Chinese Grand Prix: Shanghai race expected to be dropped from 2022 F1 calendar

Formula 1
Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel on the podium at the Chinese GP in 2019

The Chinese Grand Prix is expected to be dropped from the 2022 Formula 1 calendar when next year’s schedule is published on Friday.

The Shanghai race has not been held since the coronavirus pandemic began and restrictions surrounding Covid in China mean holding it is impossible.

It will be replaced by the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola on 24 April.

F1 is set to publish a record 23-race calendar with all the other established events absent this season reinstated.

Races in Australia, Canada, Singapore and Japan are all set to take place in 2022.

All four countries have missed the last two seasons as a result of their respective national restrictions surrounding Covid-19.

The 2022 season will start in Bahrain on 20 March and end in Abu Dhabi on 20 November, and cram 23 races into just 35 weeks.

The championship will end three weeks earlier than this year’s to avoid a clash with the football World Cup in Qatar.

And it features the first race in Miami, a blue-riband event that is being held in addition to the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, with the hope of growing F1’s audience in America.

This year, F1 published a 23-race calendar but had to amend it as a number of countries decided they could not hold races in the middle of the pandemic.

In the end, 22 races will be held this year, despite the cancellation of the events in Australia, China, Canada, Singapore and Japan.

F1 is confident that the chances of this happening again next year are greatly reduced.

Japan, which has managed to bring Covid back under control after a summer surge that coincided with the Tokyo Olympics, is considered the event most likely to fall if the circumstances surrounding the virus change.

Australia, which has had some of the world’s most stringent Covid travel restrictions, has been moved from its traditional slot at the start of the season to become the third race to give it more time to prepare for the grand prix.

More ‘sprint’ race weekends planned

Max Verstappen leads the sprint at Silverstone

F1 has been discussing with governing body the FIA and the teams the idea of increasing the number of events running the new ‘sprint’ format.

Two of these events, which move qualifying to Friday and have a one-third distance race on Saturday to set the grid for the main grand prix, have already been held this year and a third is scheduled for the Brazilian event next month.

F1 and the teams met at the F1 Commission meeting on Wednesday and discussed the idea of having six ‘sprint’ events next year.

However, discussions are ongoing and debate centres around the sport’s budget cap.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari argue that the sprint events are expensive, because they feature two races rather than one, and are pushing for the budget cap to remain at this year’s level of $145m (£114m) if there are to be six sprint events, rather than reduce it to $140m as planned.

Other teams are not happy about the idea of keeping the budget cap at this year’s level and a compromise has not yet been reached.

It has not been decided which races will hold the sprint events in 2022, but F1 is working towards a plan whereby there is a mix of historic events, such as Silverstone, and the higher-paying new tracks, such as those in the Middle East.

There have also been discussions about increasing the number of points awarded in the ‘sprint’ race on Saturday, and reversing the decision to award pole position to the winner of the ‘sprint’ race rather than the driver who sets the fastest time in qualifying.

Expected 2022 F1 calendar

20 March Bahrain (Sakhir)

27 March Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)

10 April Australia (Melbourne)

24 April Emilia Romagna (Imola)

8 May Miami

22 May Spain (Barcelona)

29 May Monaco

12 June Azerbaijan (Baku)

19 June Canada (Montreal)

3 July Great Britain (Silverstone)

10 July Austria (Spielberg)

24 July France (Le Castellet)

31 July Hungary (Budapest)

28 August Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)

4 September Netherlands (Zandvoort)

11 September Italy (Monza)

25 September Russia (Sochi)

2 October Singapore (Marina Bay)

9 October Japan (Suzuka)

23 October USA (Austin)

30 October Mexico (Mexico City)

13 November Brazil (Sao Paulo)

20 November Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)

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