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."
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.
There was initial speculation that F1 could even opt to keep the slot vacant and have 23-races instead. This, however, didn't make much sense as the gap between the races in Australia and Baku is just too big to not race in between. It's hard to say which of the two tracks gets the call because both produced good action the last time an F1 race was held there.
F1 will not shorten the 2023 calendar to 23 races
While many would breathe a sigh of relief if the calendar is reduced to 23 races, it is highly unlikely that this will happen. The race in Albert Park, Australia will be held on April 2nd, the race in China was supposed to be held on April 16th, and the one in Baku is to be held on the 30th.
With China being omitted from the calendar, there will be a 4-week gap between the races in Australia and Baku. That is just too big a gap for F1 not to race. Hence, even though the deal has not been finalized, it is highly likely that either Turkey or Portugal will get the call. With Portugal already having the experience of holding the race early in the season, it might have the edge, but it won't be a surprise if Turkey, a fan-favorite track, gets the call.