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FORMULA 1

Why has F1 cancelled 2023 Chinese Grand Prix?

The 2023 Formula One season will not head to China because of the country’s zero-COVID policy.

Update:
The 2023 Formula One season will not head to China because of the country’s zero-COVID policy.
LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHAAFP

Formula One’s 2023 season will not feature the Chinese Grand Prix after the race was scrapped due to “ongoing difficulties” surrounding the country’s COVID-19 situation.

No Formula One race in China

F1 was due to return to the Shanghai International Circuit in 2023, having last raced there in 2019. The 2020 race, like most originally scheduled for that season, was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2021 race fell the same way. F1 could not honour its contract to race in China last season because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

There will now be no race in the country for the fourth successive campaign after F1 confirmed the 2023 grand prix scheduled for April had been cancelled.

“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,” a short statement read.

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 continues to operate a ‘zero-COVID’ policy, with strict local lockdowns enforced if even one person tests positive for the virus. Those who test positive are taken to a designated COVID hospital for centralised care and remain there until they have tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times, a process that can take numerous weeks.

Reports prior to F1 confirming the cancellation indicated it was not prepared to ask teams to travel to the country amid the risk its drivers and staff could be quarantined for weeks if they caught the virus. F1 staff would reportedly not be given exemptions if they contracted COVID-19.

If it does not replace the grand prix with an alternative in another country, F1 will stage a 23-race calendar in 2023 that would feature a four-week gap between the Australian Grand Prix on April 2 and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30 because of the cancellation.

The new season is due to start on March 5 with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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