With Formula 1 having recently confirmed that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix will be unable to take place once again, the attention has switched to what venue could replace the Shanghai International Circuit.
As a result of their incredibly strict COVID-19 guidelines, F1 had no choice but to cancel the Chinese GP for what is now three years on the trot.
The cancellation of the Chinese GP does create a rather large problem for the sport to deal with, as a four-week break has now appeared.
The Chinese GP was meant to take place two weeks after the Australian Grand Prix and two weeks before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, meaning there is currently four weeks between the two races.
A return to Portugal and the Algarve International Circuit has already been rumoured as a potential replacement to take the Chinese GP’s spot; however, a return to Turkey is also an option.
Logistically, a race in Istanbul would make more sense, given how close Turkey is to Azerbaijan, therefore reducing the cost of sending everything to Baku.
The president of Portugal’s automobile federation confirmed that Portimao isn’t the only contender and confirmed Turkey’s interest.
“Portugal is not the only interested country,” Fernando Machado Ni Armorim confirmed to Lusa news agency.
“Turkey is also in the running,” he added.
Whilst a four-week break is far from ideal at the start of the season, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has called for the sport to consider letting the break take place.
Brown doesn’t want to see a race introduced “just to fill a spot”, with the American wanting a replacement to represent an “important market”.
“We shouldn’t have a grand prix just to fill a spot,” he insisted.
“It’s too bad that we won’t be back in China next year. It’s an important market for us so I hope they will sort out all the issues with covid-19 and we can return in 2024.”
Going back to Ni Armorim, it was confirmed talks are taking place with the Portuguese government, to figure out if the fees are available to host a Grand Prix.
“It will depend on whether there are funds,” Ni Armorim admitted.
“The fees are expensive, but the return justifies the investment. At the moment I don’t know the request amounts, because we are not at that stage of the negotiation.
“But the federation will do everything in its power to help make this project viable.”