Axed 2023 Chinese GP will not be replaced, FIA confirms

© XPB 

The 2023 Formula 1 world championship will be comprised of just 23 races, after the FIA confirmed that it would not seek a replacement for the Shanghai's Chinese Grand Prix in April.

"Formula 1 can confirm the 2023 season will consist of 23 races. All existing race dates on the calendar remain unchanged," a short official statement said.

Formula 1 was originally expected to return to the country for the first time since the COVID pandemic on April 16, with the initial schedule being published last September.

But last month it was announced that the race was being cancelled because of China's strict Zero COVID rules. Those have since been rolled back only to result in a serious new outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

Almost 60,000 COVID-related deaths were reported across China last week, and even this figure is believed to be an underestimate given that doctors are reportedly unwilling to list COVID as the cause of death.

Organisers in China had been hoping that it might be possible to reschedule the race for later in the season once the latest outbreak had run its course, but this has now been ruled out.

There had been a possibility that Formula 1 would find a replacement race for April 16, with Portugal and Turkey believed to be among the front-runners for the vacant spot.

But in the end,. it's been decided to leave a gap in the calendar and not bring in a new race at short notice. It means there will be no races held in the three week gap between the Australian GP on April 2 and the Azerbaijan GP on April 30.

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT03. 12.06.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit, Azerbaijan, Race

A suggestion that the latter race in Baku be brought forward by a week to smooth over the gap had evidently proved impractical.

Azerbaijan promoters are said to have been against moving the date of the race due to poor weather at that time of year, which is normally chilly and windy.

As a result next year's season will get underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5 and end in Abu Dhabi on November 26, a week after the newest race on the schedule in Las Vegas.

Despite the loss of China, the season will still be the longest in Formula 1 history.

But the reduction to 23 races does mean that there will be a knock-on effect to the number of some restricted components that teams can use over the course of the year.

Reams will limited to four gearboxes for the direction, one less than if the number of races had stayed at 24. But the number of power units is unchanged with drivers still receiving a total of three of each of the main components (ICE, MGU-K, MGU-H, TC).

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