Replacing Chinese GP on 2023 calendar ‘not worth it’ for teams – Domenicali

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has explained why the world championship chose not to replace the Chinese Grand Prix after the event was cancelled.

In brief

F1 explains decision not to replace Chinese GP

The 2023 F1 calendar was reduced to 23 races when the Chinese Grand Prix was cancelled and the series chose not to replace it. The race was scheduled to take place on 16th April, making it the fourth round of the season, but was called off for the fourth year in a row due to the country’s Covid-19 restrictions.

“The 23-race calendar is a record for F1,” said Domenicali. “We made the decision not to replace China on the calendar [as] the economic benefit of a replacement race was not worth the logistical and sustainability considerations for F1 and our teams.”

Adapting to new home “will take time” – Gasly

Pierre Gasly will make his first start for Alpine at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, after five-and-a-half years driving for Red Bull’s two Formula 1 teams. He admitted ahead of the race that it “will take a bit of time” to be fully immersed in his new team.

“All my focus is on preparing well for the race weekend and I’m already eager for my first qualifying laps in the A523 before we battle on Sunday in the race,” said Gasly. “I know it will take a bit of time to get totally comfortable with the team and the car, but right now, I’m definitely confident that we can have a strong race here in Bahrain and the target is to come away with some points in the bag and begin the season in the best way possible.”

Campos Racing makes third Eurocup-3 signing

The new Eurocup-3 series, designed to sit below Formula 3 in Europe with the basis of an upgraded Formula Regional car, now has five drivers signed up for its inaugural season.

The latest addition to the grid is Suleiman Zanfari, a Moroccan teenager who has previously been supported by Lando Norris’ family in his racing career and is stepping up the single-seater ladder after three years of racing in Formula 4. He came 17th in his rookie Spanish F4 season in 2020, was 11th in 2021 and then seventh last year despite missing two rounds.

Zanfari is the third signing at Campos Racing, while Drivex School and MP Motorsport each have one driver so far.

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Comment of the day

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has warned that F1 teams with other technology projects could exploit a “loophole” using technical expertise and development outside of F1, and therefore not included in the world championship’s budget cap, to improve their F1 cars.

How can you possibly account for any knowledge gained outside of F1, and give it a monetary value to add to the cost cap?

How can it be a requirement to have zero experience/gains from business, engine or aero developments that comes from outside F1? F1 does not exist in a vacuum.

How obtuse can Schnauzer possibly be? This is no doubt in preparation to throw around various excuses regarding his own team, and accusations at others, for the upcoming season.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Kaushal and Royal-Spark!

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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21 comments on “Replacing Chinese GP on 2023 calendar ‘not worth it’ for teams – Domenicali”

  1. have to say that this is the least excited i think i’ve ever been for the start of a new season. it starts in a few days and i literally don’t feel like watching such is how badly the liberty media Americanisation show over sport approach has in 5 years basically completely gutted my love of f1. i’m disgusted by what is been turned into and the direction its been dragged.

    not watched any of the testing coverage, not seen any of the car launches, not watched any of the sky pre season programming and won’t be around to watch any of the friday/saturday track action which will be the first time i’ll willing miss track action in over a decade.

    i have however been watching and absolutely loving the real f1 content found in the f1tv archive. still get the same enjoyment out of the old stuff but just can’t say i like what it’s become the past few years.

    can see this been the year i walk away after 46 years of been a super passionate fan thats attended dozens of race weekends, spent a fortune of mechanise & worked my work hours around been able to watch all 3 days of action for every race weekend.

    thanks liberty for destroying my love of this once great SPORT!

    but as long as they get the low attention span casuals that will never be as dedicated as the true fans i doubt they care because it’s all about the show and money to them. short term profits over the feelings of the true dedicated fans of the SPORT!

    1. As an American, I lament the absence of grid girls, the occasional concert in, well, concert, with race weekends, the NFL style player introductions at the Austin Grand Prix– but nearly every other change to the sport has been made by Europeans such as Bernie Ecclestone, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt and Stefano Domenicali…

      So don’t blame your newfound hatred of the sport on the Americans, please. We’re not going to be your scapegoat this time.

      The major problems with this sport are the result of “cost saving” and “leveling the playing field”, two great ideas implemented in perhaps the worst way possible by committees of self-interested politicians.

    2. Same here, I will be listening to the race on the radio as my interest died after AD 21, the end of that season was a clown show that finished with a ‘Jump the Shark’ moment, last season was a borefest that was over half way through it and I struggle to remember anything of note about it.
      This year I will be following WEC, IMSA, BTCC, Moto GP and many more where there is still some good racing going on…. for now ;)

    3. I partly understand your reply, but then again I feel you are focusing on the wrong things. Yeah, there is kind of a search for sensationalism going on. And it has an impact on various aspects of the sport.

      But to me, the most important thing is the racing, that is the core of it all. During the more than 35 years I have been following F1 with a passion, that is what has always interested me the most and what I have focussed on. And in my opinion the racing, the sport, is in a better place than it was at various times in the past. We have heavy cars, but they are pretty good racing cars. They are fast, they offer overtaking with some skill required, they are pretty good at going wheel to wheel (refer to the horrible trains we used to have). DRS needs to go at some point, that much is true.
      We should see some kind of convergence in competitiveness throughout the grid in the coming years, due to the cost cap. It is not a given (hence why I’m saying “should”) but even if we do not get that, remember that dominance by 1 or 2 teams in F1 is pretty much in its DNA and was already a characteristic of the very first seasons.
      We have lots of good tracks. Some are pretty bad, but most are good to excellent.
      We have an enormously talented driver grid. Would like to see a full grid of 26, but still. Young talents are generally graduating pretty well in recent years.

      Looking at the racing, and those involved, for me F1 still very much delivers. Which is why I’m as anxious as ever for the winter break to finally be over and see them go racing again.

      1. in my opinion the racing, the sport, is in a better place than it was at various times in the past

        While I agree that the racing has improved significantly, for me, the sport hasn’t.

        Sports are governed under a set of rules. Without that, IMHO, it’s a competition but not a sport, and my faith in the officials to follow and enforce those rules is near zero.

        F1 has always been (or at least appeared) inconsistent in its handling of the rules. However 2021, and especially AD, showed a marked decline. I have seen modest signs of improvement since then, but it will take a lot to regain my trust enough for me to consider it a sport once more.

        For the actual events, I view them as something of a gameshow now: Enjoyable to watch, exciting at times, but nothing to raise the kind of near-fanatical enthusiasm I once held. I am still nearly as fanatical about the technical, engineering competition, but the races themselves… Meh.

        1. +1 i agree with you !

        2. @drmouse while I understand what you are saying about AD, I don’t understand the implication you seem to present that it marks something unseen in F1 and/or the culmination of a decline in handling the rules. Let’s all remember Senna at one point was disqualified from a race for “not following the track”. Something that was completely and utterly made up on the spot.

          Handling of the rules is probably way clearer than it used to be in the past. The thing is that they are trying to objectify each and every incident and the handling thereof and describe it in the rules, whereas in the past the ruleset was far smaller and a lot more was left for interpretation with the “spirit of the rules” in mind. There wasn’t a lot of material to argue against steward decisions because the ruleset to refer to was simply a lot smaller than it is now.

          1. @mattds

            While I watched F1 in the 90s, I was quite young at the time and didn’t follow it that closely. It was only in the 2000s I started to follow it in more depth.

            From my perspective, the handling of the rules has always been inconsistent, but there hasn’t been a season with less consistent officiating that I can remember than 2021. There were baffling decisions made throughout the season, to the point where even the drivers were confused about what the rules were. That’s not down to the complexity of the rulebook, it was just the stewards making vastly different decisions on indoors which were substantially the same. I suspect it was based on what would be best for “the show”, but I’ve no real evidence for that and may be completely wrong.

            AD itself was the first time I’d ever seen the officials themselves outright break the rules, and was the point where my trust in the FIA shattered. Always before, there was some wiggle room in the rules which allowed the stewards to interpret the rules as they wish, but the end of AD2021 had no such wiggle room. I can accept that not letting all the back markets through may have been a mistake, but not running the extra lap afterwards wasn’t, it was a clear, intentional breach of the rules (rules which he’s on record as saying he cannot legally ignore).

            That race director may have gone, but the stewards who cleared his actions haven’t. I’m also not completely convinced that he hasn’t just been used as a scapegoat, not that enough had been done to stop this kind of thing happening again. Frankly, it’s destroyed the small amount of trust I had remaining in the FIA to competently officiate the events, and that trust will take a long time to rebuild naturally.

      2. Looking at the racing, and those involved, for me F1 still very much delivers. Which is why I’m as anxious as ever for the winter break to finally be over and see them go racing again.

        Definitely, and as it’s become easier to oversaturate oneself some have arguably become overinvested, and that naturally breeds discontent, false expectations and disappointment.

        Ultimately, F1 is just entertainment and the racing is the big event. All the testing, background clips, even most of the GP weekend itself is a bit like spending months following all the casting news, filming leaks, corporate marketing strategies and then finding yourself unable to enjoy the two hour movie.

        F1 is a business for the people involved. But that’s their problem, not the fans’. So long as the racing is fun, it’s not that important to me that the governance is sketchy, the teams are self interested, and the commercial rights holder is beholden to shareholders who couldn’t tell Becketts from Times Square.

        1. CoTD right there!

        2. Ultimately, F1 is just entertainment and the racing is the big event.

          I think you may be right. I was always under the impression that it was a sport, until recently. That’s what allowed me to get so invested in it: It had more importance to it for me than mere entertainment. Now that I’m aware that it isn’t, really, it’s dropped way down my priority list. It’s enjoyable to watch, but I don’t care if I watch it live, recorded, or even if I miss it entirely. The results don’t really matter to me any more. In short, it’s just one of the long list of things I do to enjoy myself now, and it’s in the middle of that list at best.

          That said, my wife is still heavily invested so we rarely miss it. She’s the reason we still have a Sky Sports package to watch it, as I wouldn’t bother for myself anymore. We’ll probably also still go to races occasionally, though again I probably wouldn’t bother just for myself anymore.

    4. What exactly, as a “dedicated fan”, do you feel Liberty has changed for the worse?

      I’ve been a fan for 30 years and think F1 is better than it has ever been.

    5. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd March 2023, 13:04

      There have been lots of posts like this across different articles. I’m the same as you in general. I’m not excited at all for this season at the moment.

      DRS, sprint races, boring tracks, too many races, poor commentary, Sky’s coverage, Wolff/Horner, the footballisation of the fanbase…. The list could go on and on for me.

      It’s just not that exciting compared to what it once was as a sport and the community of fans that watch F1 have become so much more toxic than they ever were.

      1. It’s just not that exciting compared to what it once was as a sport

        Very much agree

        and the community of fans that watch F1 have become so much more toxic than they ever were.

        I wonder about this one. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I don’t have the perspective. The only F1 fans I used to be involved with were either friends and family, or on this site’s previous incarnation, F1Fanatic.

        F1F was brilliant. It was a space for all those absolutely obsessed with F1 to read interesting content, get stats and technical details you wouldn’t find elsewhere, and discuss all this with like minded (i.e. fanatical) people. There was the occasional heated argument, but it was all in good humour.

        It has been since the name and direction change of this site I have personally noticed an increase of toxicity and a few other changes which have made me enjoy this site much less. Still my go-to first point of call for F1 news, but not the “home” it always used to feel.

        Now, it is likely down to a general increase of toxicity in the fanbase, or even an overall increase in the toxicity of the general population. Correlation does not mean causation, and it may be that the name and direction change has had little effect. It may even just be me looking back with rose tinted specs. But I certainly don’t enjoy interacting with other F1 fans the same way I used to, and that was the case even before my interest in and opinion of the circus was severely dented by the events of 2021.

        Please note: None of this is intended as an attack on this site, it’s writers or owners, or the community here. It’s still a great site with a great community.

        1. @drmouse I’ve been reluctant to speak on it sometimes, but I do partly agree with you here.

          F1F and Racefans is as good as it’s ever been for articles and insight, but 2021 was a low point in terms of “engagement”. Even throughout 2022 I noticed how the quality of the comments was dragged into the sewer by people who couldn’t emotionally disconnect from the previous season. It was bizarre to say the least.

          I think that the drop in quality was shared somewhat across other sites and platforms, disregarding mainstream social media sites as they’re beyond redemption now. I wouldn’t want to fall into the trap of blaming Drive to Survive or “casual” fans for it either, as the venom directed at certain people wasn’t anything new, for observers who have been here long enough. It just exploded in such a unique way over that year.

          But there’s been a slow and noticeable improvement since, and I hope that it continues!

    6. I’d be more sympathetic if you detailed what exactly Liberty have done that you don’t approve of.

      Thinking back to two modern classic seasons – 2010 and 2012 – I’ve always been struck by how negative the comments here were, even then. People were saying exactly what you’re saying right now, overly focused on the meaningless side stories, if at all. Blaming Liberty and Drive to Survive is a popular recent pastime but if the racing is good, that’s all that matters.

      1. @ciaran Bonus points, sprint races, Things like Miami & Vegas, The way they talk about fans like me and try to discredit some of our concers, the overly restrictive regulations, the cost cap along with more restrictive regulations and the more gimmicky artificial stuff they also bring up in official surveys and stuff.

        I honestly don’t like most of what has been introduced since 2018 and am not that enthusiastic about most of the future changes that get brought up.

        My beef with liberty is the direction they are taking things which is a direction i simply don’t like and it’s the first time I’ve ever felt this way.

        I love the sport and still have the same passion for the sport i have most my life but i just don’t enjoy the oversaturated show it’s been turned into. The show now often feels like it’s been put above the sport. I think that show over sport Change is what helped create abu dhabi 2021, Desperation to make a better show finish created one of the biggest farces in F1s history.

      2. if the racing is good, that’s all that matters.

        If viewed 100% as entertainment, that’s true. The last 2 seasons are probably the most entertaining F1 has been for over a decade.

        If viewed as a sporting competition, however, it’s far from the only thing which matters.

  2. Wise decision & pretty evident at the time that replacing cancellations at all chances, like in 2020 & ’21, isn’t the approach anymore, as already shown by not replacing the Russian GP cancellation.

    Yes, adapting after a team chance always takes some time, but I’m positive he’ll adapt quicker than at Red Bull Racing, where he never really adapted.

    The Independent apparently got the end year wrong, which is 2025.
    Otherwise, concerning the article, yes, his choice in the end, which is understandable since he generally likes being at Mclaren.

    Fortunately, Verschoor got his luggage today at about 02:00.

    COTD makes a valid point.

  3. The COTD is correct, to a point. There will always be outside knowledge coming in to the teams. You can’t stop it, not would you really want to.

    However, this is very different from what Otmar was talking about. With the budget cap in place, he knows that the big teams could potentially intentionally move significant amounts of development to different departments, hence provide the budget cap. We’re not really talking of just something being developed elsewhere in the company and then being found to have use in F1, which is perfectly acceptable. Instead, were talking about another department developing technology specifically for F1, on the orders of the F1 team, in order to hide it from the FIA auditors.

    If this behaviour isn’t prohibited by the rules, it’s a loophole. If it is, it’s outright cheating, though it’s nearly impossible to police.

  4. some racing fan
    2nd March 2023, 13:13

    It would have been nice to have had Sepang on the calendar- but Liberty would have been unsatisfied with the race’s attendance figures, which fell sharply over the years on the calendar. And April is a very rainy time in Kuala Lumpur (anyone remember 2009?)

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