The Chinese Grand Prix will continue to be a part of the Formula 1 World Championship for the next three years. A deal has been agreed for Shanghai to retain the race from 2018 to 2020.
From its debut in 2004, The Shanghai International Circuit is renowned as one of the most interesting and complete tracks from a technical point of view, as well as one that has always produced exciting racing with plenty of overtaking.
Alongside the renewal announcement comes news of a proposed date change – with the 15th running of the Chinese Grand Prix now slated to take place on April 15 next year, a week after the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Speaking about the contract renewal, Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO, Formula 1, said, “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement which will see the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix continue as a fixture of the Formula 1 World Championship for at least a further three years.”
However, the clouds of uncertainty are hovering over the 19-year old Malaysian Grand Prix with the race this weekend at Sepang International Circuit being tipped to be the last in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s government, who have bankrolled the event since its inception, in April announced they were no longer prepared to shell out US$67 million (S$91 million) a year to stage the race.
The Sepang International Circuit’s chief executive Razlan Razali said, “The returns are no longer positive for Malaysia. That includes declining spectators year-in, year-out. We thank the government for 19 years of having F1 in Malaysia. We could easily tell them otherwise and ask them to continue. But being the operator of the circuit, sustainability is important. We need to stop and give F1 a break.”
The success of Singapore’s glitzy city-centre night race and its associated entertainment has left venues such as remote Sepang, more than an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, struggling to sustain.
The Malaysian Grand Prix will follow F1’s similar money-losing excursions, including South Korea and India, into the wilderness, leaving Asia with just three races – China, Singapore and Japan.