Formula 1 has removed the Chinese Grand Prix from its racing calendar for a fourth consecutive year as the country faces unprecedented civil protests over its draconian Covid laws.
In a brief statement, F1 said: “Formula 1 can confirm, after dialogue with the promoter and the relevant authorities, that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix will not take place due to the continuing difficulties presented by the situation of the COVID-19.
“Formula 1 is evaluating alternative options to replace the 2023 calendar slot and will provide an update on this in due course.”
F1 bosses announced last year that the sport would return to the Shanghai International Circuit on April 16 after a three-year hiatus caused by the pandemic – but it has now been scrapped again with no indication as to whether a race of 2024 is envisaged.
It was to be the fourth Grand Prix of the season, after Melbourne on April 2 and followed by Baku on April 30.
sports mail understands that F1 is still looking for an alternative venue for the vacant slot and has a number of possible options. However, given the scale of the F1 operation, a replacement is unlikely to be announced before Christmas.
The cancellation of the race in China will mark the fourth season it has been removed from the calendar. The 2023 season will start in Bahrain on March 5 and end in Abu Dhabi on November 26.
China has been beset with criticism – both domestically and internationally – over its draconian lockdown laws.
The Chinese Grand Prix has been removed from the Formula 1 calendar for the 2023 season
The decision was made following China’s strict Covid lockdowns which have led to unprecedented civil unrest across the country – with protesters clashing with police in this screenshot taken from social media
Calendar Formula 1 2023
March 5 – Bahrain Grand Prix (Sakhir)
March 19 – Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (Jeddah)
April 2 – Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne)
April 16 – Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai) – CANCELED
April 30 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Baku)
May 7 – Miami Grand Prix (Miami)
May 21 – Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix (Imola)
May 28 – Monaco Grand Prix (Monte-Carlo)
June 4 – Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona)
June 18 – Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal)
July 2 – Austrian Grand Prix (Spielberg)
July 9 – British Grand Prix (Silverstone)
July 23 – Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring)
July 30 – Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps)
August 27 – Dutch Grand Prix (Zandvoort)
September 3 – Italian Grand Prix (Monza)
September 17 – Singapore Grand Prix (Marina Bay)
September 24 – Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)
October 8 – Qatar Grand Prix (Losail)
October 22 – United States Grand Prix (Austin)
October 29 – Mexico City Grand Prix (Mexico City)
November 5 – Sao Paulo Grand Prix (Interlagos)
November 18 – Las Vegas Grand Prix (Las Vegas)
November 26 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina)
Cities across China on Friday further lifted Covid restrictions, easing testing and quarantine rules following nationwide protests calling for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedoms.
Anger and frustration over China’s intransigent response to the pandemic spilled onto the streets last weekend in widespread protests not seen in decades.
China’s vast security apparatus moved quickly to quell the protests, deploying a heavy police presence and stepping up online censorship and population surveillance.
A number of cities have also started easing Covid restrictions, such as dropping daily mass testing requirements – a tedious mainstay of life under Beijing’s strict zero-Covid policy.
But sporadic localized clashes continued to erupt.
Social media footage released on Thursday evening and geotagged by AFP showed dozens of people clashing with health workers in white hazmat suits outside a middle school in Yicheng, central Hubei province. from China).
Demonstrators protesting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions throw glass bottles towards riot police in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, in this screenshot from a social media video posted November 30, 2022
Residents clash with workers dressed in protective suits blocking the entrance to a residential compound, amid an outbreak of the coronavirus in Shanghai, China, in this still image obtained from social media video published on November 30, 2022
The post’s author said the people in the video were parents of students who tested positive for the virus and were taken to central quarantine.
In one video, parents are seen kneeling outside the school gate, pleading to bring their children home, and another video shows at least a dozen police officers at the scene.
Signs have emerged of a possible change in the policy of sending positive cases to central quarantine.
An analysis by the state-run People’s Daily newspaper on Friday cited a number of health experts backing local government measures to allow positive cases to quarantine at home, which would be a marked departure from current rules.
Called on Friday, some local community leaders in Beijing’s Chaoyang district said people who tested positive there would no longer have to go to central quarantine.
Authorities in the southern industrial hub of Dongguan said Thursday that those who meet “specific conditions” should be allowed to self-quarantine at home. They did not specify what those conditions would be.
Mercedes driver and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton (right) sprays champagne with Sebastian Vettel after winning the 2019 Shanghai Grand Prix – the last time the sport was in China
And the southern tech hub of Shenzhen rolled out a similar policy on Wednesday.
Central government officials have signaled that a wider relaxation of the zero-Covid policy may be on the way.
Speaking to the National Health Commission on Wednesday, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said the Omicron variant was weakening and vaccination rates were improving, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
A central figure in Beijing’s response to the pandemic, Sun said this “new situation” required “new tasks”.
She made no mention of zero-Covid in those remarks or at another meeting on Thursday, suggesting the approach, which has disrupted the economy and daily life, may soon be eased.
Protesters hold up pieces of paper as a symbol against censorship and China’s strict zero Covid measures on November 27, 2022
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