China to replace current circuit

The debut of the Chinese Grand Prix in 2004 will cause one of the current races on the calendar to be dropped, although which one is yet to be seen. Bernie Ecclestone, who yesterday signed a deal in Shanghai for China to host a GP for six years,...

The debut of the Chinese Grand Prix in 2004 will cause one of the current races on the calendar to be dropped, although which one is yet to be seen. Bernie Ecclestone, who yesterday signed a deal in Shanghai for China to host a GP for six years, said one of the other races would be forced out to make way for China.

"We have 17 races on the calendar, and regrettably one of them will have to go to make way for Shanghai. Don't ask me which one," Ecclestone said at a press conference. Bahrain is also due to join the F1 calendar in 2004 but as yet it's unknown if another current track will be dropped. There has been some speculation about increasing the number of races per year to accommodate new venues.

China spent nearly a decade developing a circuit that was due to join the F1 calendar in 1998 but it failed to meet requirements. However, construction began on the 'Shang' circuit last week and Ecclestone is sure that this time things will work out.

"I will guarantee we will be here in 2004, the circuit will have been finished, and it will be one of the best circuits in the world," he said. "Hopefully Shanghai will be able to hold Formula One even after 2010."

While plans in China forge ahead, the mayor of Moscow has blamed Ecclestone for the collapse of plans for a Russian GP. Earlier this year it seemed Russia would also join the F1 circus but negotiations ground to a halt. Mayor Yuri Luzhkov claimed Ecclestone wanted so much control over the event that the country would make nothing from it.

"We also wanted to stage the Formula One Grand Prix," Luzhkov said according to Russian news. "But he (Ecclestone) wanted to keep all the rights for the event, ticketing, television, advertising etc, which would leave us with only engine smoke, that's why the negotiations failed."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone