As China tries to stop the spread of coronavirus, the Grand Prix in China has been cancelled four years in succession.
The sport now faces a four-week gap in its calendar, with the defunct round of China sandwiched among races in Melbourne on February 2 and Azerbaijan March 30.
F1 bosses have been talking to several interested parties about filling the gap in order to make sure that 24 rounds of record-breaking F1 racing continue.
F1 released a statement saying: “Formula 1 has confirmed, after dialogue with the promoter, and relevant authorities that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix won’t take place due to ongoing difficulties posed by the COVID-19 status.
“Formula 1 is currently evaluating alternative options to replace the slot in the 2023 calendar. We will update you on this as soon as possible.”
The cancellation of the race to China marks the fourth consecutive season that it was canceled, despite F1 having extended its contract with China Grand Prix to 2025 last year.
The race was last run in 2019 by Sir Lewis Hamilton, who won it on his way to his sixth title at the world.
F1 and local organizers tried to find a solution for the 2023 race, but with 10 teams and a large number of people flying in, the obstacles proved too much.
Guanyu Zhou (China’s first and only F1 racer), will be disappointed by the cancellation. He made his debut with Alfa Romeo this year and has yet to compete in a home race.
There are many alternatives to the pandemic, according to the media. One of these was the Portimao circuit in Portugal. It was used in 2021 and 2020 as an alternative for races that were cancelled.
The 2023 season will begin in Bahrain on 5th March and end in Abu Dhabi on 26th November.
China was recently rocked by protests about its strict zero-COVID policy.
As the Communist Party maintained lockdowns and quarantine requirements, rare scenes of open descent were observed in cities throughout the country, including Shanghai.
However, some cities have begun to lift restrictions.
Within 24 hours of the violent protests at Guangzhou ended, officials from seven districts in the sprawling port city north Hong Kong announced that they would lift lockdowns.
This change in stance comes after earlier quarantine protocols that saw entire communities, sometimes for weeks, locked down when a single positive case was discovered.
National health officials stated earlier this week that China will respond to “urgent concern” raised by the public. They also suggested that COVID rules be more flexible, depending on the severity of each outbreak.