Motor racing-No replacement for Russian GP, F1 season now 22 races

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia - September 25, 2021 General view as race marshall are seen on the track ahead of qualifying REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

LONDON (Reuters) -Formula One's 2022 season will be reduced to 22 races after the sport said on Wednesday it would not be replacing the cancelled Russian Grand Prix on Sept. 25 despite interest from other countries.

Formula One had scheduled a record 23 rounds this year but the race in Sochi was called off in February and the contract terminated in early March after the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The sport had said it would fill the slot, with various options including Qatar and Turkey as well as a second race in Singapore, but there will now be an extra break before the Singapore-Japan double header.

Another race in Europe was considered too much of a logistical challenge while temperatures in Qatar -- which returns to the calendar next year as part of a 10-year agreement -- raised concerns.

Formula One also had to balance the commercial value of holding a 23rd race over the additional costs placed on all concerned, with teams already wrestling with inflationary pressures and more expensive hotels and flights.

The decision not to add a replacement was announced on the official website

It means there will now be a two-weekend break between the Aug 28 to Sept. 11 European triple header of Belgium-Netherlands-Italy and Singapore-Japan on Oct 2 and 9.

Formula One is set to expand again next season, with a Las Vegas night race set to debut as a third round in the United States.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by John Stonestreet and Martyn Herman)

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