Chinese GP cancelled because of country’s ‘ongoing difficulties’ with Covid
Next year’s Chinese Grand Prix has been cancelled by Formula 1 because of “ongoing difficulties” with Covid.
The Shanghai race was due to return in April for the first time since 2019.
Protests have been held in China in recent days over its ‘zero Covid’ policies, which include regular lockdowns and isolation imposed on infected people and contacts.
F1 says it would not be able to operate normally in China and cannot justify risks to staff involved in travelling.
The sport’s bosses have been in discussions with Chinese officials in recent weeks but were unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion.
The news, revealed by BBC Sport on 22 November, was officially announced by F1 on Friday.
A statement said the race would not take place because of “the ongoing difficulties presented by the Covid-19 situation”.
China had been scheduled to host the fourth race of the 2023 season on 16 April.
The statement said: “Formula 1 is assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course.”
The sport will only fill the date if it can reach a satisfactory financial deal.
The Portimao circuit in Portugal, which hosted grands prix in 2020 and 2021 when F1 shuffled its schedule as a result of the pandemic, is one of the tracks under consideration.
Istanbul Park in Turkey, another track that returned in the pandemic, is also likely to be in contention.
Next year’s F1 calendar features a record 24 races – the season would be the longest ever even if China is not replaced. (BBC)