Guanyu Zhou has been handed bad news for the 2023 season only weeks into the winter break, as it has now been confirmed that the Chinese Grand Prix will not take place next season, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ruin riot in China.
Formula 1 has not travelled to China since 2019, with COVID cancellations taking place over the past couple of seasons.
F1 officials have stated that they are attempting to find a replacement for the Grand Prix, as taking China off the calendar would leave a four-week cap in the current schedule.
Portimao was rumoured to be the most likely track to stand in for China in 2023, however this now appears to not be the case as a trip from Australia to Portugal, then to Azerbaijan seems illogical and not economically viable.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has advised Formula 1 not to be rash in their decision to replace the Chinese Grand Prix, suggesting that a substitute is not necessary.
“We shouldn’t just fill it for the sake of filling it,” suggested the McLaren boss.
“It’s shame we’re not going back to China. I think it’s an important market. Hopefully they’ll get all their COVID-related stuff sorted out, because I understand that’s the problem, and go back there in ’24.”
Without the Chinese Grand Prix on next year’s calendar, F1 will still travel to 23 venues over the course of the year, meaning that Brown’s claims that replacing the race is not essential hold some weight.
2023 will see the most races ever in a Formula 1 season, even without the Chinese Grand Prix, so dragging drivers across the globe for a weekend in Portugal or Turkey might not be the best option when considering all factors.
The cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix will not be received well by Mercedes, as the Silver Arrows have won every race in Shanghai since 2014, other than a shock Daniel Ricciardo victory in 2018 for Red Bull.
Should Formula 1 officials decide to replace the race in China, the rumoured candidates are Portugal, China or France as things stand.