Two races in China?


Make no mistake, Formula One Management's enthusiasm in getting the sport up and running again as quickly as possible isn't due to an overwhelming desire to entertain the fans.

Fact is, if there is no racing there is no money flowing into the coffers.

While eight races have been announced in Europe, thus far, it is the flyaways that are troubling F1 bosses.

Extensions to a number of contracts in recent weeks are the result of the wheeling and dealing the sport is witnessing as those circuits denied ticket money due to the ban on spectators seek to cover the costs of still staging events.

Consequently, F1 is looking to those flyaway events that pay the biggest hosting fees to complete the schedule, a task not made easy by the fact that the ongoing pandemic appears to be ruling out a number of them.

As the sport considers Portimao, Mugello and Imola, the events in Vietnam, Austin, Mexico and Brazil look increasingly unlikely.

Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are almost certain to go ahead, while Russia is being considered for back-to-back races.

Now, China also is being considered for a double-header, with Shanghai's Sports Bureau Director, Xu Bin telling the Shanghai People's Radio Station: "F1 has announced they will resume the opening eight European races, without a round in Asia. The event originally scheduled has been postponed to the second half of the year.

"FOM asked whether we could host two races in Shanghai in the discussion," he added. "It's not been decided. It will depend on the pandemic situation.

"International sport organisations care a lot about these world-class sport events in China and Shanghai," he continued. "Despite a lot of changes of our events due to the pandemic, we have received support from international sport organisations and national associations for some of our events.

"We would be allowed to hold the events in Shanghai at a suitable time in the second half of the year, depending on the situation of the pandemic."

With the pandemic originating in China, the Shanghai event was the first event to be postponed this year, though officials in China, and at FOM, made it clear that they were keen to see the race go ahead later in the year.

The first five Grands Prix in Shanghai were held in the latter stages of the year, sometimes as late as mid-October, before being moved to the earlier slot of recent seasons.

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Published: 16/06/2020
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