A glimmer of hope for Chinese Grand Prix to return to F1 2023 calendar

Henry Valantine
The 2019 Chinese Grand Prix formation lap starts.

The cars set off on the formation lap of the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix

Organisers of the Chinese Grand Prix are reportedly holding talks with Formula 1 over returning to its place on the 2023 calendar, as COVID-19 restrictions finally ease in the country.

China has not featured on the Formula 1 calendar since hosting the 1000th official grand prix in 2019, with each of the past three seasons cancelled due to the pandemic.

But the Chinese branch of Motorsport.com reports that organisers in the country are hoping to return to the mid-April slot the Chinese Grand Prix had also vacated in 2023, with the nation’s strict ‘Zero-COVID’ policy not previously allowing for large-scale sporting events to take place.

The report claims organisers have already spoken internally about the prospect of returning to the calendar and have made contact with Formula 1 about doing so, and talks are set to pick up again now that the new year has passed.

This comes in the wake of news that the Chinese government is set to relax its quarantine policy surrounding foreign visitors to the country, with its long-standing mandatory quarantine period upon arrival set to end by 8 January.

The Chinese Grand Prix had been pencilled to be the fourth round of a record 24-race calendar in 2023, held from 14-16 April.

Formula 1 has not yet announced a replacement race for it – with the sport’s official website currently listing that weekend’s grand prix as “TBC”, hinting that they are intent on filling a full 24-race schedule and avoiding a four-week break between races early in the season.

With the initial slot remaining free and enough time remaining for logistics to be put in place, with shipping for the so-called ‘flyaway’ races beginning by the end of January, there is currently scope for the Chinese Grand Prix to return to its original planned slot in the 2023 season.

Should this occur, Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu would be able to look forward to having a home race for the first time as a Formula 1 driver, while the sport will fulfil its original aim of holding a 24-race season, along with six sprints.

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