On Wednesday morning it was announced that this season’s Japanese GP had been called off for the second year running due to concerns surrounding a rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The race, which was due to be held on October 10 as the 17th of 23 rounds on the 2021 calendar, would have marked a farewell home event for Honda. It is also the home race for AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda, who would have been the first Japanese F1 driver to race at Suzuka since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014. 

The Japanese manufacturer, which supplies engines to the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams and sponsors the race through its Mobilityland company, is leaving F1 at the end of the season.

“It is unfortunate that, for a second consecutive year, it has not been possible to hold the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix at Suzuka,” a Honda statement read.

"As Honda, we are particularly disappointed, because this is the final year of our Formula 1 project and we know that so many fans were looking forward to attending the event.

"The 2021 season is now heading for an exciting climax and we will be giving our all, fighting hard all the way to achieve our goal of winning the championships as this Honda Formula 1 project comes to an end and we hope our fans will continue to support us.

“Lastly, as the title sponsor of the event, we would like to thank Mobilityland and Formula 1 for working so hard right up to the very last moment, to try and stage the Grand Prix.”

Honda has powered Red Bull to six victories already this season in its ultra-close battle against Mercedes for the world championship titles.

F1 is set to announce a revised 2021 calendar in the coming weeks.