Rumor: Portugal or Turkey to replace China on 2023 F1 calendar (4th Update)

Turkey and Portugal have emerged as primary contenders to take the slot vacated by the cancelation of the 2023 F1 Chinese GP. According to Ni Amorim, the president of the FPAK (Portuguese Automobile and Karting Federation), both countries are interested in jostling to take the spot vacated by China.

Speaking to Lusa, the FPAK president revealed:

“Portugal is at the forefront to be able to replace China in the 2023 calendar. However, Portugal is not the only interested country, as Turkey is also in the running. It will depend on whether there are funds for Portugal to host the GP. Fees are expensive, but the return justifies the investment. Currently, I don’t know what the requested amounts are, as this stage of negotiation has not yet been reached.”

From a weather standpoint, Portugal and Turkey have been the tracks favored as replacements in 2020 and 2021. While Turkey has been used for F1 races a bit later in the season before the circus moves to the Americas, Portugal has often been used earlier in the season. The races in Turkey always seem to be wet races, so not an ideal place to hold an F1 race and sell a lot of tickets.
There was initial speculation that F1 could even opt to keep the slot vacant and have 23-races instead, but then Liberty Media makes less revenue, and they are in the business to make money. A 4-week gap between the races for the summer break is one thing, but a 4-week gap between Australia and Baku in April, just when the season is ramping up, is just too big.

December 7, 2022 

(GMM) The president of Portugal’s automobile federation admits Portimao is not the only contender to replace the axed 2023 Chinese GP.

“Portugal is not the only interested country,” Fernando Machado Ni Armorim confirmed to Lusa news agency.

“Turkey is also in the running,” he added.

It rained both in 2020 and 2021 in Turkey – bad idea to go back

McLaren supremo Zak Brown, meanwhile, confirmed speculation that another solution is simply to leave a four-week gap in next year’s bustling calendar – which with China was initially set to feature a record 24 races.

“We shouldn’t have a grand prix just to fill a spot,” he insisted.

“It’s too bad that we won’t be back in China next year. It’s an important market for us so I hope they will sort out all the issues with covid-19 and we can return in 2024.”

As for 2023, Federacao Portuguesa de Automobilismo chief Ni Armorim said talks are underway with the Portuguese government about funding a replacement race.

“It will depend on whether there are funds,” he admitted.

“The fees are expensive, but the return justifies the investment. At the moment I don’t know the request amounts, because we are not at that stage of the negotiation.

“But the federation will do everything in its power to help make this project viable.”

The following 2023 F1 calendar was approved by the World Motor Sport Council when it convened in Bologna today. No replacement for the Chinese GP so far. That does not mean it won’t happen if a venue can secure the funding.

FIA Formula One World Championship

Date Country Competition name
05/03/2023 BHR Grand Prix of Bahrain
19/03/2023 SAU Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia
02/04/2023 AUS Grand Prix of Australia
30/04/2023 AZE Grand Prix of Azerbaijan
07/05/2023 USA Grand Prix of Miami
21/05/2023 ITA Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna
28/05/2023 MCO Grand Prix of Monaco
04/06/2023 ESP Grand Prix of Spain
18/06/2023 CAN Grand Prix of Canada
02/07/2023 AUT Grand Prix of Austria
09/07/2023 GBR Grand Prix of United Kingdom
23/07/2023 HUN Grand Prix of Hungary
30/07/2023 BEL Grand Prix of Belgium
27/08/2023 NLD Grand Prix of Netherlands
03/09/2023 ITA Grand Prix of Italy
17/09/2023 SGP Grand Prix of Singapore
24/09/2023 JPN Grand Prix of Japan
08/10/2023 QAT Grand Prix of Qatar
22/10/2023 USA Grand Prix of the USA
29/10/2023 MEX Grand Prix of Mexico
05/11/2023 BRA Grand Prix of Brazil
18/11/2023 USA Grand Prix of Las Vegas
26/11/2023 ARE Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

December 4, 2022 

(GMM) Portimao may not be the replacement race for the scratched 2022 Chinese GP.

Formula 1 confirmed reports that due to the “covid-19 situation” in China, the sport’s scheduled return to Shanghai after a three-year absence will in fact not take place in April.

“Formula 1 is assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course,” a statement read.

Reports suggested Portimao in Portugal was lined up as the replacement race, but Auto Motor und Sport thinks it is logistically “nonsensical” for F1 to go from Australia to Portugal and then Baku.

Simply axing China, meanwhile, would leave a gaping four-week gap in the calendar.

Portimao also has a world endurance sportscar six-hour race scheduled on the Shanghai date, leading correspondent Andreas Haupt to surmise that a “stopgap in Asia would be a better alternative”.

“Moving Azerbaijan forward by two weeks is said to have also been discussed in Formula 1 Management,” he added. “But it’s rumoured that there is a high probability that China will be cancelled without replacement.”

December 3, 2022 

Concerns of the travel time and costs between the Australian GP on April 2nd 2023, the Portuguese GP on April 16th and then on to Baku on April 30th have been laid to rest.

Easter falls the weekend after the Australian GP, so all team members were heading home to Europe anyway. Now they can stay on the following week for the race in Portugal before heading to Baku 2 weeks later.

All the equipment was going to be flown from Melbourne to China and then to Baku.  Now it will fly from Melbourne to Portugal and then to Baku – not 4,400 mile increase in flight distant. However, it may actually be less expensive, given the logistical costs in China and the Covid lockdown hotel and meal costs that were going to be incurred by the teams.

The total flight miles from Melbourne to Shanghai and then to Baku was going to be 7,763 nautical miles.

The new flight miles from Melbourne to Portugal and then to Baku are now going to be 12,198 nautical miles, an increase of 4,435 nautical miles or 57%.

Considering F1 was going to lose $50 million by cancelling China and not replacing it, some of the money will be recouped by adding in Portugal as a replacement, estimated to be around $20 million.

Whereas attendance was limited to 27,500 in 2020 due to Covid, and zero in 2021 due to Covid, upwards of 100,000 are expected if the race is approved for 2023. The 4.69km racetrack can host up to 100,000 spectators

Sources say the Portuguese GP on April 16, 2023 will indeed be approved next Friday at the FIA World Council meeting in Bologna, Italy

December 2, 2022 

(GMM) Toto Wolff thinks Formula 1’s annual calendar should not exceed 20 races.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali this week admitted that he would not extend the schedule beyond the unprecedented 24 grands prix next year.

Mercedes boss Wolff, however, thinks teams need to look after its people by rotating travelling staff on calendars longer than 20 races.

“We’re discussing that right now,” he told Speed Week.

“I would introduce 20 world championship races as the upper limit, then there would have to be equivalent (staff) replacements in each department.

“On the other hand there are also employees who like the lifestyle of constant travel.”

It was thought possible that the calendar would at least shrink from 24 to 23 races next year as China struggles with mass protests against its controversial ‘zero covid’ strategy.

But Joao Carlos Costa, a prominent Portuguese motorsport commentator, thinks Portimao is set to replace the endangered Chinese GP in April next year.

He said an announcement is “imminent”.

“Small details are to be resolved before the FIA World Council scheduled for December 9 in Bologna,” said Costa.

“What a Christmas gift for Portuguese fans.”


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