China was the first race to fall foul of the coronavirus pandemic back in 2020, and it failed to make it back on to either last year’s or this year’s schedule.
With international travel restrictions still quite tight as the country bids to keep control on the impact of COVID-19, F1 has decided to again steer clear for 2022 to avoid any risk of a late disruption.
But despite the ongoing absence, F1 has long been open about it being committed to racing in the country, and it has duly agreed a contract extension.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “This is great news for all of our fans in China and we are delighted to announce this agreement that will see us racing in Shanghai until 2025.
“Our partnership with the promoter Juss Sports is incredibly strong and we look forward to continuing our long-term partnership.
“While we are all disappointed we could not include China on the 2022 calendar due to ongoing pandemic conditions, China will be restored to the calendar as soon as conditions allow and we look forward to being back with the fans as soon as we can.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, displays his trophy to his fans
Photo by: Joe Portlock / Motorsport Images
China first hosted a race in Shanghai in 2004 and since then the popularity of F1 in the country has grown considerably.
While F1 has focused a lot on trying to increase it’s presence in the United States, it is also well aware that the Asian market is important to the championship’s teams and sponsors.
Shanghai has most recently taken an early slot in the calendar, and would likely feature then again in 2023, should the country’s travel restrictions be lifted at that point.
F1 has announced a 23-race schedule for next season and is reluctant to expand the number of races beyond that figure – which means China’s return would be at the expense of one of the current grands prix.