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Cosmetic surgery for China

CHINA was not included on the provisional Formula 1 calendar for the 2000 season and in an effort to win a date in 2001 the Zhuhai International Circuit is about to undergo extensive modifications, including significant work on the pit buildings. The work is being overseen by Germany's Tilke Ingenieure fur Unwelttechnik company from Aachen. The company, run by engineer Hermann Tilke has been involved in a number of different race track projects in recent years and has developed close links with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. This should mean that once the Chinese have finished the necessary work a race can go ahead.

The Chinese have been chasing a Grand Prix since 1991 when the government made available a 1000-acre parcel of land for the development of "a sports complex". The circuit was announced in 1992 and work began in 1993. The first international race held on the circuit was at the end of 1996 when the GT series visited the track. At the time the sportscar drivers reported that the track was up to F1 standard. The Chinese were hoping for a Grand Prix in 1997 but this was shelved.

In 1998 China was given a race but this was later pushed off the F1 calendar. At the time the FIA World Council said that a race would "definitely be on the calendar for 2000".

Although the Chinese still seem to think that they might get a date next year, it is more likely that the event will not now take place until the early part of 2001.

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