2023 F1 Chinese GP cancelled because of 'Covid difficulties'

Formula One has confirmed that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix has been cancelled because of the ‘ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation’.

The news was confirmed on Friday after weeks of speculation that the race would be removed from the calendar in the wake of an increase in the country’s ‘zero-covid’ policy, which includes repeated testing and people being barred from leaving their homes for as long as 100 days.

China is the only major country still fighting the virus with such restrictions, and F1 have taken the decision that is impossible to hold an event in the country at the present time.

The ‘zero-covid’ policy has received significant backlash with thousands of protestors taking to the streets in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai over the last week.

The Chinese Grand Prix was last held at the Shanghai International Circuit in 2019, and up until the start of the pandemic had been a mainstay on the F1 calendar since its debut in 2004.

It is understood to still have a contract with the sport until 2025, but this latest cancellation could jeopardise that.

Back in September, China was included on F1’s record-breaking 24-race calendar for 2023, and had been slated to be held on April 2nd.

In their official statement, Formula 1 added that they were now: ‘Assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course.’

Recent reports suggest the Portuguese Grand Prix, last held in 2021 at Portimao, could return to the fill the void, while other options like Turkey and South Africa have also been touted.

The cancellation of China will no doubt come as a big disappointment to Alfa Romeo racer Zhou Guanyu, China’s first full-time F1 driver, who was hoping to race in front of his home fans for the first time.

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