A development damaging to China’s position around the world, Formula 1 on Friday announced that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix had been cancelled.
It means the event won’t be held next season, making it four successive years it will not have been raced due to the coronavirus pandemic, as Beijing tries to curb the spread of coronavirus with strict measures.
Formula 1 said the Shanghai event, scheduled for 16 April 2023, would not happen “due to ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation”.
The cancellation means the sport is now facing a four-week break in the calendar with the defunct round in China sandwiched between races in Melbourne on 2 April 2 and Azerbaijan on April 30.
But the 1 bosses are talking to a number of interested venues about filling the gap to ensure a record 24 rounds still go ahead.
A statement from F1 read: “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.
“Formula 1 is assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course.”
The cancellation of the race in China marks the fourth successive season it has been scrubbed from the schedule, despite F1 extending its contract with the Chinese Grand Prix to 2025 just last year.
Curbing the virus
Earlier, it was reported that some major cities across China had moved to cut back PCR testing after the State Council announced a 20-point playbook of measures to refine Covid-19 controls and minimise interruption to the economy and social activities.
Beijing authorities asked hospitals not to turn patients away if they don’t have negative PCR tests for the previous 48 hours. Instead, they can have a quick antigen test and be admitted to different zones depending on the results.
Children under three years old are exempted from PCR tests, with their carers’ results checked instead but inpatients and their caretakers must still present their results.
The new measures were announced on Thursday after the capital stopped demanding frequent PCR testing for those who do not have regular social interactions – such as the elderly, young children and people who stay at home for work and school – to ensure no one is turned away from healthcare.
Guangzhou health authorities said earlier the city would no longer have district-wide PCR testing and on Thursday stated that only people in “risky” posts – people with a higher chance of getting and spreading Covid-19 – must be tested regularly. It recommended residents have quick antigen tests ready at home.
Public places, such as shopping malls, office buildings and the subway, no longer ask for negative PCR test results to be shown before entry. Some require customers to register their presence using the health code app.