Chinese Grand Prix dropped again due to pandemic

Formula One will have a record 23 races next season but the Chinese Grand Prix has been dropped for the third year in a row due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Races in Australia, Singapore, Canada and Japan – all cancelled for the past two seasons – were included on a calendar published on Friday.

“Due to ongoing pandemic conditions, China will not be included on the 2022 calendar. China will be restored to the calendar as soon as conditions allow,” Formula One said.

The 2022 season marks the start of a new era, with major rule changes, and opens at Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit on March 20.

It ends some 35 weeks later at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina on November 20, the championship’s earliest finish since 2010.

Formula One is keen to avoid any regional clash with the soccer World Cup which kicks off in Qatar in late November.

Australia’s race in Melbourne, the season-opener in recent years, has been scheduled for April 10 as the third round to allow more time for an easing of the country’s travel restrictions.

“Now more than ever we need major international events, like the Australian Grand Prix, to not only help our economy recover but to put a spring back in our step,” said Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott.

The Miami Grand Prix on May 8 is new for 2022, providing a second round in the United States. It remains subject to approval of the circuit, which runs around the city’s Hard Rock Stadium – the home of the Dolphins NFL team. (Reuters)