AlphaTauri charger Yuki Tsunoda admitted to being sad not to be able to race in front of his home crowd at Suzuka following the cancellation of this year's Japanese Grand Prix.
The 17th round of the 2021 F1 world championship that was scheduled for October 10 was called off last week as a result of a deterioration of the country's Covid-19 situation.
Lead times for the preparation of the event left Formula 1 and the event's promoter with no other choice but to cancel the race for the second year running.
Engine supplier Honda, which will officially leave F1 at the end of the season, was understandably disappointed by the inevitable decision as it was looking forward to a final outing at its home track.
"The Covid situation [is] getting a little bit bad," said Tsunoda who last raced at Suzuka in 2018 and who was equally saddened by F1's decision.
"I was hearing from the government or F1 staff that if it’s getting bad, [there’s a] high chance that it’s going to be cancelled. And that’s happened.
"I was really looking forward, especially to driving in front of the Japanese fans and also driving at Suzuka.
"The last time I drove was Formula 4. I was really looking forward to it, to feel the difference from Formula 4 to Formula 1. It’s a bit sad but it is what it is."
Tsunoda's teammate Pierre Gasly who spent considerable time in Japan before his promotion to F1 with Red Bull, racing in the competitive Super Formula championship was also sad not to be able to travel this year to the country of the rising sun, although he wasn't surprised by the race's cancellation.
"Thanks to the history and the fact of living there for some time and being a Honda driver, it’s been always incredible the support I received there," said Gasly.
"And especially this year being the last year of Honda, before the break I was actually talking with people in the team, my friends and family, how excited I was about going back there after we missed it last year.
“I kind of knew there was something going on, especially with the Olympics, people were waiting to see how the Olympics will go.
"And when I got the news I was obviously very, very sad and also disappointed for Honda not to be able to have a sort of last celebrations all together with the people that supported us for so many years.
"We’re still going to go there in the future, I’m sure, but it would have been nice to have one last celebration being a Honda driver with Honda and in Japan. So it’s very sad news."