Formula One chiefs canceled the China Grand Prix for a fourth straight year on Friday, citing continuing problems related to the Covid-19 pandemic. “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 a statement on their website.
“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 last time the race was staged in Shanghai was in 2019.
The decision came as cities across China further unwound Covid restrictions Friday, loosening testing and quarantine rules in the wake of nationwide protests calling for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedoms.
Anger over China’s zero-Covid policy — which involves mass lockdowns, constant testing, and quarantines even for people who are not infected — has sparked protests in major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
Potential replacements are Portugal and Turkey — though it will depend on financial factors.
Portugal hosted a Grand Prix at Portimao in 2020 and 2021. Istanbul Park last held a Grand Prix in 2021.
Even if China — which would have been the fourth race on the calendar — is not replaced, the campaign, at 23 rounds will be the longest ever.