TJ13 reported during the USGP weekend that the Formula One 2023 Chinese GP was under threat and most likely would be cancelled. The race in Shanghai has been suspended since 2019 due to the CCP’s zero covid policy which has caused Covid suffers to be removed to detention centres and entire cities locked down at a moments notice.
On December the 2nd 2022 Formula One announced the provisionally slated event Shanghai International Circuit on April 14-16 would be cancelled “due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the Covid-19 situation”.
Portugal set to replace scrapped Chinese GP
F1 also revealed it was looking at alternatives to fill the vacant April slot with Portugal thought to be the preferred venue.
China has been a significant partner to Formula One since the inception of the grand prix back in 2004 when the race was won by Reubens Barrichello in a Ferrari. However, since the race was last held in Shanghai Formula One has experienced the growth of activism amongst its drivers and teams.
Lewis Hamilton joined the Black Lives Matter cause and Mercedes even changed their silver arrows livery to black for a season.
Rise of F1 activism since last Shanghai race
Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin have been firm advocates of gay rights with the Silverstone team running the rainbow logo on their car during the Hungarian GP.
Vettel has also been a firm advocate of sustainability and fell found of the local Canadian government for criticising one of their mining projects.
China has been vilified over the past three years for their treatment of the Chinese Muslim Uyghurs who have been allegedly rounded up, placed in work camps and prisons in a process a number of human rights groups have descried as genocide.
F1 authorities concern over Uygurs protest
It surely has to be a concern for the Formula One authorities that the return to China may see one of their participants anger the authorities by protesting the Uygurs human rights.
In a surprise move, the Chinese government announced its was scrapping its draconian Covid-19 measures from January 8th following widespread unrest among the Chinese population caused by lockdowns and detentions.
Accordingly, the promoters of the Shanghai race how now contacted Formula One requesting their event be reinstated on the 2023 calendar.
Will F1 upset China?
This leaves the Formula One management with a dilemma as now both Portugal and China are vying for the vacant GP weekend slot in April.
Yet with Covid exploding all over China and a number of Western countries introducing travel restrictions for those leaving the country time is short for the country to return to some kind of normal.
The history of Covid demonstrates such waves of infection take a number of months to peak and begin to fall and F1 risks placing the teams and personnel in a location where the chance of being infected could still be high.
Chinese unrealistic expectations
China have offered to host a race during the autumn but the post summer break calendar is already crammed and has the most F1 races condensed into the shortest time frame of the entire season.
While the F1 management is keen to fill its agreed 24 race slot calendar Dominicali may feel it is too political sensitive to replace China with Portugal for the original April date. If so then the 2023 season will sill be the largest ever but now with 23 races instead of 24.
THROUGH GOES HAMILTON 🎙️
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Enjoy extended highlights from that dramatic day at Silverstone 👇#F1
— Formula 1 (@F1) January 3, 2023