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05 February, 2023
 
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Chinese Grand Prix cancelled due to covid

The sport is now facing a four-week hole in the 2023 calendar with the defunct round in China sandwiched between races in Melbourne on 2 April and Azerbaijan on 30 April.

Source: Sky News

The Chinese Grand Prix that was due to take place next year has been canceled.  Formula 1 said the Shanghai event set for 16 April would not happen "due to ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation".

The sport is now facing a four-week hole in the 2023 calendar with the defunct round in China sandwiched between races in Melbourne on 2 April and Azerbaijan on 30 April.

But it is understood that F1 bosses are in dialogue with a number of interesting venues about filling the gap to ensure a record 24 rounds still go ahead.

A statement from F1 said: "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.

"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 cancellation of the race in China marks the fourth season it has been scrubbed from the schedule, despite F1 extending its contract with the Chinese Grand Prix to 2025 just last year.

The last time the race went ahead in China was in 2019, it was won by Sir Lewis Hamilton on his way to his sixth world title.

F1 and local organizers had tried to find a solution to enable the race to go ahead but, with 10 teams and large numbers of people set to fly in, the obstacles were too great.

Its cancellation will come as a blow to Guanyu Zhou, China's first and only F1 driver who made his debut for Alpha Romeo this season and has yet to experience a home race.

Various alternatives have been touted in the media, including Portugal's Portimao circuit which was used as a replacement in 2020 and 2021 for races canceled during the pandemic.

The 2023 season will start in Bahrain on 5 March and conclude in Abu Dhabi on 26 November.

China has recently been rocked by protests over its stringent zero-COVID policies.

Rare scenes of open descent were seen in cities across the country, including Shanghai, as the ruling Communist Party continued with lockdowns and quarantine requirements.

However, some cities have now started to lift restrictions.

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