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Formula 1 sets up record 23-race season

Formula 1 has outlined a record 23-race calendar for its 2022 season, with a May date confirmed for its new Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium and long-awaited returns for races in Australia, Canada, Japan and Singapore, but the Chinese GP will be missing for the third year in a row.

The motor-racing series has unveiled the calendar for its 2022 World Championship, which has been submitted to the World Motor Sport Council and approved. The 2022 season follows an unprecedented two years for F1 in which the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a revised calendar of 17 races in 2020 and 22 races in 2021, which it credits as a “huge achievement” given the international nature of the sport.

The 2022 season will begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20, before concluding on November 20 with the Abu Dhabi GP. However, this will mark the earliest finale to the season for some 12 years as F1 aims to conclude before the start of football’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The Miami Grand Prix has been officially granted a date of May 8, slotting in between the Emilia Romagna GP on April 24 and Spanish GP in Barcelona on May 22. The Emilia Romagna GP at Imola in Italy will serve as the fourth round of the season to replace the Chinese GP, which has been cancelled for the past two years due to COVID-19.

F1 said that due to ongoing pandemic conditions, China will not be included on the 2022 calendar, adding Shanghai’s race will be restored to the calendar “as soon as conditions allow”.

Organisers of the Miami Grand Prix last month announced the host venue at the city’s Hard Rock Stadium site will be named Miami International Autodrome. Formula 1 officially reached a 10-year agreement to stage a grand prix in Miami from 2022 back in April, with the track to incorporate the home of the Miami Dolphins NFL American football team.

It will mark the first time since 1959 that Florida will form part of the F1 calendar. The 5.41km circuit will feature 19 corners, three straights and potential for three DRS zones, with an estimated top speed of 320km/h. The 64,000-seat Hard Rock Stadium will sit at the heart of the track. Miami will become the second US city on the F1 calendar, alongside Austin.

COVID-19 has meant Australia (Melbourne), Canada (Montreal), Japan (Suzuka) and Singapore have been without their races for the past two years, but the 2022 calendar announcement should see F1 return on April 10, June 19, October 9 and October 2, respectively.

Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1, said: “We are excited to announce the 2022 calendar as we prepare to enter a new era for the sport with brand new regulations and cars for next year that are designed to create closer racing.

“This season has been incredible so far with great battles on the track, large audiences tuning in and fans returning to the races after the impact of the pandemic. We look forward to welcoming more fans back next season and hope 2022 feels more normal than the life we have all experienced in the past two years.”

It was announced last month that Qatar will stage a Formula 1 race for the first time in November, with a 10-year deal having been signed for the country to become a regular fixture on the series’ calendar from 2023.

The Losail International Circuit will host the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix from November 19-21, with telecommunications company Ooredoo to serve as the title sponsor. The circuit has hosted a MotoGP event since 2004.

Discussions regarding the location of F1’s Qatar Grand Prix from 2023 onwards will continue, with further details to be provided at a later time amid reports that a street circuit will be preferred. No event will be held in 2022 as Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup and F1 said that the series will serve as a showcase for the nation in the aftermath of the tournament.

Writing in a blog post on the official F1 website today (Monday), Domenicali said: “Regarding the future beyond 2022, there will be some other good news coming out soon, which I don’t want to spoil by saying now. We are going in the right direction and have reached a point where we can choose where F1 will go in the future.

“We have so many requests to host a grand prix. It shows our platform is attractive with more and more governments seeing it as an opportunity to develop their businesses, local economy and awareness of their community. Exciting times ahead.”

Image: F1 Miami Grand Prix