Chinese Grand Prix in doubt for 2011

Shanghai has not had an extension on its seven-year deal begun in 2004

Shanghai has not had an extension on its seven-year deal begun in 2004

The F1 teams are on their way to Shanghai for the seventh Grand Prix in China this weekend.

But with no deal in place for a race next year, could this be F1’s last visit to Shanghai?

F1 track designer Hermann Tilke’s brief for the Shanghai International Circuit wasn’t short of ambition. Built at a cost of $350m the circuit boasts one of the largest structures in F1 and can accommodate up to 200,000.

But it’s never come close to finding that many paying spectators, and many of the fans that do go pick up cheap tickets sold on by corporate guests who are offered them for free. In recent years the large turn 12 and 13 grandstand has been converted into an giant advertising hoarding.

While Bahrain, which also joined the F1 calendar in 2004, has had its deal extended until 2013, there has been no such extension for the Chinese round.

However car manufacturers see a round in China as being important for the world championship.

In their publicity material sent out ahead of this weekend’s race Mercedes drew attention to the fact that they sell more S Class executive saloons in China than any other country. Ferrari is launching its 599 GTO at the Beijing Motor Show.

The teams are already stretched by the ever-growing ‘flyaway’ portion of the calendar. This year sees the addition of a South Korean round (the traditional rumours about the new round being cancelled were scotched yesterday) and in 2011 the teams will visit India for the first time.

Ultimately, whether China keeps its place on the calendar will most likely be decided by whether the government chooses to keep paying for it.

Can F1 afford to continue racing in China? Can it afford not to if it wants to continue to attract car manufacturers to the sport? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: Which races should Ecclestone cut? (Poll)

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131 comments on Chinese Grand Prix in doubt for 2011

  1. Sean said on 14th April 2010, 17:06

    As a Chinese…and live in Shanghai…have been to Chinese Grand Prix twice and planning for the third time…
    I have to say I don’t like this track but it’s not so bad as Spain’s two circuits so it should stay in Formula one.
    Snooker is popular in china just because we have Junhui Ding and some talented young guys…
    And most importantly…you guys have to know that a sport’s future in China is mainly hold on CCTV – China Central Television.
    And the Formula one commentators of CCTV are absolutely the stupidest human beings in the world…They damaged Formula one’s image in china quite badly…
    They know nothing about Formula one and…I cannot describe their idiocy with my limited english writing skill…If any of you is learning chinese…do not watch CCTV’s Formula one coverage…
    China needs a chinese driver but that is not going to happen because formula drivers in china currently if my memory is correct…no more than 20…
    Yes China has already overtaken United states to become the largest car market in the world but…motor-racing…we still have a long long way to go.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 14th April 2010, 20:12

      “absolutely the stupidest human beings in the world”. Very nice description!

    • gpfan said on 14th April 2010, 22:36

      Sean? Move to Toronto, Canada. You can speak Chinese amongst me and my pals, all you want. I’ll be the white guy that does not understand you and my pals! lol

      You should be around when we play snooker. They have taught me to swear in Cantonese, and I, have taught them German swearing.

      Imagine a Macau or HK lad missing a shot and then swearing in German!

      Hilarious.

      Can not print the various Chinese words I say, when I miss. ;)

  2. Mark Shen said on 14th April 2010, 17:09

    Many tickets were bought by corporations or sponsors. They organized their empolyees to watch races. So, you saw the buses, maybe they belong to these companies. I’ve cheched the statistics, 70% tickets were bought by private spectators and 30% by corporations.

  3. Mark Shen said on 14th April 2010, 17:20

    I can imagine, many people here think even though there are some spectators, they are brought by goverment. Ok, that ‘s ideal. I hope once i can be brought in, haha, free tickets and free transportation. Too fantastic. Even though I am treated like animals, I will still do so.
    Some guys here are really very funny. They’ve never been to Shanghai GP and still act like some experts or insiders.

  4. Freeman said on 15th April 2010, 3:31

    Want to share an off-topic experience…

    As much as I didn’t like the atmosphere and experience while I twice visited the Shanghai GP, I experienced a euphoric moment while seated in the main grandstand in Qualy at the inaugural Chinese GP in 2004.

    Remember this was the height of the Schumi snore-fest, and I’m not a fan of this guy’s antics to say the least. It was the 1 lap qualifying format if I remember correctly.

    As I watch the red car with the red helmet got a tad out of shape and aggressive coming out of the last corner to start his flying lap, he zooms past the grandstand for his lap. The packed grandstand cheers him on (this is China’s first GP, naturally and to my disgust, Schumi’s the guy who’s most famous to these new fans). Then in Turn 1, he went in hot, slowly got out of shape, then oh my god…. he got sideways, oh wait he spun! On to the gravel he goes! And this happened right in front of my eyes! Couldn’t believe it!

    The whole grandstand was quiet, all eyes wide open, I could hear some groans and “eh…?” Then I popped up right onto my feet, fists punching the sky, jumping up and down, out comes the roars “YEAH!!! YEAH!!! YES!!! Woohoo!” I must’ve been bouncing like a maniac for like a minute. I swear I was the loudest guy in the now quiet grandstand. Those around me couldn’t figure out what is wrong with this lunatic. Their puzzled stares said it all. I swear I couldn’t help it, not when my anti-hero’s car was always bullet-proof, and he never qualified so down in the grid since god knows when. And I got to see all this with my very own eyes.

    That’s all… To the eyes of the tifosi, I am an idiot. Easy on the hate mail ok?

  5. Lucas.M said on 4th June 2010, 21:23

    Keith, please create a page on what you think should be the F1 calender for 2011 and ask fans to put in their ideal F1 2011 calender

  6. Pilgrim Father said on 8th November 2010, 5:22

    There are better places to hold F1 than China

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