Formula 1: Why is there so much time between races?

Melbourne, Formula 1 (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)
Melbourne, Formula 1 (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Formula 1 has somewhat of a “spring break” in 2023, leading to some complaints from fans, but the plan wasn’t initially for it to be this way.

Just three races into the 23-race 2023 Formula 1 season, the sport has been in the midst of somewhat of a “spring break”.

While a four-week summer break is pretty standard, it is rare to go 28 days without any racing this early in the season. IndyCar fans are used to it. Formula 1 fans, not so much.

The most recent race, the Australian Grand Prix, took place at Albert Park Circuit on Sunday, April 2. The next race on the schedule is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place at Baku City Circuit on Sunday, April 30.

But this wasn’t supposed to be the case. The 2023 Formula 1 season was supposed to be a 24-race season.

For the fourth consecutive season, however, the Chinese Grand Prix was canceled. Once again, Shanghai International Circuit was axed from the calendar due to “the ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation”.

This decision was finalized in January, and Formula 1 decided not to replace the race, leaving the schedule at 23 races, which is still an all-time record, for 2023.

The Chinese Grand Prix had been scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 16, which would have placed it two weeks after the Australian Grand Prix and two weeks before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

There would be no “spring break” just three (or four) races into the year. In fact, aside from the four-week summer break, there wouldn’t even be any three-week breaks all year.

The 16-turn, 3.388-mile (5.452-kilometer) Jiading road course is under contract to return to the Formula 1 schedule in 2024, which would mark its first official appearance on the schedule since before the pandemic in 2019.

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Formula 1 action is scheduled to resume in less than one week at Baku City Circuit. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, April 30. If you haven’t started a free trial of FuboTV, now would be a great time to do so!