F1 had planned to return to China for the first time since 2019 on 16 April but the country’s ongoing COVID-19 situation and zero-COVID policy has made it impossible for F1 to operate as normal. 

It is understood that F1 staff would not have been given exemptions from quarantine requirements in the event of catching coronavirus. 

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According to China’s latest rules, anyone infected with COVID-19 must be detained at an isolation centre for five days, before spending a further three days isolating at home 

F1 officially called off the Shanghai race - which was last won by Lewis Hamilton - on Friday.   

The news will come as a great disappointment for China’s first full-time F1 driver Zhou Guanyu, who was hoping to compete in his home race for the first time in 2023 after making his grand prix debut this year.

F1 is now working to find a solution and has not ruled out a replacement venue taking the vacated spot as the fourth race in 2023, with China’s cancellation leaving a four-week gap in the calendar. 

If a viable replacement cannot be found, the F1 2023 schedule would be cut to 23 races. 

The likes of Portimao, Istanbul and the Nurburgring have been drafted in as replacements during previous COVID-affected F1 seasons in 2020 and 2021.