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Shanghai track regains top FIA licence as F1 Chinese GP targets 2024 return

The FIA has restored the Shanghai International Circuit to a Grade One licence to allow it to host Formula 1 races, with the Chinese Grand Prix anticipated to return in 2024.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10 leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90 and Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90 at the start of the race

It is understood that the venue, which has hosted the Chinese F1 round since 2004, was unable to maintain its circuit certification due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The previous licence was held for a three-year term but expired at the end of 2019, shortly before the global health crisis prevented FIA representatives from travelling to complete their inspection.

But circuit manager Juss Sports has now reported that, commencing last year, remedial and maintenance work has been carried out around the circuit.

Fixes for the blemishes in the track surface, the partial repair of tyres walls plus the repainting of the underground connecting tunnel, refreshing of the grandstand seats and improvements to the outfield area have been undertaken.

This effort followed an assessment by the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of China (CAMF) in August 2022.

The repair work has resulted in Shanghai being reinstated with another three-year FIA Grade One licence, the only level that allows a track to host F1 races and tests.

The circuit is, therefore, the sole track in China currently capable of hosting grand prix.

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing RB15

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing RB15

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The Chinese GP was listed on the 2023 F1 calendar for 16 April to make up a 24-round schedule.

However, as widely expected, with regions of the country still facing episodes of lockdown, it was cancelled to create the four-week gap between the Australian and Azerbaijan races.

Should an F1 round go ahead in 2024 as anticipated, an FIA inspector will return to the circuit to carry out the final examination a month before the event.

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Following a late 2021 contract extension, local organisers have a deal in place with F1 until 2025. The grand prix has not taken place since 2019 - the 1000th world championship race.

Should the Chinese GP get the greenlight for 2024, the local race promoter is working towards celebratory events to mark the 20th anniversary of the first F1 race in the country.

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