LONDON: Formula 1 will release a record-breaking 2022 calendar of 23 races on Friday, but the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai is expected to be sidelined for the third year in a row.
Multiple sources told Reuters on Thursday that China was not on a draft schedule presented to the teams on Wednesday, but would be listed as a possible reserve for later in the season if another round is abandoned.
Formula 1 sees China as a key growth market, but the race, usually in April, was canceled in 2020 and this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.
The Italian circuit of Imola, brought back to replace races canceled this year and last year, is expected to take the place of China as Miami enters the second round in the United States.
This year’s Chinese Grand Prix was initially postponed from April until later in the year due to the pandemic and then canceled, with a revised schedule of 22 races released.
China will host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in February and has canceled or rescheduled global sporting events since the start of the pandemic.
Tickets for the Olympics must be sold to spectators from mainland China only, and unvaccinated athletes must spend 21 days in quarantine before the Games.
Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali has previously said the 2022 season will run from mid-March to mid-November, with the sport keen to avoid a World Cup clash in Qatar in late November and December.
The teams approved the draft schedule at a Formula 1 commission meeting in London on Wednesday and it will now be submitted to Friday’s meeting of the World Motorsport Council.
The FIA said the Commission had also received positive feedback from stakeholders on two Sprint events held at Silverstone and Monza. A third sprint will take place at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The sources said the number of sprint races is likely to double in 2022.
An update to the sporting regulations was also discussed at the meeting following this year’s wet and ridiculous Belgian Grand Prix.
The race delayed by the rain at Spa-Francorchamps ended after a few laps behind the safety car and without any overtaking authorized. Half points were awarded during podium ceremonies.
“The Commission (…) has asked the Sporting Advisory Committee to consider this matter at its next meeting to come up with options for updated procedures and regulations,” the FIA said in a statement. – Reuters