China gives Shanghai the green light

THE South China Morning Post has confirmed that the proposed Formula 1 circuit near the planned motor city near Shanghai will be built with a view to attracting Formula 1 possibly by 2004.

As previously reported by the site has been under consideration for some time since the Zhuhai circuit near Hong Kong failed to gain great approval. As increasing numbers of Western motor manufacturers aim for the Chinese market they are being corralled in the Shanghai suburb of Anting, where Volkswagen is currently the most established international motor manufacturer in the country.

China's place in the calendar would certainly be a popular one with the manufacturers, as more emerging markets continue to jostle for position on future Formula 1 calendars. In the meantime the burgeoning Chinese touring car championship is expected to heighten interest in motor sport under the combined guidance of former British touring car boss Alan Gow and former British rally promoter Andy Moss.

Boasting a population of 12,000,000, Shanghai is China's biggest city, and according to the City's substitute mayor, Jiang Yiran, the construction of the Anting facility could be ready by 2004 - at a cost of up to $1 billion, suggesting that it will be an impressive addition to the calendar.

The Chinese announcement may not come as easy listening to the nation's former Communist ally Russia however, as the Moscow circuit developers are rumored to have passed their deadline to pay Bernie Ecclestone's agreed deposit on their place in the Formula 1 timetable. China is unlikely to face the stringent anti-tobacco lobbying that threatens Belgium at the present time, and it might also concern the British Grand Prix lobby which, after Austria agreed terms to remain on the calendar, can only add pressure on the reinstated Silverstone race to excel in 2002.

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