Why Formula 1 Just Canceled the 2023 F1 Chinese Grand Prix

f1 grand prix of china
Why Formula 1 Just Canceled the 2023 F1 Chinese GPCharles Coates - Getty Images
  • The cancellation means 2023 will be the fourth consecutive season in which the world's largest country in terms of population will not make the F1 schedule.

  • Formula 1 held an F1 Grand Prix annually at the purpose-built Shanghai International Circuit from 2004 through 2019.

  • China’s round was due to take place on April 16, as the fourth race of the season.

Formula 1 has removed China from its 2023 calendar, marking the fourth consecutive season in which the country will not feature on the schedule.

Formula 1 held an F1 Grand Prix annually at the purpose-built Shanghai International Circuit from 2004 through 2019 but it did not feature in 2020 due to the pandemic. China’s strict COVID Zero policy, and associated isolation regulations, precluded Formula 1 from returning in either 2021 or 2022, but it was included on the championship’s 2023 schedule.

It was thought for several weeks that the chance of F1 returning to the country as soon as April was unlikely, with that notion accelerated by recent protests in the nation, and on Friday the race was officially canned.

f1 grand prix of china
China last hosted Formula 1 in 2019.Peter J Fox - Getty Images

“Following dialogue with the promoter and relevant authorities, the Chinese Grand Prix will not take place due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation,” read a brief statement.

China’s round was due to take place on April 16, as the fourth race of the season, and its cancellation now creates a four-week gap in the schedule. The Australian Grand Prix will take place on April 2, and the championship is not due to resume until it visits Azerbaijan on April 30.

Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali had been in discussions with officials in Azerbaijan over bringing its race forward by one week, to April 23, thus avoiding a strenuous back-to-back race weekends with Miami, which is on May 7. But this was met with resistance by the new promoter in Azerbaijan and the race is are now unlikely to change its date.

Formula 1 remains in dialogue with multiple parties over filling China’s vacated April 16 date, but this will not be pursued at any cost just to maintain a 24-event schedule. One complication will be the financial impact of needing to transport freight from Australia to any replacement venue, and then on to the next round in Azerbaijan.

In outlining that it is "assessing alternative options" Formula 1 has nonetheless outlined a bidding process for serious prospective parties to submit their interest. The front-runners are expected to be Turkey’s Istanbul Park and Portugal’s Portimao, popular locations which were both drafted into the makeshift 2020 and 2021 calendars on respective one-year deals, but which still hold Formula 1 ambitions. They did not feature in 2022 as Formula 1 returned to a more normal calendar.

If China is not replaced, then Formula 1’s 2023 calendar will feature a record-breaking 23 Grands Prix, with Qatar returning to the fray, and Las Vegas debuting in November.

Current 2023 F1 Schedule

  1. March 5 - Bahrain

  2. March 19 - Saudi Arabia

  3. April 2 - Australia

  4. April 30 - Azerbaijan

  5. May 7 - Miami

  6. May 21 - Emila Romagna, Italy

  7. May 28 - Monaco

  8. June 4 - Spain

  9. June 18 - Canada

  10. July 2 - Austria

  11. July 9 - Britain

  12. July 23 - Hungary

  13. July 30 - Belgium

  14. August 27 - Netherlands

  15. September 3 - Italy

  16. September 17 - Singapore

  17. September 24 - Japan

  18. October 8 - Qatar

  19. October 22 - Austin, Texas

  20. October 29 - Mexico

  21. November 5 - Brazil

  22. November 19 - Las Vegas

  23. November 26 - Abu Dhabi