Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent
Formula One will have a four-week hole in this season’s calendar after the sport’s bosses confirmed the Chinese Grand Prix would not be replaced.
The race in Shanghai – which had been due to take place on April 16th – was cancelled last month amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the country.
Despite Chinese officials subsequently moving away from their zero-Covid policy, the round could not be salvaged, marking the fourth season it has been scrubbed from the racing schedule.
— Formula 1 (@F1) January 17, 2023
F1 executives assessed a number of options to fill the vacant slot – with Portimao in the Algarve understood to be the main contender.
But the sport’s chiefs decided against the logistical headache of diverting to Portugal following the third round of the season in Melbourne, Australia on April 2nd, and then on to Azerbaijan.
It is believed F1 explored the opportunity of bringing the race in Baku forward by a week, but it was confirmed on Tuesday that the fixture on April 30th will not be moved.
The season begins in Bahrain on March 5th – and concludes in Abu Dhabi on November 26th – and features a record 23 rounds, one more than last year.
F1 said in a statement: “Formula One can confirm the 2023 season will consist of 23 races. All existing race dates on the calendar remain unchanged.”
The grid’s 10 teams will unveil their new machines next month ahead of the sport’s sole pre-season test which takes place over three days in Bahrain, starting on February 23rd.