F1 bosses have confirmed the official cancellation of 2023 Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit.
The race was set to return across weekend of 14-16 April after a three-season absence due to the Coronavirus pandemic, yet continious restrictions within China in relation to the pandemic has necessitated the early cancellation of the race.
In a short statement explaining the cancellation, F1 commented: “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.”
The decision to cancel the Chinese Grand Prix has consequently opened a four week gap between Australian GP on 2 April and Azerbaijan GP on 30 April, with F1 officials originally rumoured to not fill the gap which would of meant an early-season break after the opening three rounds.
One alternative under consideration was to scrap the Azerbaijan/Miami double-header by shifting the former race forward a week to 23 April, yet an agreement with race promoters and officials in Baku couldn’t be reached for logistical reasons.
F1 bosses have consequently stated that they are currently “…assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course.”
Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal, is reportedly one circuit conducting discussions over replacing China, yet the circuit is currently scheduled to host FIA World Endurance’s 6 Hours of Portugal that weekend which could move dates depending upon negotiations with F1.
Other circuits are also reportedly interested in the vacant slot, with a final decision likely to be taken before the World Motor Sport Council meet on Friday 9 December.
Shoud F1 find a replacement race then the season will contain a record schedule of 24 races as planned, although 23 races would still make the season the longest in F1 history even if a replacement race isn’t achievable.