There was much excitement amongst petrolheads (and just about everyone else in China longing to return to normality) when the FIA Formula One World Championship 2023 Calendar was released earlier this year... and included the Chinese Grand Prix.
It was the first time the Chinese Grand Prix had been included since it became one of the first sporting events in the world to be cancelled (well, initially 'postponed' – little did we know what was to come) at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic back in February 2020.
The race had been returned to its regular early-season slot, and was scheduled to take place at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday, April 16, 2023.
Well, it wasn't to be.
An F1 statement reads:
"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."
It is reported that the decision to cancel was made after F1 learned staff would not have been given exemptions from quarantine requirements in the event of catching coronavirus.
As we know all too well, anyone infected with COVID-19 in Shanghai must be centrally isolated for five days, followed by three days home isolation (no doubt meaning eight days central isolation for F1 staff).
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[Cover image via F1]