-opening round being pushed back to mid-November and the return of Imola and Portimao to the schedule, while Turkey’s late inclusion means that three of the five ‘one-off’ events from 2020 have now rolled over into this season. 

The abandonment of the Canadian GP has raised question marks over the rest of the calendar - particularly with regards to the uncertainty over long-haul races in the second half of the season when F1 begins to venture away from Europe.

The Singapore-Japan double-header in early October, and Australia’s standalone event on 19 November, could all be at risk due to their respective government restrictions. 

A recent spike of new cases has led the Japanese government to introduce emergency restrictions in Tokyo amid ongoing doubts about the viability of holding the Olympic Games this summer, not helped by Japan’s slow vaccine roll out. 

Australia’s borders remain closed to international travel and there are fears its strict travel restrictions and hotel quarantine rules could remain in place until 2022, casting further doubt over whether Melbourne could host its first F1 race since 2019. 

Meanwhile, the American leg of the calendar could also be at risk, with Brazil among the countries struggling to contain the virus, recording more than 14 million cases and 391,000 deaths since the pandemic began. 

With eight of the 10 F1 teams based in the UK, it seems the situation will greatly depend on whether Brazil stays on the government’s travel ‘red-list’. 

Any decision on Brazil is likely to have a knock-on effect for the preceding rounds in the USA and Mexico which altogether create the third and final triple-header of the 2021 F1 season. 

Formula E has been forced to move the location for its Mexico round in June away from the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez - the home of the Mexican Grand Prix - which is currently serving as a temporary field hospital for COVID-19 patients. 

Germany is once again understood to be among the locations that F1 is considering as a stand-in for any races dropping off the schedule, with the Nurburgring, which staged a round on the rewritten 2020 calendar in October, and Hockenheim both potential back-up options. 

As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, Canada is unlikely to be the final amendment to the 2021 F1 calendar.