Formula 1 in China

As we have been predicting for some months, the plans for a Chinese Grand Prix have now come to fruition with FIA President Max Mosley announcing plans for a race in Shanghai from 2004 until 2010. The deal is dependent on the circuit being cleared for Formula 1 cars and on the completion of the commercial arrangements between the Shanghai City Government and Formula One Administration but these are expected to be finalised within a matter of days when Bernie Ecclestone visits the city.

Getting a Grand Prix in China has long been one of the goals of Formula 1 and the sponsors will be delighted as the race will give them direct access to the country's estimated 1.2bn people. The economy has been improving recently and the economy is now the second largest in the world behind the United States and has annual growth of around seven percent. The average income per capita remains relatively low with an estimated figure of $4,300 but increasingly there is a consumer class emerging and the car companies and other luxury goods firms associated with F1 have been pushing hard to get into the market.

The announcements in China and Bahrain mean that the pressure is now on in Europe to see which races are going to be dumped from the 2004 calendar. All the indications are that Austria will be one and San Marino will be the other.

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