LONDON (AP) — Formula One confirmed Friday that the Chinese Grand Prix will not take place in 2023, making it the fourth year in a row the race has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
F1 has not visited the Shanghai circuit since 2019 as China pursues a strict policy of local lockdowns, virus tests and entry restrictions during the pandemic, long after other countries on the F1 calendar eased many of their measures. The “zero-COVID” approach has led to rare protests within China in recent weeks.
“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,” F1 said in a statement.
“Formula 1 is assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course.”
F1 extended its contract with the Chinese Grand Prix through to 2025 last year.
The race was scheduled for April 16 as the fourth race of a record 24-race season. It would have been a first home race for Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese driver in F1 who made his debut with Alfa Romeo this season and is signed for next year.
China held last year’s Winter Olympics in a so-called “bubble” environment with regular virus tests for participants, but has hosted few other international sports events during the pandemic.