Following the latest ruling party congress in China where more than 2,300 delegates met wearing blue surgical masks under China’s strict “zero-COVID” policy, it was reaffirmed that China would continue with its pursuit of eliminating Covid-19 entirely which at present outlaws certain kinds of public meeting.
Formula One was due to return to China after a 3 seasons away from the Asian event which started with the cancelation of the 2020 GP in Shanghai following the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan.
Zhou reveals Chinese GP cancelled
Ted Kravitz reported in his ‘notebook’, “Zhou Guanyu is saying its unlikely now that we’re going to have the Chinese GP [in 2023] after the big party conference in China. They’re going to stay with the zero covid policy.”
“So that prevents the Chinese GP from happening – I can only imagine how disappointed Zhou Guano is not be be having a home GP, though that seems to be what’s happening for next year’s calendar.”
Zhou recently signed a contract extension with Alfa Romeo for next year, though in Mexico he performed particularly badly in P12 though was almost three quarters of a second slower than team mate Valterri Bottas.
If the Shanghai race is not replaced this will have wider implications for the Formula One teams. The FIA regulations allow an increase from 3 to 4 power units before penalties are awarded for a season where there are 24 events or more.
23 races means less power units allowed by the FIA
The cancelation of the Chinese GP will mean the teams will be forced to run under this seasons regulations where penalties kick in broadly at the introduction of the 4th elements of the power unit.
Certain drivers are now on their 6th power unit elements and there have been calls for the FIA to increase the alliance to prevent mass grid drops when teams en masse decide to take penalties at circuits like Spa and Monza where overtaking is easier and the grid drop penalty less punitive.
The Asia race was slated for April 16th next year, so there is not a huge amount of time for a new race promoter and a different venue to step into the breach.
Further there are only certain locations in the world appropriate to run an F1 event when the European weather can still be highly unreliable.
Could the French GP return?
The French GP was dropped from next season due to the arrival of Las Vegas and the return of China because the teams have only agreed to a maximum 24 race calendar.
So Paul Ricard could see a late return to the 1 calendar for the April weekend. This season the Emilia Romania GP in Italy was held between April 22-24, though given the weather conditions it has been awarded a later slot towards to end of May for 2023.
Whether Formula One will ever return to China now is yet to be seen, though certain drivers may not be unhappy about this having expressed concerns over human rights in the world’s second largest economy.
Toto Wolff reacts to a thrilling Mexico City Grand Prix qualifying as George Russell and Lewis Hamilton came close to securing pole 💪 pic.twitter.com/Xo5AR9Twgw
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