China’s GP has reportedly been cancelled yet again as a result of the country’s current Covid policies.
Saddened by the data, China’s zero-Covid policy has led F1 to conclude that the race, which has not been held in the country since the pre-pandemic year of 2019, cannot go ahead, at least for one more year.
According to the F1 Calender, the 2024 schedule will now consist of 23 races, and F1 is not expected to replace the Chinese GP with a different one. This still comprises an all-time record but one event fewer than F1 had originally planned.
Stefano Domenicali, F1 chairman, and chief executive officer has not yet officially called off the race, but fearing the new rules regarding quarantine isolation, the decision is considered an inevitability.
China’s cancellation of the GP will leave a four-week gap in the 2024 schedule between the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 2nd April and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku on 30th April.
Stefano Domenicali is said to be holding talks with higher authorities in Baku in order to persuade them to move the race forward a week to 23 April but is currently facing some kind of resistance. It is expected that the gap will be left unfilled if the persuasion fails.
F1 seems to be in talks to extend Azerbaijan’s race contract, which is due to end next year.
F1 had been expected to drop the race to make way for other new entrants, such as the planned race at Kyalami in South Africa.
But reports suggest that a nation like Azerbaijan, which pays one of the largest fees of any race, is expected to sign a new 10-year lucrative deal.
F1 has also been refining its analysis of which tracks are best suited to hosting sprint events, events which feature a shorter race on Saturdays afternoon to set the grid for the main Grand Prix and is close to deciding on the six races that will host them in 2024.
According to the F1, these can be as follows: Azerbaijan, Austria on 30 June to 2 July, Belgium on 28 to 30 July, Qatar on 6 to 8 October, the United States GP in Austin on 20 to 22 October, and Brazil on 3-5 November.
F1 had wanted to host a sprint event in Saudi Arabia, the second race of the season on 17-19 March, but if fee talks resume with mediation and an agreement is reached, Jeddah would be likely to replace Qatar.
The number of sprint events, which feature one-third distance races in place of qualifying, now held is doubling next year because F1 is keen on them as they increase revenue and television audiences.
The World Drivers’ Championship, which became the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1981, has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inception in 1950.
The number of Grands Prix held in a season has varied over the years and mostly taken place in Europe.
As the sport looks forward to the next season, Fernando Alonso, who won the series’ World Drivers’ Championship in 2005 and 2006 with Renault has lofty ambitions for 2024. The two-time world champion will drive for Aston Martin next year, replacing the now-retired Sebastian Vettel. His underwhelming stint at Alpine witnessed a disappointing end as he was unable to finish the Abu Dhabi GP on Sunday, but the Spaniard is looking forward to starting a new chapter in his brilliant career.