Baku, December 3, AZERTAC
Formula 1 has confirmed the Chinese Grand Prix will not go ahead next year due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, but is looking at options for a replacement race, according to Autosport.
F1 has not raced in China since 2019 due to the nation’s travel restrictions as it continues to pursue a zero-Covid policy, which has recently sparked protests in a number of major cities.
The Chinese Grand Prix was listed on the 2023 calendar for April 16, but it was always conditional on restrictions being eased in time for F1 to enter the country and hold the race smoothly.
In a statement issued on Friday, F1 announced that China would not be going ahead next year, but confirmed it is evaluating other options as a replacement round.
“Formula 1 can confirm, following dialogue with the promoter and relevant authorities, that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix will not take place due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation,” read the statement.
“Formula 1 is assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course.”
China’s cancellation leaves a four-week gap in the calendar between the Australian Grand Prix on April 2 and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30.
F1 had hoped to bring Azerbaijan forward to reduce the gap, only for officials in Baku to insist they kept their agreed date on the calendar during talks with F1 boss Stefano Domenicali.
It has now left F1 looking at other races that could join the calendar as a replacement for China, which would keep the schedule at its maximum of 24 events next year.
One option could be a return to Portimao, which hosted the Portuguese Grand Prix as a stand-in race in 2020 and 2021 when the Covid-19 pandemic forced widespread cancellations on the calendar.
But no firm decision has yet been taken and is not anticipated for at least a few weeks, with a number of other tracks also interested in taking the slot. Although a European race is likely to take the slot, one challenge F1 faces is organising the freight between the flyaways in Australia and Azerbaijan, and the various costs involved.
© Content from this site must be hyperlinked when used.