Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix has been dropped from the schedule for a third straight year due to travel restrictions owing to the pandemic.
China’s absence is the main development in the record-breaking 23-round calendar that has been released for the 2022 season.
China was the first Grand Prix to be affected by the pandemic. On both the updated 2020 and 2021 calendars it was postponed before quietly disappearing when it was clear it could not be accommodated. Already on the first version of the 2022 calendar it has been dropped. China’s borders remain shut and while it is preparing to host the Winter Olympics in February under strict conditions it has not indicated when restrictions elsewhere will be eased. Formula 1 nonetheless emphasised in a statement that China will be restored to the calendar “as soon as conditions allow.”
The season is set to begin in Bahrain on March 20 and conclude in Abu Dhabi exactly eight months later, on November 20. It is poised to be the earliest finish to a season since 2010 in order to avoid clashing with next year’s football World Cup.
There will be two events in the United States for the first time since 1984 as debutant Miami will welcome Formula 1 at the Hard Rock Stadium on May 8 while Austin’s Circuit of the Americas retains its usual fall slot on October 23, subject to its commercial agreement being ratified.
The United States won’t be the only nation with two Grands Prix as Italy’s Imola and Monza will again both feature on the schedule.
Imola returned to the calendar in 2020, as part of the schedule redrafted due to the pandemic, and received a reprieve for 2021, in effect taking the April slot occupied by China. That situation has been replicated for 2022 and it will again run under the Emilia Romagna title. Italy’s other event, at Monza, has been slotted in as the final of a triple-header involving Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps and the Netherlands’ Zandvoort, mirroring the 2021 schedule. Elsewhere in the European stretch of the calendar France’s event has moved back by a month, forming a double header with Hungary, and it is a grand prix that looks precarious long-term. France’s existing contract expires after 2022 and it is not an overwhelmingly popular event.
While China has been dropped, Formula 1 is planning to return to other countries absent since the onset of the pandemic.
Australia has been given an April date for its event at Melbourne’s reprofiled Albert Park circuit. Sporting events have been held in the country during the pandemic but have taken place under strict quarantine conditions that remain incompatible for Formula 1. However, Australia is soon to begin relaxing international travel restrictions, in line with vaccination targets, while a slightly later date of April 10—as opposed to its traditional mid-March slot—giving organizers an additional few weeks of preparation time.
Canada’s event at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which is contracted through 2031, is set to feature in mid-June, a week after Azerbaijan’s Baku street-based round.
Singapore, meanwhile, has been included subject to reaching a new commercial agreement. The night race will feature as the middle event of a triple header with Russia and Japan in early October. Next year is set to be the final time that Russia’s Sochi Autodrom features on Formula 1’s calendar as the country’s grand prix is slated to move to Igora Drive, near St. Petersburg, from 2023.
Of the countries to feature on the 2021 schedule three are absent from the 2022 roster. They are Portugal, Turkey and Qatar. Portugal and Turkey were stand-in rounds to make up for cancellations elsewhere while Qatar, which will debut next month at the Losail Circuit, will return for 2023 when its 10-year agreement with Formula 1 comes into effect, likely at a new location. Qatar is instead focusing on its role as host of next year’s World Cup.
Formula 1’s Sprint format is due to feature at up to a third of the events but the exact number and locations has not yet been determined. Formula 1’s Commission met earlier this week, and received a report from stakeholders that was positive, but a full evaluation will be undertaken after next month’s third and final trial in Brazil. The Sprint format was introduced for 2021, whereby a 100km race takes place on Saturday to determine the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
2022 Formula 1 Schedule
March 20, Bahrain - Sakhir
March 27, Saudi Arabia - Jeddah
April 10, Australia - Melbourne
April 24, Emilia Romagna - Imola*
May 8, Miami - Miami Gardens**
May 22, Spain - Barcelona*
May 29, Monaco
June 12, Azerbaijan - Baku
June 19, Canada - Montreal
July 3, United Kingdom - Silverstone
July 10, Austria - Spielberg
July 24, France - Le Castellet
July 31, Hungary - Budapest
August 28, Belgium - Spa
September 4, Netherlands - Zandvoort
September 11, Italy - Monza
September 25, Russia - Sochi
October 2, Singapore - Singapore*
October 9, Japan - Suzuka
October 23, USA - Austin*
October 30, Mexico - Mexico City
November 13, Brazil - Sao Paulo
November 20, Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi
* subject to contract
**subject to FIA circuit homologation