Chinese GP set to be cancelled… again

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For the fourth year in succession, the Chinese Grand Prix is set to be dropped from Formula 1's calendar due to Covid.

Like several other races, the event in Shanghai was cancelled in 2020 and in 2021 to restrictions linked to the global pandemic.

Last year, there had been hopes that the race would be reinstated in 2022, but China's 'Zero Covid' lockdown policy failed to rein in transmissions which led to another cancellation and to the race's replacement by the Emila Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

However, last September, China was once again added to the sport's agenda, with a mid-April date. But China currently faces a surge in cases, with the country reporting its first deaths of Covid patients in nearly six months.

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As the world's last economy to enforce strict measures, China is struggling to curtail transmission chains through border restrictions, extensive quarantines, and never-ending lockdowns on entire cities or neighborhoods.

According to BBC Sport, F1 has now opted to scrap the race from its calendar as it does not want to risk paddock members catching Covid and then being detained for days in isolation as China's rules are enforced.

Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali has yet to officially communicate the sport's decision.

Alfa Romeo charger Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese driver to race in F1, was looking forward to performing in his home country. But last weekend in Abu Dhabi, given his country's situation, Zhou expressed his concerns over the April event taking place.

"There’s no doubt, I knew it was always going to be tricky, the moment I saw it was for April," Zhou explained.

"I was always expecting the second half of the season to have the Chinese Grand Prix. So when I saw it was April, I knew it was going to be a big rush to make sure everything is good, because with the Covid restrictions in China, you still need to quarantine – so it’s going to make things more complicated."

China's cancellation will reduce F1's calendar to 23 races. It's uncertain if the sport will seek to replace the Chinese Grand Prix, but teams will undoubtedly be happy if it doesn't.

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