Now The UK's Travel Policy Is Threatening The Turkish GP Weekend

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Photo: Rudy Carezzevoli (Getty Images)

I don’t think the universe wants Formula 1 to hold a race on June 13. The date originally slated for the Canadian Grand Prix, then not once Formula 1 decided Montreal’s request to bar fans for everyone’s safety was unacceptable, is now the date of the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom has just placed Turkey on its “red list” of countries that require 10-day quarantine at a government-mandated hotel upon return back to the U.K.

That’s a problem, because the French Grand Prix is scheduled two weeks after the race in Turkey. While you might think “no worries — 10 days is less than 14,” it’s still not a long enough gap to cover the on-site prep work teams must do well before cars hit the track for first practice.

In theory, the teams potentially could go straight from Turkey to France, though they’d all been budgeting factory time in their schedules, and seven of the 10 F1 teams are UK-based. The French and Austrian races also happen to be penciled in on back-to-back weeks, so forgoing a crucial opportunity to stop home and regroup before the doubleheader might not be realistic.


F1 has acknowledged the conflict and is working on a solution, offering the following statement today via Autosport:

We are aware of the announcement made by the UK government regarding travel restrictions for Turkey and are assessing the situation and will provide more details in the coming days.

The sport could go in a number of ways, potentially adding a second race in France or Austria in place of Turkey, or just outright skip the round entirely. Or, F1 could beg the British government to simply waive red-list rules on the teams altogether, which would be the most convenient, money-saving and I reckon likeliest solution.

In retrospect, it just makes F1's commitment to running its longest-ever season in the shadow of the pandemic look even more arrogant and futile. We’re not even 15 percent through the calendar and we’ve already had one weekend prove a nuisance. Anyone want to take bets on how many of the total 23 races we’ll actually get this year?