The Vietnamese Grand Prix has been scrapped from the 2021 Formula 1 calendar with escalating doubt that the event may never take place.
A fully published 2021 schedule is set to be released later today, with Vietnam expected to be a notable omission.
The inaugural 2020 event around the newly-built Hanoi Street Circuit was one of several Grands Prix culled amid a massive calendar revision as the sport grappled with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The axing of the 2021 race is a consequence of an arrest of a key official Nguyen Duc Chung responsible for the event on corruption charges.
While Chung’s case is not the sole cause of the cancellation, reports from Autosport confirm that the Vietnamese Government has engaged in talks with F1, putting forward that the nation’s priorities now lay outside hosting a race next season.
The BBC has suggested that one of the many fill-in tracks seen this year could be a potential replacement for the Vietnam event.
Turkey’s Istanbul Park, Imola and Portugal’s Portimao are the leading candidates.
The 2021 Formula 1 season is expected to kick off with the Australian Grand Prix on March 21 and concluding at Abu Dhabi on December 5.
The series’ latest addition, Saudi Arabia, will host the penultimate race of the season.
The state of the Brazilian Grand Prix remains in arms, with Sau Paulo back to being the likely venue after environmental protests has seen the delay of the construction of a new circuit in Rio de Janeiro.
The rest of the calendar will mostly resemble the shape of the 2020 season schedule before the coronavirus-induced changes.
Formula 1 returns this weekend with the Turkish Grand Prix where Lewis Hamilton can claim his seventh world driver’s title, equalling the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004.